Excitement is palpable as Angels begin season

Albert Pujols and the Angels hope to deliver on plenty of hype.(Reed Saxon/AP)

The pieces are in place: The 25-man roster is set, and the Los Angeles Angels’ season opener is a few hours away. The hype machine has done its job, and the Angels enter the 2012 season with some of the highest expectations in franchise history.

The big names are lined up: Albert Pujols, Jered Weaver, Kendrys Morales, C.J. Wilson, Dan Haren, Torii Hunter. The young guys are hungry to put their names in the history books. The media is ready, for better or for worse, to pounce on a potential ratings gold mine.

Plenty of eyes will be on the Halos as they embark on what will, no doubt, be an entertaining, captivating season. Will the Angels shine, or will they fold under the tremendous pressure?

For the answer, look no further than manager Mike Scioscia, whose ability to manage his emotions transcends mere human limits. Sure, the guy has had a blowup here and there, but Scioscia’s poker-faced approach has frustrated opponents and even his own fans. Leadership will not be a problem for this team.

What may be a problem for this team is the bullpen. Closer Jordan Walden‘s issues were most prevalent. While the big Texan has the heat to blow away any batter, his control has bordered on the horrific at times. Angels starters have what it takes to pitch deep into games, but Walden and company must assure the rotation they are not a liability to ease the pressure.

But those are things we’ll see in due time. I’m interested in what happens today, when all of the anticipation and buildup finally end and we see this roster in action.

I am most excited to see the debut of the great Albert Pujols, whose arrival in Anaheim changed the entire baseball culture in Southern California. I expect the first baseman to receive quite an overwhelming ovation when he steps up to the plate for the first time in an Angel uniform.

But there’s another heavy-hitting first baseman in Anaheim who’s itching to make a debut of his own. Kendrys Morales, who suffered a devastating leg inury in May of 2010, hopes to show the world he can still pack a punch. He’ll have to do so in a limited role until the Angels are sure he’s 100% healthy. But man, it’ll be great to see the big guy step up to the plate again.

It promises to be an amazing season here in Anaheim. The clock is ticking, and I’m sure Angel fans everywhere can’t contain the excitement. Baseball is finally here.

I’ll be at the game today, so check my Twitter page every now and again for candid thoughts on the game as it happens.

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