(* to my knowledge, we've never done a baseball preview)
(** this really isn't a baseball preview)
Others will focus on whether the Red Sox will live up to expectations (color me cautiously optimistic), Buck Showalter's first full season in Baltimore, Zack Grienke's ribcage, the Cubs' Sisyphean quest, Albert Pujols' walk year, and any number of other worthy intrigues. In keeping with our sub-niche specialization, we'll go a different route.
As the fourth-leading chronicler of CAA athletics (behind CAA: Life as a Mid-Major, Defiantly Dutch, and the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record, but way, way ahead of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Virginian Pilot), we'll be following the 11 former William & Mary ballplayers earning a professional check.
Three ex-Wrens begin the season on major league rosters, led by veteran pitchers Bill Bray and Chris Ray. Bray is finally healthy after 2009 Tommy John surgery, and enters his 5th big league season looking to be the Reds' late-inning lefty specialist after holding lefties to a .106 average in 2010. Ray saved 33 games for Baltimore in 2006 before struggling through his own injury issues. He accepted a non-roster invitation from Seattle in hopes of earning a late-game relief role, turning down several guaranteed MLB offers from teams with settled closing roles.
Will Rhymes opens the season as the Tigers' starting second baseman after playing in 54 games for Detroit in 2010. The 5'9", 155-pound Rhymes hit .304 with a .763 OPS in his debut season and will likely bat 9th for Jim Leyland this season. He'll take his first cuts of the season against C.C. Sabathia in the Tigers' opener this afternoon. (Annoying sidenote: A Bing image search for 'Will Rhymes' yields a ton of photos of his cousin Busta, but few of Will. Google > Bing.)
Follow our good friend Extra P (of Storming the Floor and CBS Sports Online fame) and his mates at Bus Leagues Baseball for news about the 8 Wrens playing minor league ball, including former big-leaguer Brendan Harris. The veteran infielder begins the season in Igor's backyard (not actually his back yard - there are far too many empties in the way to play baseball) with the Norfolk Tides. Check in with the W&M athletic department for a full list of W&M ballplayers in the minors.