A clean slate

OPENING DAY NEWS UPDATE: Brandon Moss is going to be traded, Rob Biertempfel reports. So at least we’ll get something for him rather than losing him through waivers. Once the trade actually happens, it’ll get its own post. Until now … OPENING DAY!

BRANDON MOSS UPDATE: Jen Langosch now reporting he cleared waivers and will be outrighted to Triple-A.

There’s no opening day in sports quite like Opening Day in baseball. Each year, winter ends and spring starts and with the spring comes baseball. Sometimes, I think that I tend to lose the magic of Opening Day for all of the analyzing and blogging and other things that come with real baseball. The truth is, today’s day one of 162 and nothing that happens today can’t be corrected or overridden somewhere down the long road of the season. If the air here in North Carolina weren’t completely full of pollen, I’d say that we should all step back and take a deep breath and just enjoy the fact that baseball’s back. If you’re going to the game today, I’m insanely jealous of you.

The game itself is a 1:30 start with Zach Duke and Vicente Padilla taking the mound for the Pirates and Dodgers. Duke, you may recall, threw a complete game shutout in last year’s home opener and despite everything I just wrote in that first paragraph, it was a great sign that he was on track for a rebound season. Let’s hope he can start things out on the right foot again in 2010.

You’ve likely noticed that the site looks differently today than it did last night; the forum is gone now since BWZimmerman was the only person that had used it since the middle of last season, and with that gone there seemed to be no reason to keep the three-column look (which I was never really a fan of). There is a new poll and it’s on the right sidebar now. Meanwhile, I’m going to spend the next couple days cleaning up and organizing the links on the right.

The Bloguin guys are also working on the comments, but with the start of the new season I thought it’d be a good time to introduce something to spice up the open gamethreads a bit. Today, I’m going to launch something I’m unofficially (for now) calling “Clemente or Cangelosi?” The full set of rules (well, more like guidelines, really) are after the jump.

Really, it’s just a simple prediction game. Before the game starts, leave a comment below in which you pick two Pirates; one player is who you think will contribute the most in the day’s game, one player is who you think will contribute the least. You can pick pitchers, but pitchers and batters can’t be compared to each other. If you pick Andy LaRoche as your Clemente, that means you think he’ll contribute the most at the plate. If you pick Zach Duke, he has to be the best pitcher.

To judge “contribution,” I’ll use FanGraphs’ WPA with a 2-1 scoring system. Using last night’s Yankees/Red Sox game as an example, if you’d picked Kevin Youkilis as your “Clemente,” he’d be worth two points. If you’d picked Dustin Pedroia, he’d be worth one. Same goes for the reverse; Jacoby Ellsbury as a “Cangelosi” pick would be worth two points while David Ortiz would be worth one. To keep things lively, if your pick ends up doing the complete opposite of your prediction, you get -1 point. So if you had Josh Beckett as your “Clemente” last night, you’d have taken a hit.

And (for now, at least), that’s it. Your submissions have to be in before the first pitch, and I’ll keep a running tally as the season goes along. If you win at the end of the year, you get eternal bragging rights on the internet and maybe another not-quite-as-fabulous prize. Quite honestly, it’s just something to do for fun because I want to get people talking a bit and other sites have had success doing similar things (and this is the part where I acknowledge that, as that link indicates, Ichthyomancy at FishStripes was a big influence on this idea). So make your picks! And finally, let’s play ball!

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.