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Top Secret Fyles: Baseball’s arrival welcomed after harsh winter

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From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles on April Fools’ Day:

Perhaps we have FINALLY turned a corner — weather wise.

After the immediate Watertown area has received no less than nine lake-effect and/or snowstorms and nine mornings of record-breaking cold temperatures over the same period, we all know brighter days and warmer temperatures are ahead with the arrival of the Major League Baseball season.

The traditional Opening Day was Monday, and it was a welcomed sight.

Daylight is getting significantly longer, temperatures are steadily climbing and the sun actually begins to feel warm on the body.

Baseball signifies renewal, hope and optimism for the coming months. The little kid returns to all of us, no matter what age we are.

Anticipation is high for a team to turn around a disappointing season from 2013, or maybe a club wants to go one step farther — win the World Series.

Regardless of the goal, it’s full steam ahead.

Also, a baseball fan’s TV habits change. Now there’s a point to get necessary tasks, or — more precisely — chores done before the start of a Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, etc. game. First pitch means everything.

It’s an excellent reason to get excited, and a final reason to say goodbye to a harsh winter.

Here’s my projected MLB final standings and postseason outlook:

AL EAST —Red Sox; Rays; Orioles; Yankees; Blue Jays.

AL CENTRAL — Tigers; Royals; White Sox; Indians; Twins.

AL WEST — Rangers; Angels; A’s; Mariners; Astros.

NL EAST — Nationals; Braves; Phillies; Mets; Marlins.

AL CENTRAL — Cardinals; Pirates; Reds; Brewers; Cubs.

NL WEST — Dodgers; Giants; Diamondbacks; Padres; Rockies.

ALCS — Rangers over Tigers.

NLCS — Dodgers over Cardinals.

WORLD SERIES — Dodgers over Rangers.

Channel surfing: Time Warner Cable has added a station (digital tier channel 331) devoted to the Los Angeles Dodgers, similar to how YES covers the Yankees and SNY covers the Mets.

However, there’s one important difference: The Dodgers’ cable games are blacked out, because of regional broadcast rights held by New York teams.

Dodgers cable games, previously broadcast by Prime Ticket for many years, can still be viewed on major networks, like ESPN and Fox, and on TWC’s Extra Innings package.

n Florida is a 6-point favorite over Connecticut and Kentucky is a 2-point favorite over Wisconsin in Saturday’s pair of NCAA Final Four basketball games at Arlington, Texas.

However, the Huskies could pull off a surprise. They handed the Gators their last loss, and the formula of tenacious ‘D,’ accurate foul shooting and the leadership of Shabazz Napier can’t be dismissed.

Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at rfyle@wdt.net

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