So the Oakland A's and Boston Red Sox played the first two regular season games in Japan the last two days. They split with the A's winning today 5-1 and Rich Harden (as seen next to my brother Jamal- I mean, Chris) looked filthy. I really hope that guy is healthy this year. He's a hell of a pitcher to watch when he's on (I have the same sentiment about current Padre Mark Prior.) Ultimately it was good to see boxscores on the internet (and fantasy points for my team by Papelbon and Blanton) but my biggest gripe comes with what happens now. Both teams go back to the States to play exhibition games (Red Sox v. Dodgers and A's v. Giants.)
I understand it has to do with scheduling and not wanting teams to get rusty, but once you start the season, why backpedal to meaningless games? It has to be tough on a team to mentally start playing serious and then go back to games that don't count. Don't get me started on the ridiculous Hall of Fame game in the middle of June that Cubs and Padres are playing this year (for the last time, thankfully). I'm sure it's exactly what those teams wanted to do on their day off. Play a meaningless games where the starters will get one at bat and get subbed out, use up a pitcher for no reason, and not get a full day's rest.
Baseball is a tough sport because of how many games they play. Growing the business is fine, but they've got to figure out a better way to schedule these things. By the way, why didn't the Mariners go instead of the A's. I know the A's have Kurt Suzuki (born in Hawaii) but come on- Ichiro versus Dice K would be the match-up that would set Tokyo on fire (from the hype, not a gigantic mythical monster.) Did the Mariners vote to not go over there or something? I would think MLB would offer that team the moon and the stars to get that epic battle. Not to mention the Mariners will most likely be better than the A's this year anyway.
Overall, I like the expansion of the game, but the scheduling leaves a lot to be desired. Keep tinkering with it and get it right. Now if only the World Baseball Classic wouldn't ruin all the players next year...