So after going to the last 2 Brewers games (a 9-4 defeat and 8-4 victory) against the Phillies, I figured there could be no better time for a little update on America’s past time. Before turning our eyes, as we inevitably will, to the playoff teams, lets take a look at the bottom dwellers. The Cleveland Indians had lost 11 straight games up until tonight when they did the unthinkable and beat Baltimore. As a lifelong Indians fan, I am not sure what to think about this. On one hand, it gets my team covered on SportsCenter, but on the other hand, that is really, really embarassing. The San Diego Padres have climbed out of the cellar in the NL West and exceeded the expectations of co-writer Ross by winning more than 60 games this year. The Pittsburgh Pirates continue to be the Pirates even though Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutchen have been tearing it up.
This next piece of news is a little bit shocking and extremely weird. It is not often that a college kid gets to break news about a MLB player, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut. Garrett Jones is fortunate enough to be dating the ex-girlfriend of a friend of mine, who is 19. The nine year differential between the 28 year old Jones and the 19 year old girl is a bit concerning when you consider that the same margin means Justin Upton could date a 12 year old. Justin Upton is not dating a 12 year old, however Garrett Jones is dating a 19 year old. Just thought I would mention that, because though Garrett Jones has been having a dirty year at the plate (.301 BA, 20HR, 40RBI, 39R, 9SB in only 72 games), it should be noted that maybe his numbers are not the only dirty things.
In case you missed it, my MLB Playoff Preview can be found here.
Atlanta and Florida have made respectable runs for the playoffs, but it looks like they will fall short meaning the only contender left out of the MLB Playoff preview was the Minnesota Twins. With Mauer Power going full force and Gardenhire’s boys charging hard late again there is a chance they will catch and pass the Detroit Tigers depending on how each team plays in a crucial series this week. With Justin Morneau out, it is highly unlikely that the Twins will make a splash in the playoffs even if they catch the Tigers, which I doubt they will. The Tigers are a potential threat to any team they face with their offense and potentially potent one-two punch of Verlander and Jackson. The only problem is that Jackson has been rumored to be tipping his pitches and has struggled mightily with all non-Cleveland teams lately. If those two can pull it together, the Tigers have the bite to take down any team. Personally, I wouldn’t bet on it, but it could happen.
As a fan of a small-market team in the Cleveland Indians, I feel obligated to bring the following topic up.
Even though the Twins are an AL Central rival of my team, I find myself rooting for the Twins. It is not about allegiance, but because any time a team like the Twins does well, it inspires small-market fans everywhere. Look at Minnesota’s payroll (67 million) compared to the other playoff contenders in the AL. New York, 208.1 mill; Boston, 122.4; Detroit, 119.1; and Los Angeles (Angels), 119. How can’t a fan of a small-market team take some serious hope from that? Payroll discrepancy continues to be a serious hurdle for many MLB teams, but as long as the revenue is good, MLB has little incentive to do anything about it. Maybe I’m bitter about my Indians having to trade Cy Young winners CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee in sucessive years because we could not pay them, but even with that aside payroll is a serious blockade to a small market team making a prolonged run at a championship. It happens sometimes, like with the Rays last year, but more often than not, the small market team does well, then its players cash in on the successes, but that means leaving for the big money teams. The players should too, they should always do what is best for them and for now, that means traveling to the big market teams. You hear every MLB player say it when being traded, “It is a business”. It is a business, it is just a shame that sometimes, business gets in the way of competition.
Ok, I am off my soap box now.
Let’s avoid ending on this sour note with a little comedy.
I was going to ask who was in a better position to win in 2014, the Padres or the Indians, but comedy and insanity are two completely separate things. I think both these teams have potential to be outstanding in the future, but do you really want to read about the Padres and Indians farm systems? I will write it if you will read it, but before I sink that much time into it, I figured I would get a heat check.
Regardless, you probably got a laugh out of that notion, so mission accomplished. I hope you are looking forward to this October as much as I am. The NBA might be where “Amazing Happens”, but October is when things happen you will remember for the rest of your life. The gimpy Kirk Gibson homering off “Eck” in Game 1, Mazeroski’s Shot Heard ‘Round the World, Larsen”s perfect game, Reggie becoming Mr. October, the Red Sox coming back down 3-0, and the list goes on. Hope springs eternal in April, and the dog days of June can drive us mad, but it is all for naught if it doesn’t happen in October. Legends, names and eternal fame are made when the calendar turns from September. Leaves change color, the weak run for cover and all that is left is finding a World Series Champion. Buckle your seat belts and just hopethat this October is exactly like every one before it: breathtaking, majestic, and full of baseball.