Originally posted on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 4/1/13

Baseball has always been my favorite sport. Thus, I admittedly come to the conclusion that the 2013 MLB season will be a very intriguing one with as much sanguinity as concrete evidence. Nonetheless, here are six reasons I’ll be excited from today through late October: 1. Downfall of the Old Guard In 2012, the Phillies missed the postseason for the first time in six seasons, and Philadelphia is clearly not the NL East favorite in 2013.  Anything can occur in the world’s most unpredictable sport, but with the Nationals and Braves looking strong again, the Fightins have their work cut out. Ditto the Yankees and Red Sox. Boston missed the playoffs the past three seasons, culminating in a disastrous 93-loss 2012 campaign.  Though 2013 can’t be as bad, with a stacked division featuring arguably the most-improved team in MLB (Toronto), a 2012 playoff squad (Baltimore), a dark-horse pennant choice (Tampa Bay), and a team that’s played in 16 of the past 17 Octobers (New York), Boston is a very long shot to win 85 games. For the Pinstripers, injuries and age are finally catching up with them.  No doubt when Granderson, Teixeira, and perhaps A-rod eventually return — and when Jeter, Hughes, Rivera and others are fully healthy — the Yanks have immense talent on paper. But they also carry one of the oldest rosters in baseball history. Unless Toronto flops, Baltimore reverts and the Rays flounder, 2013 may find New York watching playoff baseball for a rare occasion. 2. Year-Round Interleague Play Announced last September, purists may dislike the concept, yet most I know are excited. After 16 seasons, the three-week IL play “break” in June/July became a tad overplayed and awkward. Having one series between AL and NL at all times is yet another progressive, wise adjustment by Major League Baseball to augment fan interest that’s been rising the past few years. The season gets off to a great start with a potential World Series preview today in Cincinnati when the Reds host the Angels. 3. Houston is finally in the American League I’d been “requesting” this for years, since it made perfect sense, and MLB obliged. Evening out the leagues is great, but putting the Astros in the AL West creates a natural intra-state rivalry with the Rangers (who they topped last night); strengthens the oft-suspect NL Central; weakens the strong AL West; and brings an interesting story to the Junior Circuit. 4. Playoff intrigue continues The second Wild Card was added last season. Though flawed in the 1-game style, it is still a great idea. It’s proper to reward division winners with a small bye, and simply makes sense to allow more teams into postseason after a grueling six-month campaign. 5. Big pressure and more anticipated success The Giants have won two of the last three world championships. For a team that had not won a title in 56 years before 2010, this alone shows the unmatched parity of baseball. But in addition to New York, Boston and Philadelphia’s best days behind them for now, incredible pressure rests in Los Angeles. The Dodgers and Angels spent and spent in 2012 and achieved absolutely nothing. This season would be a disaster of massive proportions without at least October baseball and probably a deep run. Many “experts” think both teams could capture pennants. We shall see, considering small market or young clubs like Cincinnati, Washington, Oakland, Tampa, Baltimore, Milwaukee and yes, even Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Kansas City, are now prepped for success. 6. Baseball is about much more than the game Though raised in a warm climate, I’ve now lived eight winters in the Midwest. Baseball truly begins seasonal life anew. The mercury slowly rises; tree buds sprout; fathers and sons play catch; kids eventually get out of school; families take vacations; the days are longer; and life becomes slower and simpler, all coinciding with baseball — a game you need not love to enjoy, especially in person. The aforementioned tidbits, along with the casual atmosphere at every stadium (from high school and college to the Minors and Big Leagues); the affordability of tickets; the entertainment on and off the field throughout each performance; the uniqueness of each ballpark; and the arduous mental and physical grind through the depths of summer to the ultimate climax of early autumn, makes April 1 more than just another incredible Opening Day for the Greatest Game I know. The late Ernie Harwell elaborates more in an epic poem. Baseball is a spirited race of man against man, reflex against reflex. A game of inches. Every skill is measured. Every heroic, every failing is seen and cheered — or booed. And then becomes a statistic. ***** What has you the most excited for Opening Day 2013? The post 6 Reasons 2013 Will Be An Especially Intriguing MLB Season appeared first on Midwest Sports Fans.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

San Diego Padres unveil awesome new uniforms

Report: Mark Richt being recruited to run for Georgia governor

Cowboys won’t put Tony Romo on IR because of playoff hopes

What the Selection Committee taught us: Week 13

Majority of FIFA sponsors demanding independent review on reforms

Zack Greinke expected to choose between Dodgers, Giants by end of week


Reports: David Price, Red Sox agree to seven-year, $217 million contract

LSU officials’ media leaks about Les Miles blew up in their faces

Sam Bradford returns to practice, but does it matter for broken Eagles?

Cam Newton won’t be ‘lured in’ by talk of undefeated season

Report: Miami job is Mark Richt’s 'if he wants it'

WATCH: Cowboys’ security guard being investigated for choking Panthers fan

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Seven storylines for Week 14 of the college football season

MAC Championship preview

Tiger Woods’ career inches closer to an end after gloomy injury update

QUIZ: Name every NCAA football national champion since 1950

Browns lose to Ravens as only the Browns know how

NCAA figures out how to invite 5-7 teams to bowls

Ranking top Heisman Trophy candidates

Have the New Orleans Saints given up?

This weekend in NFL stupid, ft. Rex Ryan

Missouri won’t accept a bowl bid at 5-7

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker