I find myself gushing with optimism each year as we hear about what prospects will flourish, how we've finally nailed down a starting five pitching rotation, and how some mediocre player is absolutely crushing the ball this spring.
But this year feels different. Maybe I'm a sucker, but the fact that Rangers president Nolan Ryan has a stake in the pitching corps raises my eyebrows. When Nolan speaks, people listen, and he's been working with the Rangers pitching staff on everything from mechanics to their off-season training regimen.
I expect that'll pay some dividends when it get hot in August and the Rangers usually melt away as the Cowboys get going.
I'm also excited to see superprospect Elvis Andrus take the field at shortstop. If he's half as good as they say is, the Rangers are set at SS for years to come.
And finally, I like the guys on this team. I have fun watching Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, and David Murphy play every night. Taylor Teagarden and Matt Harrison have me excited about Opening Day.
Sure, I have my doubts. Can Nelson Cruz be a big league cleanup hitter? Is C.J. Wilson over his meltdown from last year? How does Eddie Guardado get anybody out with an 87 mph fastball and nothing else?
But with the Rockies in 2007 and the Rays in 2008, I can't help but think maybe this is the year for the Rangers.