Opening Day is a day for messages. Teams sends a loud and clear message to their fans, their league-wide opposition, and themselves. Who better to deliver this message in vivid, living colour than the man on the hill? A team's choice for Opening Day hurler conveys more information than all the press conferences, exhibition games, and elaborate marketing smoke-screens ever could.
Choosing the right man to toss Pitch One in anger is essential to warning the rest of the league "it starts bad and gets worse. You're all playing for second." Sending out a strapping bruiser with bad intentions and blazing heat tells your paying customers "Look at this beast on the mound, you're getting a show today friends!" Of course, sending forth a feeble retread or green rookie lets all interested parties know "we're working out some kinds here. Kindly drop some change in the bucket for the bus ride home." Pitchers have been known to beg their way out of Opening Day duty, either due to nerves or advanced cry baby-itis.
So what do this year's Opening Day starters tell us? Is your team arming itself for the holy war or cowering in its subbasement, dreading the coming holy war? Only time and my fact-free analysis know for sure if you're looking at a feast or famine.
|National League Central
Chicago Cubs - Carlos Zambrano: Feast
St Louis Cardinals - Adam Wainwright: Fragile Feast
Houston Astros - Roy Oswalt: Feast
Milwaukee Brewers - Jeff Suppan: Fail
Cincinnati Reds - Aaron Harang: Famine
Pittsburgh Pirates - Ian Snell: Famine
|American League Central|
Chicago White Sox - Mark Buehrle: Discount Feast or Overpriced Famine
Kansas City Royals - Gil Meche: Famine
Detroit Tigers - Justin Verlander: Sporadic Feast
Minnesota Twins - Francisco Liriano: Thanksgiving Feast
Cleveland Indians - Cliff Lee: Feasty/Feastish.
|National League East
New York Mets - Johan Santana: Fingers Crossed Feast
Atlanta Braves - Derek Lowe: Feasmine
Philadelphia Phillies - Brett Myers: Moral Famine
Florida Marlins - Ricky Nolasco: Future Feast
Washington Nationals - John Lannan: Famine
|American League East|
New York Yankees - CC Sabathia: All-You-Can-Eat Feast
Boston Red Sox - Josh Beckett: Greasy Rib Feast
Tampa Bay Rays - James Shields: Optical Famine
Toronto Blue Jays - Roy Halladay: Meast
Baltimore Orioles - Jeremy Guthrie: Famine
|National League West
San Francisco Giants - Tim Lincecum: Mr. Feastastic
Los Angeles Dodgers - Hiroki Kuroda: Famine
Arizona Diamondbacks - Brandon Webb: Feast
Colorado Rockies - Aaron Cook: Famine.
San Diego Padres - Jake Peavy: Feast
|American League West|
LA Angels - Joe Saunders? Feast?
Seattle Mariners - Felix Hernandez: Feast Fit for a King
Texas Rangers - Kevin Millwood: Famine
Oakland A's - Dallas Braden: Unknown Commodity Famine