Opening Week for Baseball has Final Rosters and real baseball and renewed optimism!

Bryce Harper has a knack for Opening Day home runs

“Hope springs eternal” is the phrase I have spewed every year since baseball came back to Washington. It is from an Alexander Pope poem “An Essay on Man”. Strangely I hear baseball people talking about that portion of the poem often this time of the year, and hope in some small way I inspired this tradition. Pope in his poem was not writing about baseball which did not exist in his lifetime as he passed away in 1744. Hope springs eternal has inspired me to always find a newborn optimism as the new baseball season is ready to start. Figuratively turning that calendar to springtime as opening day is near signals that the new season begins in its perpetual motion.

This season begins with renewed optimism led by new manager Dave Martinez and his minions of new coaches. We have seen camels and their humps in symbolism of getting over the hump, a golf chipping competition, practicing walk-offs, and Nats players guesting as daily DJs for a unique mix of music. Martinez created a Circle of Trust on the Nats logo shaped in a circle on the turf agility field. Martinez also allowed his most veteran player, Ryan Zimmerman, skip all of the Grapefruit League games except two at-bats in favor of doing his work on the minor league side.

This “fun” camp run by Martinez will either pay dividends or it won’t in subjective hindsight based on results. The magnifying glass will be on Dave Martinez — fairly or unfairly based on losses more than wins just like it was on Dusty Baker, Matt Williams, and Davey Johnson. Fans concentrate more on losses than wins which seems pessimistic — and that is sports in a nutshell. In baseball, results are analyzed and over-analyzed in the win and loss column drilling down to the most obscure statistics. Sure, baseball history almost guarantees 50 wins and 50 losses for every team, it is the other 62 games that make you a playoff team or a team getting early tee times in October. Soon enough, Dave Martinez will have a managerial page on where he can be judged along with his peers in this fraternity of those who are hired to be fired.

In baseball history, most of the best managers were never superstar players, and Dave Martinez was never even an All-Star. If WAR existed when Martinez played, he should have been an All-Star at least in 1996 when he was a +4.8 WAR. Bryce has only had two seasons better than +4.8, but he has been an All-Star five times already. Martinez is a man shaped by his own personal experiences. For the first time in his life he had to be “that guy” to tell players they were cut.

Some say life is not fair which is certainly the case in sports where hearts are tugged out all the time.  Dave Martinez who has dreamed of being a big league manager for a decade gets to finally earn his stripes as a manager on Thursday because up until now those Grapefruit stats don’t count even if Anthony Rendon would love for his to carry over as he led the regulars with a .432 on-base-percentage.

Speaking of life is not fair, the opening day roster seems set, and a few players who had promising springs did not make the cut. There were probably some broken hearts as Matt Reynolds, Andrew Stevenson, and Adrian Sanchez were roster casualties in the last cuts. In the end, Davey Martinez opted for the 8-man bullpen in the near-term which makes sense. In a few weeks, there will most likely be a roster change or two if Jeremy Hellickson and Daniel Murphy are activated.

In the meantime, here is your projected opening day twenty-five:

Position Players:

  1. Ryan Zimmerman 1B
  2. Matt Adams 1B/LF
  3. Howie Kendrick 2B/LF
  4. Wilmer Difo 2B/SS/3B
  5. Trea Turner SS
  6. Anthony Rendon 3B
  7. Bryce Harper RF
  8. Michael Taylor CF
  9. Adam Eaton LF
  10. Brian Goodwin LF/CF/RF
  11. Matt Wieters C
  12. Miguel Montero C

Starting Rotation:

  1. Max Scherzer RHP
  2. Stephen Strasburg RHP
  3. Gio Gonzalez LHP
  4. Tanner Roark RHP
  5. A.J. Cole RHP


  1. Sean Doolittle LHP CL
  2. Ryan Madson RHP SU
  3. Brandon Kintzler RHP SU
  4. Sammy Solis LHP
  5. Trevor Gott RHP
  6. Shawn Kelley RHP
  7. Enny Romero LHP
  8. Matt Grace LHP

There you have it. Hope springs eternal.

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