Ongoing Attempts, March 28, 2024: Opening Day is here

The 2024 MLB regular season is here.

The first game that will be available to watch today is a matchup between the Los Angeles Angels and the Baltimore Orioles. That does give us an appearance by one of the top teams to watch on MLB TV in the Orioles, topped off by the fact that Corbin Burnes is scheduled to make his Baltimore debut. 

I might watch that game anyway, even if it wasn’t the only game available. But it also wouldn’t matter what that matchup was. It could be the Oakland A’s versus my sad Colorado Rockies. I would be locked in for first pitch. I would be ready to watch baseball. 

Opening Day is here. Celebrate!

Let’s get to this week’s Ongoing Attempts, starting with a smattering of predictions and observations as we head into the 2024 regular season. 

A prediction here, a prediction there 

The expanded playoffs have created some unrest among fans. Teams that clearly separated themselves as elite during the regular season, such as the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers, have then fallen short in the playoffs. These giants were taken down by inferior teams that got hot at the right time. So now some folks wonder: have these changes gone too far? Have they devalued the results of the long regular season? 

I don’t know the answer to these questions, and I don’t have a strong feeling about the topic. But I do have a prediction: I think we’ll see one or more of the regular season juggernauts making a deep playoff run. And I even think one of those teams will finish the job and win the World Series. 

The central divisions in each league continue to lag behind the others. That creates parody, at least. I predict that a different team than the 2023 winners will finish 2024 as division champs. Imagine if it’s the Tigers and the Reds. It might be! 

One year after there was almost unanimous praise for the pitch clock, I think we’re going to see more violations this year. No evidence to back that up. It’s just a gut feeling. 

The Dodgers will almost certainly make the playoffs. But I think the road will be rockier than any of us expected after they dominated this offseason. 

You can choose to believe me or not, but I was going to make that prediction before we ever knew about the unfolding situation with Shohei Ohtani. We just aren’t always good at predicting situations, even the ones that seem obvious. 

Jordan Montgomery finally has a team 

With just a couple days left before Opening Day, the free agent starting pitcher finally landed with the Arizona Diamondbacks on a one-year deal. It’s obviously not what Montgomery envisioned, and he’ll get to do it all again next offseason.  

As for the Diamondbacks, it’s just the latest understated yet smart move from that franchise as they gear up for a tough year in the National League West.

Thursday tidbits

  • Let’s toss out some more predictions. Ronald Acuña Jr. will win back-to-back National League MVP awards.

  • What about Blake Snell winning a second consecutive NL Cy Young award, making it two years in a row on two different teams? I don’t think I would predict that, but I also don’t think it’s impossible.

  • What about Bobby Witt Jr. as a candidate to pull something of an Acuña and win the American League MVP? It seems far-fetched to think that the Royals would turn things around to that degree, but I wouldn’t rule it out completely in the mess that is the American League Central. Witt Jr. already has a 4.4 bWAR season and top-10 MVP finish to his name.

  • The Rockies will lose 100 games, and they will lose more than they did last season.

  • One more gut feeling, with nothing of real substance to back it up: I think the Los Angeles Angels will be better than people think in their first season after losing Ohtani.

That’s it for this week’s attempts. At this time next week, we’ll have real games to react to. May it be as weird and fun a season as ever.