Too many Larry and Sue Capital One commercials, I guess.
But I've been thinking: now that Opening Day is just eight days away, what's the one word that best describes your perspective going into the season?
I'm writing as an eternal optimist, but I'm going to go with "intrigued."
- I'm intrigued to see what lineup combinations Rocco will try, especially at the top of the order. And I say "combinations," because there will be many. Last year, there were 149 different lineups in 162 games. Part of that was injuries, but flexibility in roster and lineup construction is a hallmark of this administration.
- I'm intrigued to see what it's like to have Byron and Carlos hitting back-to-back, at least on occasion. I've been wondering, but haven't seen anyone note whether this is the first time that the top two players in a single draft ended up as teammates.
- I'm intrigued to see exactly how tiny the Bermuda triangle between Buxton, Correa and Polanco is going to be.
- And while I'm at it with the Byron and Carlos lovefest, I'm intrigued to know what the laundry bill is going to for cleaning the shorts of opposing pitchers if those two get on a roll at the same time, especially if Sano happens to hit one of his hot streaks at the same time. Not sure I REALLY want to know that answer, but sorta intrigued in a macabre sort of way.
- I'm intrigued to see if either Bundy or Archer is able to reclaim their prior highlights.
- I'm intrigued of what this notion of a Gray-Bundy-Archer-Ryan-Ober rotation might actually pull off.
- I'm also intrigued at what looks a little like a hodgepodge of relievers, and how there seems to be different skill sets represented, and how they could conceivably turn into a unit where the whole is significantly better than the sum of its parts.
- I'm intrigued to see how Rocco works with that 10-man bullpen. Some (many) of his decisions look wacko on the service (and get lambasted in the Game Thread), but my experience has been that very often when I drill down to consider the rest patterns, pitcher availability, the likelihood of actually winning the game at hand, and how things set up for the next day, there is almost always a logical progression. Doesn't always work, but it's logical -- that's the nature of the beast. And that's why I'm sitting at home on the Game Thread instead of being in the dugout.
- I'm especially intrigued with how Rocco meshes that bullpen with a starting rotation in which day-to-day consistency may be severely lacking. Each of the five starters (make that 10-12 by year-end) have the potential to be really good on a given day. Or really bad. As the self-proclaimed inventor of the bullpenning strategy after riding a three-man rotation and incredible cards from Mike Timlin and a bunch of guys I can't remember to the 1992 Northern Indiana Offseason Strat-O-Matic regular-season championship, I think it will be fun to see the mixing and matching.
- I'm intrigued to see how long the leash is going to be on pitchers, both starter and reliever, and which order other guys come up, both in terms of 26/28-man roster and 40-man roster decisions. That includes the guys on minor league contracts that will have to wait their turn.
- I'm intrigued to see if Sanchez can simultaneously regain his power stroke and become something more reliable than a cement block at stopping pitches.
- I'm intrigued by Larnach. At my one and only College World Series game, about two weeks after he was drafted, he jacked a long home run, and I thought, "Oh, my -- this could be fun."
- While I'm at it, I'm intrigued by Kirilloff too.
- I'm intrigued to see how Lewis bounces back. I'm intrigued to see if Miranda is indeed legit and whether he's able to force the issue. And Winder and Enlow, etc. See three bullets previous.
- I'm intrigued to find out the taste of Killebrew Root Beer, and I'm looking forward to trying it at a Saints game in a couple weeks.
- I'm intrigued to see if, and when, they pull off a trade for a pitcher. This front office works under the radar, and I can easily imagine waking up some morning to a May Day present (and I don't mean just Trevor) of somebody's No. 2 starter that they got for Jermaine Palacios. Or a second present, when they re-sign Palacios after he's been DFAed by his new team and then trade him again! Okay, probably not Palacios, but I wouldn't be surprised if they pull something off when we least expect it, at the cost of only a lottery pick.
- I'm intrigued by how many of us will be in Cooperstown on July 17 to see Tony O and Kitty Kaat.
- I'm intrigued by whether they'll go with the powder blue or the Dairy Queen red in Game 1 vs. the Dodgers in October. (See line 3 and the statement about being an optimist.)
- I'm intrigued by the forgotten man, and whether Kenta Maeda might sneak back for some late-season usage, either with a few starts or in the bullpen, where he's had some past success. (See previous bullet for a hint of what I'm talking about.)
- I'm intrigued to find out what a Godoy is. And whether we'll be waiting for him.
So, "intrigued" is my word. What are you intrigued about?
And what's the word that captures where you're at with this team?