Hey, everyone. Welcome back to yet another column of Life, Love… Sport (Day of Openings Edition). It’s that time of year again, the day when baseball attempts to play every team, and half the games get rained out, the other half get delayed and observers decry the state of the modern game. The LLS is here to reassure people that the modern game of baseball is alive and well, and while the rain does suck, people need to calm down. Some of you might say, “Didn’t the season start last week in Japan?” No, no it didn’t. I don’t consider the Japan trip anything more than Major League Baseball whoring out two teams for a week (kind of like the Emperor’s Club and Client No. 9).

There are a multitude of things that we learned from the first day of baseball. Eric Gagne is still horrible, David Ortiz hasn’t yet collected that many hits this season (actually, just two), the Pirates are an offensive juggernaut and the Royals have a top-10 pitching staff.

Now raise your hand if you think most of those observations will be there come Aug. 1. The legacy of Opening Day is a trail of shattered expectations and broken dreams. And on the second day, Pedro Martinez, the supposed savior of the Mets, is now down and out with a hamstring problem.

If I recall correctly, people in Boston were up in arms when Pedro was not re-signed after the 2004 season. Fans seem to have short memories about injuries and bad play because it was a good decision by management to let him go. With Pedro gone, the Sox traded and gave an extension to Josh Beckett and brought in Dice-K (who, despite all the current evidence, is hailed as pretty much the best thing to come out of Japan since seaweed salad).

Basketball is now moving closer and closer to the playoffs, which means it’s time for a new running segment: Who’s not making the playoffs? This week, we trot out three contestants, the Golden State Warriors, the Dallas Mavericks and the Denver Nuggets.

The Warriors are the team that is the most fun to watch. Every game, they’re a threat to score either 110 points or 70. Plus, if you make a list of “Players who could be gang-bangers in the off season,” the Warriors would have at least five of the top 10 players on that list (since the Jail-Blazers broke up, it has been tough going for gangstas in the NBA).

Next, we have the Denver Nuggets, a team for whom the phrase “play some defense” apparently doesn’t apply to the basketball court. They’re so painfully deficient on the defensive end that even if they make it to the playoffs, expect games in the 130-125 vein.

And last and probably least, we have the Dallas Mavericks. This is a team that traded a competent, young point guard who had a semblance of a shot for a guy who probably should have retired years ago. Jason Kidd is definitely not the answer, as the team has discovered, and with their superstar Dirk out for the foreseeable future, things don’t look all that good for the the Boys of Mark Cuban. That is a real shame because everyone I know loves the Cuban blog. What’s not to love about a billionaire owner who actively hates on certain NBA officials? My prediction is that the Nuggets and Warriors make the playoffs while the Mavericks stay at home and bitch about the playoff seeding format.

Let’s discuss the MVP race for a bit. Since everyone and their mother is sounding off on this issue, I feel like it’s time for me to put in my two cents. If I had a vote, I would vote for Chris Paul. Sure I’m a Celtics fan, and yes, I love Kevin Garnett, but it would be wrong to deny the best point guard in the NBA an MVP trophy. Paul has been nothing short of unbelievable since the All-Star Break. He’s averaging 21.5 points per game, 11.4 assists per game and 2.7 steals per game. Were it not for a particularly difficult East Coast road trip several weeks ago, he might have been able to pull off three steals per game.

Final Fact:

The Cincinnati Reds baseball team name was officially changed to the Redlegs during the anti-communist movement.

Maystrovsky’s column appears weekly.Maystrovsky is a member of the class 2009.

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