Baseball is in the final week of the regular season and I can’t remember a recent season with less drama in almost every race. The only exception is the AL Central where the Tigers and Twins are currently starting a 4 game series with the Twins trailing the Tigers by 2 games. Why does no one outside of Minnesota or Michigan care about who wins? Part of the problem is the media’s intense focus on only things involving the Yankees, Red Sox or Dodgers – the 3 biggest baseball markets. The other problem is that whoever wins the division is going to be first round fodder for those Yankees.
What’s better? To be the Twins where every year you might barely squeak into the playoffs and then get bounced in the first round, or to be the Marlins where they build up a team capable of winning (and they have won), then blow the whole thing up, are terrible for a couple years and then reload. I’m not sure, because I’d like to be in the playoffs every year, but do you become immune to the excitement if you just continually get bounced in the first round? Kind of like a girlfriend that has classic good looks but may not be a super model/singer vs. the girl with the boob job and botox that’s going to need to be “retuned” every few years. I think I’ll take the consistency year over year. Think Tony Romo trading in Jessica Simpson for Natalie Smith.
This season, there have barely been any changes in playoff teams since the end of June. As of June 30, the AL playoff teams would have been: Boston, NY, LA Angels, and Detroit. As of today, those are the exact same teams, the only difference is now the Yankees won the division and the Red Sox are the wildcard. In the NL, it took an extra 3 weeks, but as of July 20, the playoff teams would have been: Philly, St. Louis, Dodgers, and Colorado. As of today, those are the exact teams in the exact places.
The positive from the fact that the last 2+ months of the season have been meaningless, is that it confirms that the best teams will be active in the playoffs. These teams have proven over the course of the season that they have the best teams in their divisions and, in theory, the playoffs should be very competitive. I’ll put together a more in-depth preview once the regular season is complete, but for now I’ll just say that I think 1-2-3 starting pitchers and a couple guys who can mash are the keys to success in the playoffs.
On a somewhat related, but different topic, I’m rooting really hard for the Rockies to fold in this past week and have the Braves or the Giants make the playoffs as the NL Wild Card. I’m not sure what I have against the Rockies – they swept the Phillies two years ago, which I thoroughly enjoyed – but I think it has something to do with the Purple Barney uniforms. Has a team wearing purple ever won a major championship?
NFL – Vikings -> Nope
NBA – Suns, Raptors (since dropped), Kings, Jazz, Bucks (since dropped) -> Nope
MLB – Rockies -> Nope
NHL – LA Kings -> Nope
The only real exception is the LA Lakers. Their purple and gold has won many championships, so maybe they break the rules about winning while looking like Barney.
I guess the only other exceptions I can think of are the Baltimore Ravens, but they are primarily black and white and use purple and gold as accent colors……maybe. And I guess you could make a case for the Arizona Diamondbacks, but since they’ve changed colors 3,217 times in the 11 years they’ve had a team, I’m not sure it counts.
So maybe that’s why I don’t want to see the Rockies in the playoffs. Either that or it’s the fact that games at Coors are never the classic pitching duels I like in the playoffs. Or I’d rather watch Lincecum or Tommy Hanson pitch than……….sorry, can’t think of a Rockies pitcher – Ubaldo Jimenez?