Ozzie Smith started campaigning for it a few years ago…opening day in baseball should be a national holiday in America. The 2017 season began this weekend and thousands of Americans and Canadians will be heading through the turnstiles into ballparks this year.

Opening day always had special memories for me because for a long time I would take my dad to see opening day as his birthday present. I miss those days and wish I could go pick him up and head off to the ball park. He passed away years ago, but the best part is those memories will always be with me.

This is also the time of the year when “hope springs eternal” for all teams playing. With that said, here are my predictions for 2017.  In the National League East, I am picking the Washington Nationals to win the division. In the National League Central, I am going with the Chicago Cubs. The winner of the National League West will be the San Francisco Giants.  My picks for wildcards will be the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals. The winner of the National League title will be the Cubs.

In the American League, I am picking the Boston Red Sox to win the East with the Cleveland winning the Central and the Houston winning the West. The wildcards teams will be the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals. The American League title winner will be Houston.

The World Series winner will be the Astros. Before you start laughing at my picks and calling me a “homer” for picking the Yankees, Cardinals, Cubs and Royals wait for the conclusion of the season and then let me have it.

It's finally time to say "Play Ball" for baseball and I can’t wait! Baseball, what a great game!