Forget that Seattle-Oakland 6 a.m. drivel from Japan or the annual made-for-ESPN first-night game that we got last night in Miami. Today is the real Opening Day for both the major leagues and the Bisons and it's the day we all get cranked up into baseball mode (OK, at least until the Sabres' game starts at 7).
Here's how I'm going to flip my dial:
---Red Sox at Tigers and Braves at Mets at 1: Justin Verlander is always must-see TV and so will be Prince Fielder's debut at Comerica Park and Bobby Valentine's debut with the Red Sox. But the Bisons' parent bears watching too on the day Johan Santana finally returns to the mound.
---Nationals at Cubs at 2:20: Stephen Strasburg in an Opening Day start at Wrigley. Gotta love that.
---Blue Jays at Indians at 3: I'm assuming I'm radio only here, that we'll get the continued ridiculous blackout of the Tribe and Pirates on all but DirecTV (I have FIOS). I really think this can be a playoff year for the Blue Jays and will we see spring training continue? The Jays had the AL's best record (24-7) and the Tribe had the AL's worst (7-22). I still have plenty of friends in the front office and press box in Cleveland so you always hope for the best for them.
Our Bisons preview is in today's editions with plenty more from Wally Backman and the players as the season opens tonight in Pawtucket (with the home opener Wednesday against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre). Pretty obvious from the opening paragraphs what I think: The Bisons better be looking for a new parent this fall if this edition of the Mets' farmhands flames out.
Also be sure to catch my International League preview, which talks about all the crazy activity going on up and down the New York State Thruway this season. Several inquiries about Andy Pettitte and I did not mention him with Scranton because he's opening the season in extended spring in Florida and there's no way to tell if the Yankees will send him to their Triple-A nomads or make life easy and put him in Double-A Trenton for a few starts.