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Major League Baseball has had itself a busy off season. Several blockbuster trades have been pulled off. Free agent signings were many. The overwhelming publicity, however, came from the Mitchell Report regarding steroid use in the national pastime.
The league will look to start putting all of that behind them this week with the opening of spring training camps across the country. Everyone involved with the game will be looking to put the steroid issue behind the sport.
That will not be done easily. Prominent players will be testifying in front of Congress soon. Roger Clemens will be there. His former trainer will also be on Capitol Hill. That testimony will help the general public make their decision on who to believe. More importantly, however, it will serve as a bridge into the new baseball season.
Two trades that have been made in the past two weeks have changed the landscape of two divisions. The Mets are clearly now the favorite in the National League east after acquiring Johan Santana from the Twins.
The American League West looks to have gotten a little bit tougher after the Mariners upgraded their pitching staff by trading for former Oriole ace Erik Bedard. The trade may have put them ahead of the Angels on paper, and made them the favorite in the division.
Renewed hope and optimism always accompanies a new spring, and that excitement starts this week when pitchers and catchers report.