Thursday March 31st signaled the start of the 2011 baseball season. That means the NHL and NBA seasons are in the final stretch and it will be time to dust off the glove and get that money together for the $5.00 hot dog and $8.00 beer. Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones scored the first run of the new season and the New York Yankees played their first ever regular season home game in March defeating the Detroit Tigers at the stadium 6-3.

There are plenty of story lines (Will St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols [pictured] leave after the season? How will Derek Jeter respond to his controversial contract negotiation this past summer? Can new skipper Don Mattingly get the Los Angeles Dodgers to the postseason?) and milestones (see below) to be reached. With Barry Bonds perjury trial in relation to his alleged use of steroids and Roger Clemens impending trial hovering in the background, will this be the year of the hitter or will pitchers dominate once again? That is why they play the games.

200

hits needed by Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro in order to set major league record of 11 seasons with 200 or more passing all-time hits leader Pete Rose.

It is amazing how consistent Ichiro is. He has only been in the major leagues for 10 seasons. Do the math. If he leads the league in hitting this year it would be the 7th time he would have accomplished that feat breaking a tie with Rose and legend Ty Cobb.

74

hits needed by Yankee captain Derek Jeter to reach 3000 for his career.

Jeter is already a lock for the Hall of Fame, but 3000 hits usually makes the selection a no-brainer.

41

saves Yankees closer Mariano Rivera needs to reach 600 in his career.

The best closer in history should add another record to his legend this season: All-Time saves leader. He needs 43 to pass Trevor Hoffman for the honor.

39

points Carmelo Anthony scored in back-to-back games against the Orlando Magic and the New Jersey Nets.

Melo matched his highest output as a Knick in consecutive games, but more importantly New York won both times.

26

total amount when the seeds of the NCAA Men’s Final Four teams are added up, the highest total since seeding began in 1979.

In other words the “big name” schools had their worst showing in NCAA tourney history.

11

homeruns needed for Minnesota Twins DH Jim Thome to reach 600 for his career.

Thome has never been mentioned in any steroids scandal. 500 homeruns is usually the benchmark for Hall Of Fame induction, but 600 may push the underrated slugger over the hump.

4

starting pitchers on the Philadelphia Phillies roster that have been the ace (number 1 starter) of a pitching staff in their career (from l-r in pic: Roy Halladay – Toronto Bluejays, Roy Oswalt – Houston Astros, Cliff Lee – Texas Rangers, Cole Hamels – Philadelphia Phillies).

Unprecedented and Unfair.

1

prediction by Yankees ace CC Sabathia that the New York Yankees will win the 2011 World Series.

Has CC seen the Phillies pitching staff?

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NCAA Men’s Final Four Predictions

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