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Tampa Bay Rays 2009 Preview

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The Rays enter 2009 boasting one of the most impressive young pitching staffs in all of baseball, despite losing 14-game winner Edwin Jackson to a trade.  We expect to see and hear a lot about young phenom David Price, but don’t expect him to be handed a spot in a rotation already including Kazmir, Shields, Garza, and Sonnanstine. The Rays will more than likely be careful with Price in the early going.

Red Sox-Yankees Rivalry: Why I Don't Really Care

I don't care about the Red Sox and Yankees rivalry, at all. I barely care about the Yankees and Red Sox as individual teams.

The truth is and I hate to break it to you Boston and New York fans, but no one outside of New England cares about your "rivalry."

There are far better rivalries out there.

When the NL West isn't so down, the Arizona-San Francisco matchup is always much richer with animosity than any given Boston Bandwagon vs. New York Bankees game is.

Unfortunately though, rivalry doesn't really exist in baseball anymore, thanks to constant trades.

Albert Pujols: Juicer or Clean Player?

Easiest way to annoy a St. Louis Cardinals fan?

Tell them Albert Pujols used steroids. That will really fire them up.

Since 2001, the guy has set the league on fire. Also occurring in the early 2000s, baseball's steroids era.

Tell me its not reasonable to question Pujols. Do you remember the last guy with his build?

He played first base for the Cardinals, too, and he hit 70 home runs in 1998. Then, when his playing days were over, Mark McGwire told Congress in front of an eager television audience that he did not want to talk about the past.

Big Fat Claims: FIve Outrageous Predictions for the Fantasy Baseball Season

Ben Ice takes the crystal ball down from the shelf and dusts off new predictions for the upcoming fantasy season.

Ben Ice

Ben Ice

Detroit Tigers 2009 Season Preview

*From Protect the Plate

After a busy offseason spent making upgrades to the offense, many experts had the Tigers as the team to beat in the American League in 2008.

While the team scored plenty of runs, its pitching staff fell apart. The end result was a last-place finish in the AL Central.

The question marks still surround their pitching staff, but the Tigers are hoping their lineup can power them back into contention in 2009.

Pitching woes

2009 Chicago Cubbies Season Outlook: Ryan Theriot

Ryan Theriot made his Cubbies debut back in '05 but only played in nine games. In '06 his MLB career started to look more promising, playing in 53 games. In those 53 games he had 134 plate appearances and put up a .328 avg. and .412 OBP.

In 2007 Theriot made the opening day roster as a utility player. He played in six different positions in '07 but snagged the reins at shortstop full-time from the struggling Cesar Izturis, which later led to Izturis being traded that July.

Team USA on a Mission at the World Baseball Classic

Three years ago marked the inception of the World Baseball Classic.

The concept was for teams around the world competing against each other for a few weeks in March, before the start of the regular season, to show who's really the best.

At first, the WBC was met with a lot of hostility.

In order for their to be enough teams playing, players with for example, Dominican heritage could play for the Dominican team even if they weren't born there.

Baseball Still the Perfect Game, Even in These Troubled Times

Most people who have an inkling of baseball history think Albert Goodwill Spalding, the old New York Knickerbockers, and Branch Rickey must be rolling in their graves right now.

In the midst of an 1870s betting scandal, Henry Chadwick, one of baseball's great founding fathers, wrote that "baseball has fallen."

That was in the 1870s. It is now 2009. Baseball is still here.

I'm not sure anyone can accurately predict what the final legacy of steroids will be, but I am sure that baseball will survive.

Duaner Sanchez: Coulda Been a Contender

Oh Duaner, Duaner, Duaner. He's not quite the Greg Jeffries of the Mets' bullpen, but he's fallen just as far off the Mets radar as Jeffries did back in the early '90s.

A guy who was once considered a possible replacement for Billy Wagner is now no longer employed. The Mets today announced that they released Duaner Sanchez and broke the news to him this morning so he could enjoy his afternoon in Port St. Lucie taking in the sights.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Doom and Gloom? Not in Bradenton

The Disciples of Doom have much less to talk about these days when it comes to the Pittsburgh Pirates. While the vultures have already begun their descent on the Houston Astros, fun in the sun seems to be the rule in Pirates camp. 

The long-maligned franchise may have finally begun to see that glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

Pittsburgh is, by no means, looking ready to thrash the New York Yankees in the World Series, but they might be ready to push a few teams behind them in the NL Central race. 

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