The trades have been made. The season previews have been written. The exhibition games have been played. Baseball is back. Finally. And there are plenty of reasons to be excited, no matter who you root for.
Manny Machado isn't quite back yet, but he's close. And who doesn't want to see what he can do, in the field and at the plate, in a healthy age-21 season?
Runner-up: Watching Buck Showalter's brain churn. If you pay attention during close-ups on HD broadcasts, this is visible to the naked eye.
Boston Red Sox
There's plenty for Red Sox fans to look forward to, but in particular, David Ortiz has reached rarified air -- not only beloved by all of New England, but a true national icon. And with his contract extension now out of the way, he can concentrate on what he does best: hitting the crap out of the ball. Age has to catch up to him eventually, but as of October it wasn't visible in the rear-view mirror.
Sure, there are many more valuable players on the Indians, but I don't know how you don't love a 43-year-old Jason Giambi, looking like this, popping up to share his slump-busting gold thong with those in need, and maybe getting the occasional pinch-hit home run.
Chicago White Sox
You don't want to take Chris Sale for granted -- just because he does it every year, doesn't mean it isn't special -- but if you're looking for something new, this season we get to see for ourselves just what new first baseman Jose Abreu can do. There's a lot we don't know about the slugger yet, but by all accounts, his power is very real -- and very well-suited to U.S. Cellular Field.
No need to try and get creative when Miguel Cabrera is around. Another Triple Crown season seems like a lot to ask for, but another 40 homers with a .400 OBP really doesn't.
After a while, the intellectual curiosity for watching a team get stripped to its boards and rebuilt from the ground up wears off. It's time for some better baseball. The Astros are nowhere near finished with their work yet, but at least the first wave of hope may show up this year in the form of prospects like George Springer, Jonathan Singleton and Mark Appel.
Kansas City Royals
There's more justifiable hope around the Royals than there has been in a long, long time, as pieces like Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, Billy Butler and Alex Gordon are rounding into form, and Yordano Ventura looks ready to join James Shields as a strong front of the rotation. Even Mike Moustakas has looked good this spring. Their first playoff appearance in almost 30 years is no sure thing, but it does seem to be within reach. The Royals could be this year's Pirates (and for the first time in a long time, that's a compliment).
Los Angeles Angels of Etc.
(Don't sleep on the possibilities of a healthy, extremely motivated, and somewhat pissed off Albert Pujols, either.)
The Twins rotation should be improved, but even on Opening Day, getting excited about Ricky Nolasco or Phil Hughes seems like a lot to ask -- and uber-prospect Byron Buxton is probably still a year away. But Twins fans still have Joe Mauer, hopefully healthy now and more likely to stay that way at first base, and that shouldn't be taken for granted.
New York Yankees
It's probably best not to dwell on the rest of the infield, but the Yankees will have a catcher who can field his position very well, frame pitches excellently, and also hit significantly better than the average major leaguer for the first time since … maybe since Thurman Munson, depending on your opinion of Butch Wynegar. (That's nothing against Jorge Posada, a fantastic hitter and thus a very valuable catcher for many years). Brian McCann wasn't New York's splashiest acquisition this winter, but he's the kind of player who doesn't come around too often.
It's also your last season to watch a certain shortstop you'll be telling your grandkids about one day, so ignore the overhype and enjoy it.
He fell juuuuust short, but Eric Sogard will always be the #FaceofMLB in our hearts.
Random Twitter campaigns aside, this A's team combines a loose, fun atmosphere with expected success in a way few clubs manage. And while this group deserves better than O.co Coliseum, looking on the bright side, no other professional sports team allows the opportunity for so many sewage jokes.
Whatever else the team may be doing, and whatever you think of his 10-year deal, Robinson Cano is a superstar. Enjoy.
Tampa Bay Rays
David Price had a down year in 2013 by his standards, but there's no reason he can't bounce back … and, even if he doesn't, Astro hasn't lost a step.
Maybe more intriguing, though, is Wil Myers. It's always fun to watch a young player be openly cocky -- and then completely back it up.
Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder, together, should put on a fireworks display -- and you haven't truly lived until you've seen Fielder leg out a triple.
Toronto Blue Jays
OK, let's try this again. Things didn't go so well last season, and some of the shine is off, but it's still the case that Jose Reyes is still one of the most joyful players you'll ever have the privilege of watching, and R.A. Dickey is still one of the coolest stories in the game.
At least it can't get any worse. [Cue lightning, thunder, downpour.]
You know who's really, really, really good at his job? Paul Goldschmidt is.
We've written about this before, but despite the thicket of medical red flags, Brett Anderson -- finally healthy -- could be a star in Denver on and off the field. A smart, fan-friendly guy who keeps the ball on the ground in Coors Field should come in pretty handy.
Nothing takes the wind out of your sails like spring training pitching injuries. The Braves went from favorite to underdog almost overnight, but they still have a group of strong hitters -- and maybe best of all, you'll still get to watch Andrelton Simmons, probably the best fielder in all of baseball right now, perform magic acts in the field.
I … uh, well, Wrigley Field is so great, and … well, you see, Starlin Castro could… uh … looking ahead to 2015 or 2016, there's plenty of… HEY, LOOK OVER THERE [runs away]
(Okay, yes: Javier Baez should get here at some point this season, and that's something to look forward to.)
A healthy Johnny Cueto is a thing of beauty -- but so is Joey Votto at the plate, cautious approach and all. He's not always appreciated for it, but watching his intelligent at-bats is a pleasure.
Los Angeles Dodgers
There's plenty to choose from here, from the best pitcher in the world (even if he is starting the season with back inflammation) to one of the most dynamic players in the game in Yasiel Puig. But there are few sights in baseball more jaw-dropping than a healthy, rejuvenated Hanley Ramirez firing on all cylinders.
Say what you want about Ryan Braun, but he's sure going to keep things interesting in Milwaukee this season.
Alternately, if you're looking for something less controversial -- if also with less right-handed power -- there's at least one Brewer who is universally adored.
New York Mets
With Matt Harvey out, that young pitching staff isn't going to be the wonder it might have been, but not only will fans likely get a glimpse of better days ahead in the form of Noah Syndergaard and Zach Wheeler, they'll also get to enjoy the stylings of Bartolo Colon, who may be 40 years old and round, with a few blots on the résumé, but is also absolutely mesmerizing on the mound.
Look, I'm not going to sugarcoat things. But you still get to watch Cliff Lee.
(Also: no Delmon Young this year!)
First of all, it's nice to have a deeper playoff run, rather than just cracking .500, be the team goal. Those expectations won't be easy to live up to, but the age-27 season of reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen and the first full season of young ace Gerrit Cole should certainly help.
San Diego Padres
It's risky to pin your hopes on a young pitcher, but at least the Padres have PETCO Park to help them there, so fans can be forgiven for dreaming on Opening Day starter Andrew Cashner, who has the makings of an ace.
San Francisco Giants
Madison Bumgarner tends to get overshadowed outside of the Bay Area. But he really shouldn't be -- and, still just 24, the best is very likely yet to come.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals have an embarrassment of riches -- the best farm system in the game has produced one great young player after another, and made it look easy. For all the flamethrowers and good-hitting infielders they've amassed, however, it might be an old standby who most stands out: The more we learn about pitch framing, the more remarkable a player Yadier Molina is revealed to be. Regardless of whether you buy into the specific numbers, it seems clear that almost no one is better at his job than St. Louis' catcher.
It's boring to just keep pointing out that the Nationals have Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper every season, but it's not boring to watch those guys play.
Photos via AP, USA TODAY Sports and Getty images.