Honestly, do you need a reason? It’s baseball! But, for those who need a little motivation to shift from basketball to baseball, here are five reasons I’m watching this year.

1. Expanded replay. I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of more replay, especially since the most important calls (balls and strikes) are not reviewable.. But, how managers will employ their replay challenges is fascinating. Also, will the opportunity to challenge calls reduce those entertaining manager/umpire arguments? 

2. Mike Trout. He finally got paid. He’s the best player in the game. There’s nothing he can’t do. If Willie Mays were playing today, he would be Mike Trout. 

3. Lineup construction. At some point, this has to change. At some point, manager will stop putting guys who can’t hit at the top of the order. Until then, I’ll watch and hope.

4. Small-market teams. Here’s hoping that the A’s and Rays, and teams like them, continue to take advantage of good, young talent. Maybe this is the year one of them makes it happen in the playoffs.

5. Joey Votto. It’s Votto and what he represents: the ultimate example of plate discipline. If you’re a coach, watch Votto. Then, teach young hitters to swing only when it’s advantageous (with less than two strikes) or necessary (with two strikes on close pitches). Teach them to do something to help their team, even when they aren’t hitting well (hint: it’s called taking a walk). Teach parents that being a productive offensive player isn’t just about getting hits…it’s about avoiding outs. I could go on. Just watch Votto.

Why are you watching this season?