If a consequence of this new rule creates 30 full-time jobs for Spanish-language interpreters, so much the better.
Q: After a banner year for rookies in 2012 -- outfielder Mike Trout began the season as an Angels prospect facing the Rainiers in Cheney Stadium, and finished as runner-up to Miguel Cabrera for the AL's Most Valuable Player award -- who are the phenoms awaiting stardom in 2013?
A: Texas shortstop Jurickson Profar is regarded as a leading candidate for the can't-miss club, despite the fact his recent assignment to the minors means he'll miss the first few weeks of the Texas season, if not more.
Outfielders Will Myers (Tampa Bay) and Adam Eaton (Arizona) also are in the mix, as well as starting pitchers Trevor Bauer (Cleveland) and Dylan Bundy (Baltimore).
And don't discount Seattle's Brandon Maurer, who quietly surpassed the Mariners' "Big Three" of more ballyhooed pitching prospects -- Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton -- to gain a rotation spot out of Double-A.
Q: When all is said and done, what will be said about what was done in 2013?
A: That injuries, advancing age and an ownership prone to a more frugal stewardship of the bottom line caught up with the Yankees, who'll be challenged to finish .500. The defending world-champion Giants again will qualify for the playoffs, but their aspirations of parading through a third storm of confetti in four years will be undone by the Washington Nationals.
Q: As for the Mariners?
A: The Mariners appear destined for a fourth-place finish in the AL West, which is better than it sounds. It's not a stretch to see Seattle winning 85 games, and if the Mariners are able to coax just one more victory a month from that projection, they'll end up with 91 of them and in the wild-card hunt.
Q: Back to the schedule: Why were the Rangers and Astros, former interleague foes, chosen to begin the season tonight? What ever happened to tradition?
A. The Astros and Rangers are now divisional opponents. Besides, a Sunday night season opener in Texas trumps any opener played at 3 a.m. West Coast time in Japan.
Baseball heritage will be honored Monday, sort of, when the Reds are home for an afternoon game in Cincinnati. The Reds' Monday opener is as much an early April baseball tradition as hot dogs that aren't hot enough and cold beer that isn't cold enough.
Only this year, there's a twist: The Reds will take on the Angels in an interleague game.
Q: Ho-hum. Rangers-Astros, Angels-Reds. And baseball fans are supposed to be excited about this? Why?
A: It's like what Louis Armstrong once said about jazz: If you have to ask, you'll never understand.
THE NEWS TRIBUNE'S BREAKDOWN OF ALL 30 MLB TEAMS, PRESENTED IN PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH:
2012 season: 94-68 (first, AL West; lost in ALDS)
New faces: SS Hiroyuki Nakajima, OF Chris Young, INF Jed Lowrie, C John Jaso.
Strength: Young talent. Last year, the A's become the second team ever to get at least 50 homers (56) and wins (54) from rookies. Pitching is especially good, led by starters Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone and A.J. Griffin and
Most Popular Stories
- Twitter Names Woman to Board
- Aspen Contracting Adding 300 Jobs
- U.S. Chamber to Run Ads in Idaho, W.Va.
- U.S. Unemployment Rate Dips to 7 Percent
- Consumer Spending Rises, Incomes Fall
- Hispanic Employment Improves in November
- NSA Tracks 5 Billion Cellphone Records a Day
- Nelson Mandela Dies After Momentous Life
- American Eagle Issues Weak Q4 Outlook
- Budget Bargain Elusive as Time Runs Out