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Why Opening Day Rosters Don't Mean Jack. Or Mel.

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Two words, Mel Hall, as ephemeral as a melting hallucination, are all you need to know about the importance of the 25 players a baseball club chooses to start the year with.

We get all worked up, because so-and-so deserves to "make the team" and so-and-so doesn't. But that's the wrong way to look at it. We should get worked up if so-and-so makes the team and because of it, someone pretty darn good is squeezed off the 40-man roster, out of options, and lost on a waiver claim. Follow the dominoes, my friends.

Even then, be careful of producing too much pique. The Giants are very good at not giving away talent for free. Bad trades? There have been a few. But the kids kicked off the island -- released, cut, however you want to call it -- rarely come back to haunt. I'm racking my brain and BRef's database to find the last impact guy who was previously released by the Giants. More often it's a situation like what was just revealed by Sir Baggs: Tony Abreu, once in the mix for backup infielder, was released and re-signed. No harm no foul.

Sure, Frankie Pegs could bust out with the O's. Just like Kevin Frandsen had half a good year with the Phillies, and Matt Downs with the Astros. With these guys, there just aren't a lot of surprises. (Of the recent releases, the one guy I'd expect to have at least a little major league success is Eric Surkamp, now with the White Sox. He'll start the year in Triple A.)

But April's Brandon Hicks will more often than not turn into May's Scutaro, and that cup of coffee will have no refill. Or, if you prefer the bullpen version, one man's Dunning is another man's Gloor. I just don't put much stock in the 24th and 25th men who "break camp," as if the lucky ones get their tents and Coleman stoves shoved back deep into the Conestoga wagon never to be seen again. Ayuh, going north with the big squad. It's all oysters and doubloons from here to yonder, Alonso.

No, it probably isn't, unless you consider a month or two of extra big-league service the equivalent of a lifetime of bragging rights, tales to tell the kids, and free coffee at the corner diner. I sure as hell would. So go ahead, Tyler Colvin if you make the team (which you probably won't; we're big Juan Perez believers round here. OK, medium-sized). Go ahead, Ehire Adrianza. Say it. Opening Day 2014! I made the team!

(Here's Baggs' best guess, by the way.)

Mel Hall probably told himself the same thing. He was gone before June, but the Mother's Cookies trading card lives on forever.



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