[We’re pleased to introduce a new column at Redleg Nation, called This Week in Baseball. Three of our new writers, Taylor Ballinger, Jeff Gangloff and Matt Korte will be combining their efforts to keep you informed of important and interesting content from around the world of baseball. Their column will publish each Saturday morning.]

“There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem — once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.” -Al Gallagher, 1971

While the rest of the sports world tunes into the waning days of March Madness, we here at Redleg Nation are rearranging our priorities and turning our sights to the upcoming baseball season. Today, we’re launching our first installment of “This Week in Baseball”, which will run weekly throughout the season. Each week in this space, Taylor, Jeff, and Matt will highlight interesting and/or important stories happening throughout baseball. These stories may or may not be Reds-centric or about the game on the field. We’ll just try to bring some stories your way that might spur conversation, or which we find funny, bizarre, or thought-provoking. Hope you enjoy, and let us know in the comments if there are types of stories you’re interested in having us review.

The Third Base Coach Rankings by AJ Cassavell and Paul Casella, Sports on Earth

Spurred by the thoroughly-dissected stop sign shown by Mike Jirschele of the Royals as Alex Gordon motored around the bases in the bottom of the 9th in game 7 of last year’s World Series, Cassavell and Casella break down which teams in 2014 were the best and worst at getting runners across home plate from second on a single and first on a double. I’ll let you all two guesses as to where the Reds of 2014 landed… (Taylor Ballinger)

50 Reasons You Should Be Excited for the 2015 MLB Season by Joel Reuter Bleacher Report

Nothing like a fun list to get you excited for baseball season! Every team gets some love in this one. For the Reds, Reuter says we should get jazzed up for Billy Hamilton’s speed, the All Star Game (and potential record shattering Home Run Derby) at GABP, and the potential reinstatement of one Peter Edward Rose. Oh, and there’s a blurb about Daniel Norris in there, too. You know, the Blue Jays pitcher currently living out of his Volkswagen van in a Walmart parking lot? (Taylor Ballinger)

The Best Fans in Baseball by Christina Settimi, Forbes Magazine

Yes, the notion of once again hearing how Cardinals fans are the “best fans in baseball” is enough to make most of us puke, but at least now there’s actual data to back up these claims. Forbes gathered five fan consumption criteria to rank MLB fan bases. Factors such as hometown crowd reach, television ratings, and social media reach are some of the factors taken into account. What won’t make you puke? Seeing just how high up on the list Reds fans fall… (Jeff Gangloff)

Building a Team Out of the Worst Contracts in Baseball by Grant Brisbee, SB Nation

What if a team could out Yankee the Yankees?  What if you had the ability to start a team and decide that rather than building through the draft and acquiring young prospects through trades you made a point of taking on the most toxic contracts in baseball…would you do it?  In this hypothetical laid out by Grant Brisbee he shows how effective this strategy could be comparing this newly constructed team’s projections to other Major League franchises.  Interesting to note, the starting second basemen of this team of regrets is none other than our OBP denier BP. (Matt Korte)

Theo Epstein responds to Scott Boras, defends Cubs’ handling of Kris Bryant by Mark Townsend via Yahoo Sports

One of the stories from this Spring that has dominated headlines comes out of Chicago and the back and forth played out in the media between the Chicago Cubs brass and super-agent Scott Boras over the handling of his client, Kris Bryant.  Bryant, an uber prospect who has been terrorizing pitching this Spring in Arizona has been at the center of a philosophical debate; should the Cubs start the season with Bryant on the opening day roster, assuming he helps them win now as opposed to keeping him in the minors for 2-3 weeks in order to have another year of control over his free agency.  Personally, with all the hype surrounding the Cubs this season, I still don’t believe they are ready to contend for the playoffs and they would be best served with a long-term goal in mind, thus I would argue they should hold Bryant off of the opening day roster…but at the center of this argument is an interesting debate posed by Boras as it related to the integrity of the game.  While I don’t think Boras wakes up in the morning worried about the integrity of the game, I do think there are two valid sides to this debate. (Matt Korte)