By Jamie H. Vaught
Are you beginning to have some sort of a baseball fever? Are you anxious to follow your favorite major league baseball team again with the season opener just around the corner?
Don't worry. The annual yearbooks published by Athlon Sports, Lindy's Sports and Sporting News are now available at most newsstands and they will keep you enthused.
As usual, the colorful publications are still very good. They are loaded with predictions, team capsules, feature articles and statistics as well as the top prospects.
In the National League division races, Washington, St. Louis and Los Angeles are the popular choices to win its respective division. The only exception is the rising Chicago Cubs, who are picked by the Sporting News to capture the Central Division.
Not sure about the Cubs winning the division title at this point. If this was 2016, I might agree. But right now, the improved Cubs, now managed by popular Joe Maddon, still have some question marks.
As for the NL Wild Card teams, Miami, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and San Francisico are among the possible non-division winners picked to go to the playoffs.
The local favorites -- the Cincinnati Reds and the Atlanta Braves -- may struggle this summer. All three magazines have picked the Reds to finish last in the five-team Central Division and the Braves at No. 4 in the five-team East division.
In the American League, the 200-page yearbooks have selected either the Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers to win the league crown. New faces like the Chicago White Sox and the Seattle Mariners could show up in the playoffs.
As the umpire would say, Let's play ball!!