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Opening Day -- well, Opening Night, really, and we technically already had one of those in Japan, but who's counting? -- is finally here, as the Cardinals will take on the Marlins tonight in the first stateside regular-season MLB game. It's bound to be an exciting season with so many players having changed teams, but has the power structure been altered significantly?

Vote: Pick each division and pennant, and the winner of the World Series

Rank: Baseball's best teams? | Top players in the game?


World Series repeat?

The Cardinals prevailed over the Rangers in the 2011 World Series, but St. Louis lost its biggest gun this past offseason ...

SportsNation

Which team is more likely to make it back to the World Series?

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    21%
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    79%

Discuss (Total votes: 63,581)


Best player?

... which is a pretty big loss, considering he might be one of the best players of all time.

SportsNation

Which of these players would you most want on your team?

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    6%
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    17%
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    6%
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    39%
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    32%

Discuss (Total votes: 64,564)


Odd one out?

The Red Sox missed the playoffs last season after an epic September collapse. Will they be on the outside looking in once again?

SportsNation

Which of these AL East teams is most likely to miss the playoffs?

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    54%
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    15%
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    31%

Discuss (Total votes: 38,308)


AL's best?

Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols were probably the two biggest additions to teams in the American League, meaning the balance of power could shift.

SportsNation

Which is the best team in the American League?

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    23%
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    14%
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    21%
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    21%
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    21%

Discuss (Total votes: 66,943)


NL's best?

Likewise, the addition of Jose Reyes to the Marlins could give the team a huge upgrade -- offensively with new third baseman Hanley Ramirez, and defensively at shortstop.

SportsNation

Which is the best team in the National League?

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    10%
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    10%
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    46%
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    8%
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    26%

Discuss (Total votes: 63,887)

Comment »

 

People get hit all the time in baseball, but in the case of Ubaldo Jimenez hitting Troy Tulowitzki, it seemed like it was personal. Do you think Jimenez hit Tulowitzki on purpose? Did Major League Baseball get it right by handing him a five-game suspension?

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We can understand if you don't want to take the time to grade your tech-support help on the other end of the telephone, but when we're talking about the dollars and emotion you've invested in sports, we think it's worth the effort. It's time for ESPN The Magazine's Ultimate Standings, in which SportsNation grades organizations on everything from ticket prices and stadium experience to the talent on the field, court or rink. Which team will end up on top this year? It depends on what you say.

Take part in the 2011 MLB survey
2010 MLB Ultimate Standings
1. Los Angeles Angels (Overall: No. 3)
2. Tampa Bay Rays (Overall: No. 6)
3. Colorado Rockies (Overall: No. 13)
4. Minnesota Twins (Overall: No. 14)
5. Atlanta Braves (Overall: No. 15)

Take part in the 2011 NFL survey
2010 NFL Ultimate Standings
1. New Orleans Saints (Overall: No. 1)
2. Indianapolis Colts (Overall: No. 4)
3. Green Bay Packers (Overall: No. 9)
4. Arizona Cardinals (Overall: No. 19)
5. Baltimore Ravens (Overall: No. 20)

Take part in the 2011 NBA survey
2010 NBA Ultimate Standings
1. Orlando Magic (Overall: No. 2)
2. San Antonio Spurs (Overall: No. 7)
3. Cleveland Cavaliers (Overall: No. 10)
4. Dallas Mavericks (Overall: No. 24)
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (Overall: No. 25)

Take part in the 2011 NHL survey
2010 NHL Ultimate Standings
1. Pittsburgh Penguins (Overall: No. 5)
2. Detroit Red Wings (Overall: No. 8)
3. Washington Capitals (Overall: No. 11)
4. San Jose Sharks (Overall: No. 12)
5. Chicago Blackhawks (Overall: No. 16)

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First it was Ndamukong Suh coming up on the outside (or right through the guard and center, as the case may be) to nearly swipe last season's Heisman Trophy. Now we've got Troy Tulowitzki making a late run in the NL MVP race. We don't know if the two things are related, but the Steelers might want to get in touch with Chris Fuamatu Ma'afala, just in case there's something afoot with the 21st letter of the alphabet.

Tulowitzki and the Rockies finally cooled off, sort of, Sunday against the Dodgers. Tulowitzku had only one RBI and struck out three times in a 7-6 loss in 11 innings. Nonetheless, the Rockies are just 1.5 games out in the NL West and Tulowitzki is hitting .371 with 14 home runs this month. But before we get to Tulowitzki's place in the NL MVP race, what is his place in Colorado's MVP race?

jtrms45

Tulowitzki is an absolute beast! If he could just stay healthy over a full season, he could win multiple MVPs. Hopefully, he picks up a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger Award this year, which he rightly deserves.

-- jtrms45

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Information travels fast these days. At least, it does most of the time. When it comes to Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, on the other hand, it feels a little like the information is still traveling out of the "Gateway to the West" via covered wagon.

Wainwright improved to 17-6 by giving the Cardinals sole possession of first place in the NL Central in Wednesday's win against the Reds. He also lowered his ERA for the season to 1.99, a number more familiar to the Taco Bell menu than MLB pitching statistics at this point on the calendar. And yet when the ballots, so to speak, went out to SportsNation this morning, Wainwright wasn't even in the same area code as first-half star Ubaldo Jimenez.

Then again, while Jimenez has fallen off the ERA pace recently (and here is where we mention perpetually overlooked Josh Johnson and his MLB-best 1.97 ERA), the Rockies ace does still spend half his time in Coors Field. Is that enough to offset Wainwright's surge?

Jake (Ottawa)

Rob, is Mat Latos in the running for the Cy Young? Take away his first 4 starts of the season and he has a 1.72 ERA, .170/.239/.247 slash line and .90 WHIP, all tops in the MLB. Not to mention he already leads the NL in OBA/OOBP/OSLG with all starts considered.

Rob Neyer
Rob Neyer

We're not allowed to take away those first four starts, are we? (If so, I'll take back my brilliant decision to release Latos from my fantasy team.) He's a dark horse Cy Young candidate, if only because of all the other viable candidates. Full transcript

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