It's Sunday and it's Easter and it's not the sexiest matchup — but Sunday night's Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers game (8 p.m. ET on ESPN) is the first real baseball of the season.
It's very easy to balk at it and wait until Monday to get excited — when it's really opening day, when there are 12 games and people like Stephen Strasburg, Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander are pitching. But there are also reasons you should care about Sunday's game, such as:
1. It's the Astros' first game in the American League West. That's historic. They've been in the National League for 50 years. Maybe the switching-leagues thing lost a bit of luster in this era of increased interleague play. But when the Astros finally win the division in 2020 or 2023 or 2085, you can tell your children, "I saw their first AL West game."
[Infographic: MLB opening day team payrolls]
2. Watch to see how many times cameras cut to embattled Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan. Grade how happy/unhappy he looks.
3. See how the Rangers do without Josh Hamilton. And for that matter, without Michael Young and Mike Napoli. Texas overhauled big pieces of its offense this offseason, and they're counting on some veteran acquisitions to pick up the slack. We're looking at you, Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski.
4. If the Astros win, they will be in first place and the best team in baseball. Surely, that would be a one-of-a-kind moment this season.
5. Duh. It's baseball. What else are you going to watch? "The Voice." C'mon now.
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