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MLB kicks off 2017 season with Opening Day

Cameron Thomas, Sports Copy Editor

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This year, Major League Baseball kicked off its 2017 season with Opening Day, which took place April 2. The season is still early but some teams appear to be more dominant than others according to their season records.

Among the standouts in the American League (AL) are the Baltimore Orioles, with an 12-5  record as of 4/24, the Detroit Tigers with a 10-8 record and the Houston Astros, with an 13-6 record. The 2016 American League Champions, the Cleveland Indians are tied for first in the AL Central conference.

In the National League (NL), the current leaders are the Miami Marlins and the Washington Nationals. The Nationals currently ranked first in the NL East with a 13-5 record. The Marlins have possession of the second spot in the NL East with 10 wins and eight losses. The Chicago Cubs, the 2016 World Series Champions lead the NL Central conference at 10-8  and the Colorado Rockies are at the top the NL West conference with 13 wins and six losses. The Cubs have had a shaky start to their 2017 season but have surged back into the number one ranked NL Central team with a 10-8 record.

“So far this year the Braves have shown a lot of promise. After a rebuilding year, the Braves were one of the worst teams in the MLB last year. However, with the addition of a new brand new stadium, SunTrust Park, the Braves and their young roster are proving that the stadium isn’t the only thing to look  forward too this season,” said Michael Ferrell, Athens Drive baseball coach and Atlanta Braves fan.

There have been numerous rule changes to Major League Baseball for the 2017 season, such as eliminating the Four Pitch Intentional Walk and replacing it with the No-Pitch Intentional Walk. Given this rule, managers are allowed to signal when they want a player to walk and the umpire will give the player first base without a pitch.

“I think anytime the League makes a rule change, it is for the benefit of the player.  The no pitcher walk doesn’t make any difference to me because I think it saves the pitcher from having to throw 4 meaningless pitches,” said Ferrell.

According to Bleacher Report, three of the new rule changes are designed to speed up the speed of the game. As of 2017, managers only have 30 seconds after a play if over to decide if they want to challenge a call. Before the new rule was implemented, managers would stand at the top of their dugouts and tell their players to wait at a certain base while the coach in charge of reviewing replays looked at the play before a decision was made to challenge or not.

There is also a two minute replay time limit for officials who review the play from MLB’s replay center located in New York. After that, the ruling is then given to the umpires, who make the call on the field.

MLB fans will have to wait until a little later in the season before certain teams become legitimate contenders for the World Series.

“It’s hard to tell who will win this early in the season. Most teams are still trying to find their stride and what works best for them.  Once the all star break comes around, we will have a much better idea of who is who and what teams are contenders for the World Series.  If I had to pick though, I want to see the Washington Nationals win a championship,” said Ferrell.

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The official student news site of Athens Drive High School
MLB kicks off 2017 season with Opening Day