Baseball News in December

Here we are in mid-December.  Football teams are battling it out to make it into the playoffs, basketball is back from its work stoppage fiasco and causing behind the scenes drama as its abbreviated season is about to begin, but the week was full of headlines about BASEBALL!  Yes, winter might soon officially be upon us, but fans of the National Pastime like me were bombarded this week with some big news about our favorite sport.

Major League Baseball's annual off-season deal-making gathering (popularly known as the "winter meetings" even though it's still technically autumn) included some blockbuster moves by two teams in particular: the Miami Marlins and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The Marlins made a splash in an effort to rebuild their team as they embark on a major rebranding turning point for their franchise (new name, new stadium, new uniforms -- now new superstar players).  Can the Marlins finally draw a crowd with new starting pitcher Mark Buehrle, new shortstop Jose Reyes, and new closer Heath Bell?

The Angels are making big moves to steal the spotlight from the Los Angeles Dodgers who are looking for a new owner.  They signed arguably the best player in baseball, first baseman Albert Pujols, and starting pitcher C.J. Wilson. 

The hiring of Bobby Valentine as the new manager of the Boston Red Sox should heat up the infamous feud in the American League East between Beantown and the New York Yankees.  Also, the rumored addition of an expansion of Wild Card Playoff teams should make things interesting next season.

Unfortunately, there's also bad news -- the National League Most-Valuable-Player Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers has tested positive for an illegal substance.  The details still haven't all been released, but it's disheartening for baseball fans still trying to get over the stigma of the steroid era. 

Spring Training is still a few months away, but the past few weeks have certainly given us plenty of baseball topics to talk about.