For those of us who are baseball fans, the first day of the major league season is an unofficial holiday. To help celebrate, here's a roundup of news, previews and posts on the local teams, and a reprise of my Manny Ramirez videos from the Dodgers' camp in Arizona. It's also the right time to officially kill off SoCal Sports Observed for lack of interest, mine and everyone else's.
The Dodgers open in San Diego at 4 p.m. Monday, with Hiroki (not Hideki!) Kuroda going against Jake Peavy. The final roster has yet to be set. The Angels host the A's at 6 p.m. in Anaheim, with Joe Saunders and Dallas Braden starting.
Watch videos bigger:
Manny mania and batting practice
Manny's press conference in Arizona | en espanol
Quote: "I can’t shake the fear or feeling that Vin Scully’s 60th season calling Dodgers games will be his last, and if so, that’s the story of the year, no matter what happens on the field. We need to cherish him." Dodger Thoughts blogger Jon Weisman at The Hardball Times
"The Dodgers' signings of Orlando Hudson and Manny Ramirez upgraded them from a fringe contender to one of the best teams in baseball in the waning days of the offseason." Joe Sheehan, Baseball Prospectus
"The Dodgers, who were maddeningly inconsistent when it came to producing runs last season, suddenly have what might be one of the best lineups in the National League." Dylan Hernandez, LAT
"The Angels have so many injuries that it's hard to know where to slot them." Baseball Prospectus
"The Halos certainly won't win 100 games again but could...still win this weak, four-team division." Rich Lederer, Baseball Analysts
"The Dodgers, who reached the championship series last fall, will be challenged by the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants, who have the division’s best rotations but did little to strengthen weak lineups." Tyler Kepner, New York Times
Ex-Dodgers: Gary Sheffield lands in New York with the Mets, Andruw Jones makes the Rangers, and Derek Lowe starts and wins season game #1 for the Atlanta Braves.
Dodger Thoughts blogger Jon Weisman has a new book out, 100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, with a foreword by the team's former owner Peter O'Malley.
Tick-tock on the final minutes leading to last year's Manny Ramirez trade, from the Pittsburgh perspective.
Diamond Leung, formerly of the Riverside Press Enterprise, turns up writing Tony Jackson's blog at the Daily News. Leung also has a personal baseball blog.
Baseball Reference.com has a new look this season.