MLB Mid-Season Report 2015

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July 30, 2015 by NowhereButPop

by Khalid Bennett

Let me start off by going into my inner Jerry Seinfeld and say what’s the deal with the MLB All-Star break?  Considering baseball is “still” supposed to be America’s pasttime, MLB’s All-Star break should be one of the best times in sports, but that hasn’t been the case.  You have that crazy Home Run Derby, which is supposed to grasp fans with the best major leaguers of the game basically doing batting practice.  Now nobody wants to do it because of superstition with the fact that you’ll be weaker in the second half.  And then there’s the “it’s way too long” argument and the fact that it’s not all that memorable.  The last time the Home Run Derby was memorable was when Josh Hamilton hit baseballs so far at the Old Yankee Stadium that it could’ve hit the 4 Train right outside the stadium.  They did change the format of the Home Run Derby this year.  I didn’t watch it but based on what I’ve heard from sports radio hosts, it brought the event back.  And yet the Slam Dunk contest still gets more views.

What about the actually game?  It must mean something since it determines home-field advantage for the World Series.  I feel like that’s a load of crap though.  Does home-field advantage even mean anything in the postseason anymore?  Even the roster is bull.  I trust the fans picking the starters and all that, but they go too crazy with the rest of the roster.  A baseball team has a 25-man roster.  Why then do you need 33 people for an exhibition game?  It’s cool for players picking the reserves. The thing that I don’t like most about the All-Star game is that every team must have a representative.  So basically, your team can go 0-84 before the break and still have somebody from that team go to the game, no matter how much they suck.  It doesn’t make any sense.  I can understand the NFL because of multiple position.  But even the NBA doesn’t have All-Stars from every team.  The Golden State Warriors went 14 years without an All-Star, because they had some bad teams.  So the player selection needs to change.  I still watch the All-Star game every year but it hasn’t been memorable. Why right now, as I’m writing this, the only game I can remember is in 2002 when they tied it.

One thing is for sure, I’ll always excited for the All-Star break because when it’s over, baseball can resume.  MLB is the only sport that when it’s halfway through the season, NO LEAD IS SAFE!!  I haven’t watched much baseball because of my busy life, but I have paid attention to the standing and I am intrigued with who’s at the top and bottom of each division.  It’s pretty crazy, check it out.

AL East

All I heard from “baseball experts” (no offense to the real ones) was that this would be the weakest division, nobody knew who was going to win it.  People predicted that the Orioles would win it again this year, because they won the division last year.  People said the Rays because of their dominant young pitching.  People even gave the Blue Jays a chance because of all home runs they hit.  Nobody was giving the Yankees or Red Sox a chance however.  The Yankees main problem was their offense.  It’s already hard watching them without Derek Jeter there, but who was going to step up?  Nobody and I mean NOBODY expected A-Rod to perform as well as he has been.  But then again, what has he done that has been so amazing?  How the hell is he an All-Star snub with a .278 average, 18 HR, and 51 RBI? I mean those are nice numbers but he’s 4th in average and RBIs as a DH.  He has the most HRs but that’s to be expected at Yankee Stadium.  He’s in the middle of the pack in most offensive stats.  See, only A-Rod can get away with this…taking steroids for who knows how long, almost crucified by every Yankee fan, but all is forgiven because the Yankees are in first place?  Yeah he’s put up nice numbers but he’s not the main reason why the Yankees are in first place with a 7.5 game lead.  You could say it’s been Mark Teixeira and his text messages.  You could say the pitching has been better than expected.  You could say it’s just pure luck that the whole division isn’t that good.  To be honest, anybody has a chance to win this division; even those damn Red Sox.  I swear they are the only team to go from worst to first to worst, with the potential to go first.  Let’s just hope the Yankees stay on.  I can handle one or two years of playoff absence; I can’t accept three.

AL Central

The big question about this division was if the Royals were for real…and they really are for real.  They currently have the best record in the AL, they have the makings of a baseball team, and they may have a chance to go back to the World Series.  Is it the 1980s again?  Is George Brett back on the team?  But who would’ve thought the Minnesota Twins would be right there (4.5 games behind)?  I’m just more surprised by the Detroit Tigers.  I’m pretty sure they were like the top pick to at least go to the World Series…and I thought so too.  Verlander, Price, Sanchez should’ve been a 1-2-3 knockout punch with Cabrera and Cespedes providing most of the offense.  But they are just 49-52 with Cabrera out for another month.  Seems like the Royals will take this division easily.

AL West

It really must be the 1980s.  How the hell the Houston Astros are in first place?  Okay, they’ve come back to Earth recently and now have actually lost the lead to the Angels (0.5 games back).  I honestly thought it was a fluke.  I had kept checking the standings over and over to make sure that the Astros were in first place for most of the season. Apparently, they’ve been a product of sucking so bad and drafting good players, that they’ve developed their farm system and players really well.  But since they are young, eventually they would’ve been overtaken by the veteran Angels.  The Angels should runaway with the division.  My question though, is what the hell happened to Seattle and Oakland?  Oakland is on the path from first to worst.  They should’ve kept “MVP candidate” Josh Donaldson (like that would’ve made anything better).  Meanwhile, Seattle just can’t get a break.  Robinson Cano, just remember that this is what you left the Yankees for.  Don’t come crawling, begging, and crying back now.

NL East

This is suppose to be the Nationals year.  All baseball experts kept picking the Nationals to win it all.  It was probably because of their dominant pitiching with Scherzer and Gonzalez and Fister and Zimmermann.  It didn’t start out that way though.  Somehow, the Mets kept winning too.  It was definitely a fluke because they are now one game behind.  I just feel like the Nationals will rise as they get healthier, while the Mets will decline a little bit.  I honestly don’t know how the Mets will function without any semblance of a major league offense.  They definitely have the pitching but they’ve been hit with the injury bug.  Both Wright and d’Arnaud have been out.  Nobody has really stepped up for them.  You wanna talk about a weak division, this is it.

NL Central

This division will be a race to the finish. It’s possible that all three teams that are above .500 could win the division and can clinch both wild cards.  The Cardinals leading the division is to be expected.  The Pirates are second but only 4.5 games behind.  The Cubs 6 games above .500 is probably not expected.  Most baseball experts did say that the Cubs would have a much better year what with bringing up Kris Bryant, but being in the hunt for the wild card is at least one year ahead of schedule.  I would’ve thought they’d fall off already, but they are hanging in there.  Like I said, they do hold the second wild card spot and that spot might be a fight to the finish when it’s all said and done.  I’d take the Cardinals chances but don’t be surprised if Pittsburgh or even Chicago takes the division.  As for the Reds and Brewers, there’s always next year or maybe the next five.

NL West

Now this division did a lot of flip flopping this season.  At one point, the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks were at the top of the division.  Luckily, the universe is back to normal and the Dodgers and Giants are at the top now.  I’d just mainly focus on the Giants and Dodgers and ignore the rest of the division.  It’s funny though how “baseball experts” thought that the Padres were gonna win the division and go far. They haven’t been relevant since 1998. They haven’t won the division since 2006. They’re not gonna do much damage with such a spastic roster.  The Dodgers should win the division but look of for those pesky Giants.  Remember, it’s an odd year, so the Giants may not have the best chance to repeat.  But that’s what I said about the Spurs in 2014.

That’s pretty much it regarding to the first half of the MLB season.  Expect more craziness and division lead switching as the weather gets hotter (or cooler in some spots).

See you guys at Wild Card time, and even then I’ll probably have an issue with that.

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