Top 10 MLB Storylines of 2008 (4-1)

Here are the remaining top stories that we see developing throughout the course of the 2008 season.

4. Explosion of Revenue and Popularity

Yes, even today in the age of steroids, fans are flocking to the game like never before and the owners are raking in record profits. Here are just a few examples from FOX Sports’ MLB Insider Ken Rosenthal:

“MLBAM, baseball’s new-media arm, generated $36 million in revenue in 2001, its first year of existence. That number grew to more than $450 million in 2007, according to the Sports Business Journal.”

Every time you log-in to watch MLB.TV, listen or watch a game on-line, revenue grows.

This speaks directly to the heart of why baseball’s popularity can match the NFL.

“No matter where you live, you can pay to listen to your favorite team on satellite radio, pay to watch your favorite team on cable television or MLB.com, pay to buy tickets on-line.The Internet gives baseball a perfect platform not only for streaming video and ticket sales, but also fantasy leagues, merchandise and collectibles. Yet, compelling as the new technology is, it is only one element of a larger story.”

Oh, and blogs are important too.

3. Milestones

Last season we saw a ton of milestones passed. Some were personal, some historic. Here is what is on tap for 2008

Ken Griffey Jr.- needs 7 HRs to reach 600 Will have a chance to pass Sammy Sosa (609) provided Sosa doesn’t play for 5th all-time

Greg Maddux- Needs 8 Wins to pass Roger Clemens (354) for 8th all-time

Tom Glavine- Needs 5 Wins to pass Mickey Welch for 20th all-time

Jim Thome- Needs 6 HRs to pass Ernie Banks for 19th all time

Billy Wagner- Needs 10 saves to pass Jeff Reardon for 6th all time

2. Santana Sweepstakes

One of the biggest non-trades made during the Winter Meetings in December was the rumor mill surrounding Johan Santana. The Yankees being the biggest player dropped out-or so they would like us to think-of the Johann Santana acquisition talks due to the high price the Minnesota Twins were asking in return. Plus, with Santana’s free-agent status upcoming after the 2008 season (he’s due $13.5 mil plus incentives), he will command the biggest return of any player being shopped if the Twins are able to find a home for their ace. Coming down to the trade deadline this summer it will be all Santana, all the time.

1. Detroit Baseball City

The Detroit Tigers and GM Dave Dombrowski made the biggest splash of the relatively slow and uninteresting off-season when they acquired Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis in return for six prospects that were sent packing to south Florida.

The reason that this story will dominate the headlines is not necessarily the names, but the expectations of the Tigers and their fans. After losing 119 games in 2003, the Tigers have gone through a renaissance, and the organization has recommitted itself to finding solid young talent as well as a very strong, young rotation. Only a few years removed from a World Series appearance in 2006 and after a somewhat disappointing 2007 season in which the Tigers finished a distant 8 games behind the American League’s second best team Cleveland Indians, Detroit has upped the ante and brought a lot of excitement back to Detroit. Ticket sales are up and so are expectations of what should be a very explosive offense coupled with a very formidable pitching staff. We foresee Cleveland and Detroit batting it out for the next few years for the AL Central crown.

And there it is. Your top 10 stories of 2008. If you missed the first 5, here is the link to the story.

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