Thirty Reasons to Be Optimistic On Opening Day 2011

With opening day of the 2011 MLB season less than a week away, we at All Sports Talk want to take a look at 30 reasons to be optimistic this year.  Yankee fans and Pirate fans alike start the season undefeated, giving everyone at least a glimmer of hope before the 2011 Major League Baseball season kicks off.

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks – This will be Kirk Gibson’s first full season as manager of the Diamondbacks and he has plenty of young talent to work with. Also, the field is air conditioned during the scorching AZ summers.
  2. Atlanta Braves – Jason Heyward roaming the outfield gives Braves fans plenty to cheer about. You have to like their chances in the NL East even if it is their first year without Bobby Cox and possibly their last with Chipper Jones.
  3. Baltimore Orioles – Big name pickups this offseason give the fans a reason to head down to the ballpark. Derek Lee and Mark Reynolds should be a huge home run threat in the middle of the O’s lineup.
  4. Boston Red Sox – Arguably the best lineup in the AL East, and possibly the Majors.  They are our front runners for a trip to the World Series.
  5. Chicago Cubs – Starlin Castro is an amazing young shortstop and Cubs fans can pretty much bank on the fact that things can’t get much worse than last year.
  6. Chicago White Sox – The Sox are a much improved team from the squad last year that barely missed the playoffs. With a little luck and minimal outbursts from Ozzie, this team should be playing some extra ball, come October.
  7. Cincinnati Reds – What’s not to like about the Reds returning their NL MVP Joey Votto as they try to defend their NL Central title?
  8. Cleveland Indians – Shin-Soo Choo is on a quest to become a household name by the 2011 MLB All Star Break.
  9. Colorado Rockies – Tulo and Carlos Gonzales are two bright young stars who should be with the Rockies for years to come.
  10. Detroit Tigers – I really feel that this team has all the pieces to make a run at the AL Central. Just not sure if all the pieces will stay health/eligible all year long.
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  12. Florida Marlins – Two players on the Marlins stand out – Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez.  Both are only getting better the past few years and should hit their peak over the next couple of seasons.
  13. Houston Astros – This team barely has any players left on their roster from just 5 years ago.  If anything you can look forward to seeing some fresh faces out on the field.
  14. Kansas City Royals – Your best chance of forgetting all about losing Grienke will be to watch Billy Butler.  He is an amazing young first baseman who will probably see some time at DH as well, giving him a real chance to just sit back and swing.
  15. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – New face Vernon Wells will give this lineup a lot more pop than it had last year.  Now if the pitching could just return to its old form the Halos might see themselves back in a division race.
  16. Los Angeles Dodgers – GM Ned Colletti has shown faith that LA’s young stars can compete in the NL West. They may drop balls, strike out and make idiot moves on the bases, but they are still fun to watch. And come on – do you really need a reason to head down to Chavez Ravine during the summer?
  17. Milwaukee Brewers – Improved pitching and healthy offense.  This team could win 90 games without breaking a sweat.
  18. Minnesota Twins – The Twins look forward to getting their young stars healthy again – and when they do, the AL Central had better be ready.
  19. New York Yankees – With the highest payroll in the majors, there had better be some reasons to be optimistic about the 2011 season right?
  20. New York Mets – As long as you can look past the off-field issues and the lack of production this team has manifested in years past, you will see a really good core of Beltran, Wright and Reyes. There’s enough power and speed from these three to win a lot of games.
  21. Oakland A’s – Despite finishing just a bit shy of the AL West division last year, this team brings back a lot of talent, heart, and baseball smarts.  The A’s are a pleasure to watch.
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  23. Philadelphia Phillies – This team could break the record for most wins by a starting pitching staff. I don’t expect any fewer than 80 wins between the 5 of them.
  24. Pittsburgh Pirates – I know it’s tough to be optimistic in Pittsburgh, but please don’t let  Andrew McCutchen waste away out there. He is a brilliant young talent and deserves amazing fans.
  25. San Diego Padres – This team may have lost a couple pieces, but they have budding superstars in Cameron Maybin and Matt Latos.
  26. San Francisco Giants – WORLD SERIES DEFENSE STARTS NOW!
  27. Seattle Mariners – It can only improve from here for Mariners’ fans.  Your payroll says you should be doing a little better than you did last year, and generally wins will follow if you spend money wisely.
  28. St. Louis Cardinals – Whether he stays in STL or not, Albert Pujols is all the reason that the Cardinals fans need to be optimistic about their chances this year.
  29. Tampa Bay Rays – It’s not like the Rays haven’t been competitive before with a patchwork team right?  Joe Maddon is a genius and will always find a way to put a winning team out on the field.
  30. Texas Rangers – If making the World Series last year and bringing back much of the same team this year isn’t a reason to be optimistic, then I don’t know what is.
  31. Toronto Blue Jays – 85 games was a lot to win last year, especially in the AL East. This team knows how to fight, no matter how good the opposition is.
  32. Washington Nationals – The Nationals picked off some talent from division rival Phillies and are happy to have Jayson Werth hitting for them now – not against them.

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