The 2019 MLB season is finally here. Five months after the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, 28 of the 30 teams across the country played ball for the first time this season Thursday. 

The Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics kicked off their season March 20-21 in Tokyo. Excluding the international opener, this season was the earliest start in MLB history, beating the previous record of March 29 set in 2018.

Opening day regardless of the sport is always something special. 

There is an extra optimism that all fans can have.

While teams like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros are getting a large amount of World Series predictions compared to teams like the Miami Marlins or Baltimore Orioles, fans across the league can all have reasons to be excited for the season. From World Series hopes to watching new additions, there are things to watch for everyone.

I always look forward to the start of the different sports seasons. It may be cliche, but it is like a holiday or the first day of school.

Even though most of the storylines from Thursday won’t matter in six months, it is nice to have baseball back.

The Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox eventually began their season at Kauffman Stadium Thursday after it was delayed nearly two hours by rain.

Although the conditions were dreary, Royals fans should be excited for the shine shown by the team in a 5-3 win. 

Brad Keller pitched a two-hit game in seven shutout innings. He also struck out five and only walked one. Adalberto Mondesi tripled twice. Whit Merrifield and Alex Gordon also add two runs for the team and Brad Boxberger got the save. The Royals improved to 18-33 on opening day with the win. 

It is still early, but if Thursday is any indication of what the Royals fans can expect in 2019, it should be a fun team to watch.

Merrifield already started the team off with two stolen bases. Prior to the start of the season, he said he thinks the Royals could easily steal between 200 and 250 bases. 

The Royals are going to be a speedy team. If they can continue to hit well, this team will steal a lot of bases.

That mixed with the pitching staying potentially strong, and the Royals could surprise people. 

I’m not going to sit here and say it will be another World Series run, but play like Thursday won’t lead to another season with more than 100 losses. 

The team is still a bit away from even competing for the division but there is hope for Royals fans moving forward. 

Let’s just see if that hope stays. It has only been one game after all. 

Looking around the league, one of the big stories from the first games was Bryce Harper’s struggles. The player who got a $330 million contract struck out twice in his Philadelphia Phillies debut. Not an ideal start. The fans did boo him, but the same city booed the Eagles in the NFL opener last year so it isn’t that surprising. It is just game one. No need to worry that much yet.

Luke Peterson is the sports editor for the Leavenworth Times. Contact him at lpeterson@leavenworthtimes.com