College football and the NFL have both come back with a vengeance but for MLB, there really aren’t any compelling races at this point. How can baseball compete?
WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKIN’ ABOUT?
No compelling races? How can baseball compete?
Put down that tequilla shooter (slowly) and check the boxscores before you miss out!
Because the time is NOW for September baseball and there is PLENTY to be excited about. Right now the AL East is as tight a race as they come, and believe me: the Yankees and Red Sox both want to win that division as each would rather draw the weaker opponent in the ALDS. Meanwhile, the AL Central is anything but locked down. Sure it might not be neck and neck, but if the Tigers have taught us anything in the last few years, it’s that they definitely know how to blow a sure thing. And if you think the Rangers aren’t worried about the creeping Angels of Los Anaheim, ya might wanna put down the vodka too (keep the whisky, for now).
In the National League, sure the East, Central and Wild Card races seem to be locked down, but the NL West is still undecided. The Diamondbacks are coming on strong but if the Giants can just average one run a game, with THAT pitching staff, they have a pretty good shot.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love football just as much as any other
loud proud US American, but early season games being more important than the stretch baseball run? Not in my world. Not even close!
If you’re not feelin’ it, I gotta think that maybe it’s your fault. Sit down and watch one of these games that matters. Or, don’t. I mean, STRASMAS is comin’ this year, so you could watch that! Or check out a Bluejays game to watch the Joey Bats and Brett Lawrie Show! Or get your buddies together for an Orioles game and every time they make an error, miss the cut-off man or fail to advance a runner TAKE A DRINK! You’ll be so loaded by the third inning that your decision making skills will deteriorate to a level that will GUARANTEE a night of awesome once you hit the club.
Hate me ‘cuz I promote promiscuous behavior while championing the greatest game on earth, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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A bunch of teams are clustered right around .500 and above and no division is even close to being set at this point. Does this mean baseball is starting to reach parity?
IT’S A TRAP!
It’s not real.
The truth is, the same old teams are still atop the same old divisions. The Yankees. The Red Sox. The Phillies. Okay, so the Mets and Dodgers may be out, but it’s not their faults! They can blame poor ownership and mishandled funds!!!
I know that a quick glance at the standings may confuse the casual onlooker, that one could be easily misguided by the way the teams stack up. But let’s face it: the NL and AL Centrals have been crapshoots for a decade, the NL West has been a contest in mediocrity for a long time. The Angels’ dominance of the AL West was only usurped last year and in 2011 they have put themselves back in contention.
This is not parity. This is, like our US American social ladder, a classic case of 99% of the wealth being in the hands of 1% of the population and everyone else is left to fend for himself. The effect resembles something like parity. But it ain’t.
I really believe that the Mitchell Report and its subsequent juicy fallout has forced teams to go back to what always works: good pitching. With good pitching, you might have a decent shot at accumulating wins. The Giants are a perfect example of a team that gets by on minimal offense and middle-of-the-pack payroll. It’s not the stuff of dynasties… but when it works, it works, and that’s what teams are doing.
The Pirates are winning because of pitching (they can’t hit). The Braves are winning because of pitching (they have a hard time scoring too). The Diamondbacks could always hit, but this year they have… PITCHING.
Great pitching is the best defense against great hitting. I didn’t write that. Baseball wrote that.
When the Orioles and Blue Jays can compete in their own division… when the Nationals have a shot at the big boys in the NL East… that’s when I’ll consider parity’s existence.
But right now that seems like something that could only be found in a galaxy far, far away.
Hate me. Fine. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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Okay, which race do you think is the most exciting? The NL West or the open senatorial seat in Delaware?
Burr Ridge, IL
Exciting isn’t the word I’d use here, Mitch. The fact that the NL West is still so wide open merely reflects the drama inherent in baseball. And of course the Rockies are right in the middle of it. Do you remember their run to the World Series back in 2007? That one game playoff with the Padres? The NL West is all drama and it often involves the Rockies.
The Delaware race, on the other hand, is just frightening. How is it possible that a person like Christine O’Donnell finds herself in this position? Here’s the thing. When even a conservative stalwart like William Kristol thinks that you don’t belong, that doesn’t bode well for your bona fides.
Let’s look at the facts. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. She thinks masturbation is adultery. This is bad news for the 99% of men who partake in a little self love as well as the remaining 1% who simply lie about it. She dabbled in witchcraft. Witchcraft!
And as if that wasn’t enough, she only received her college degree this summer at the age of 40. This isn’t the story of woman who went back to get her diploma, though. No, the reason why she just got it now? She never got around to paying off her college tuition. This seems more than a little ironic from a Tea Party candidate who claims the mantle of “fiscal responsibility.”
The biggest difference between the NL West and Delaware, though, is that the baseball race is being fought by professionals but the political contest is straight up amateur hour. Why else would O’Donnell agree to go on a couple Sunday morning news shows and then pull out at the last minute? Look, I get it. She doesn’t want to pull a Palin and accidentally mention how she never reads a newspaper or that she can see Bermuda from her doorstep. But you’re running for the Senate! This is not a game. The laws passed in the Senate affect our lives for years.
So Mitch, I’ll be watching both races. And my money is on the heart-attack kids from Colorado. I just hope that any bets on the Delaware race are based on whether O’Donnell loses by more or less than twenty points.
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Guys, the season is starting in a few days and I still haven’t seen an
honest to god prediction out of you yet. What do you think? Is there
anyone who can keep the Yankees from repeating?
We haven’t made any predictions yet? Oh yeah, I guess predicting that the Detroit Tigers will suck this year isn’t really a prediction, it’s just a known fact. Considering that it is that time of year when everyone is making some sort of bold statement as to who is gonna win and who isn’t, I think you’re right, Lee. It is time for RSBS to jump into the prognostication pool (that sounds like something one would find in Vegas) and so we do as only we at RSBS (I, Jeff, not Al ‘cuz he’s a slacker) know how.
(subliminal messages start now)
Compared to its AL counterpart, this division isn’t quite the sexy beast it used to be. The team to beat is the Phillies; and while the Mets look to give a better effort than last year if healthy while the Braves and Marlins lurk behind with plenty of potential, I still don’t see how the Phillies can lose this division. Oh wait. Yes I can; his name is Brad Lidge.
Yet I think the Phils still win it. Ya can’t get much worse than Lidge was last year and they still won the league.
Come now, is there really any competition here? Yeah, sure the Brewers can bop with the best of them but have you seen their pitching staff? Exactly. The sCrUBS? Er…. no. The Astros? Stop playin’. The Pirates? The Pirates!?!? Ha! The only team in this division who might give the Cardinals a run is the Cincinnati Reds, and for that to happen Aroldis Chapman and Johnny Cueto have to both deliver the goods like seasoned professionals (they’re not) and Aaron Harang would have to keep his ERA under 10 (he won’t)… not to mention the fact that Dusty Baker would have to not destroy someone’s arm (he will).
Cardinals. No question.
Hmm. This is an interesting division. My heart says San Fransisco but my heart also says I should be able to drink a fifth of scotch and still be able to dance the merengue with some amount of poise. In other words, my heart is a goddamn liar. There are too many question marks in the Dodgers young pitching staff that I can’t put my money on them. So I turn towards the Rockies — a team with balance, a team with Tulo, a team with purple pinstripes.
San Francisco joins as the Wild Card.
Yankees, Red Sox, Yankees, Red Sox… bla bla bla. Not this year, folks. Yankees, Rays, Yankees, Rays… and Brian Matusz. The Yankees are the best in baseball. Hard to argue against that. The 2010 Red Sox are not the Red Sox we’re used to seeing. They made a major mistake by not bringing back Jason Bay and they’re gonna suffer for it. The Rays… this is the year for them. It’s now or never. And just for fun, let it be known that Brian Matusz of the Baltimore Orioles is one hell of a pitching phenom and a reason to tune into their games every once in a while.
Yankees win without even trying.
Rays take the Wild Card.
With so much money going towards roster scrubs and the recently anointed singles-machine, Magglio Ordonez, the Tigers of 2010 will look more like the Tigers of 2003. Okay, maybe not that bad, but still, they ain’t goin’ anywhere. The Twins will be in the race, but I suspect they will be playing a lot of doubleheaders this year due to that new open air stadium; and their team is still built for turf. I don’t see them catching the White Sox, who in my opinion have the best starting five of any other team in the Majors. If Peavy stays healthy and Floyd and Danks kick it up a notch, I don’t see how they could be beat. Keep your eye on Gordon Beckham too. He’s gonna be a superstar.
Like its National League version, this division causes me fits. The Rangers are right on the cusp of doing something great; but then I look at their pitching staff and see a bunch of crooked numbers on the board against them. The A’s? Uh… no offense, but if you rely on Kurt Suzuki to produce all your offense, I cannot take you seriously. The Mariners look like they should be much improved; but I’m not drinking that kool-aid yet ‘cuz as of now, they haven’t done jack. And how can I possibly bet against a proven winner, a team that gets it done year after year after year?
The Angels win the West. Why? ‘Cuz they do everything right.
And they have a rally monkey.
Now when you put all these pretty teams together, choosing one over the other is no easy task. They’re all
yummy winners. They’re all well-proportioned hot. They’re all doable talented.
So what is one to do?
Personally, I like to fantasize about a world where they’re all in the same room, having fun and going at it with uncompromising competitive bite. But understanding how unrealistic that is, I guess I have no choice but to choose one.
And again, my lying, cheating, pipe-dreaming heart tells me that the Cardinals are better than the Yankees. Yet, I’m smart enough to know that saying as much is not only unrealistic, it’s just plain fantasy.
Still, one can dream, right?
Hate me ‘cuz I get ya all flustered, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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(all images scraped from the interwebs)