As the Dog Days of summer roll along, something that leaves many football fans yearning for what appears to in fact have become America’s pastime over the last couple of decades (the NFL), the races across Major League Baseball (MLB) are both interesting and dull. Hmm, can that happen at the same time?
While only one of the divisions appears to be an outright runaway around the middle of August (Cubs have been leading the National League Central for much of the season), others are relatively tight, with some being just a couple of games apart between first and second place.
So, starting with the interesting news that one can find on a cool sports fan blog, it turns out you can be bad one season and be pretty darn good the next in most professional sports. Then again, the reverse is turning out to be true too.
The San Francisco Giants, winners of the World Series three times in recent memory (2010, 2012, and 2014) are once again in the hunt in the N.L. playoff race, this after a horrid 2015 campaign.
Battling the arch-rival Los Angeles Dodgers for much of the season, San Francisco could be on course to capture yet another title this season, one that would continue its string of even year championships.
As for the N.L. East, pre-season favorite Washington shows no signs of letting up, having a comfortable (yet not decisive) lead over its closest competitors.
The exciting news over in the American League is that all three divisions appear to be up for grabs, especially in the A.L. East
As of mid-August in the East, less than three games separated the top three teams.
So, with five-of-six races relatively close, aging Miami outfielder Ichiro Suzuki reaching the 3,000-hit plateau, Boston great David Ortiz closing out his final season of ball, not to mention the Cleveland Indians having a legitimate shot at bring the city its second major sports title in the last 52 years (Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA Title), all appears well in MLB.
As for the Strikeouts
Okay, someone had to drop the bad news at some point and time, yes?
Despite all that good news, there is some gloom and doom hovering around MLB, though this year is certainly not the first time that has ever happened.
Disgraced homerun slugger Alex Rodriguez announced recently that he would not finish out the season, stating he was retiring before the middle of August even arrived.
Once a bright young star with the Seattle Mariners; Rodriguez has spent the latter part of his career on Broadway (since 2004) with the hated New York Yankees.
Making Rodriguez even more infamous has been his ties to steroids.
As he closed in on trying to reach 700 career home runs before his sudden retirement, A-Rod wasn’t exactly receiving a ton of love from most fans around the game.
Meantime, to the surprise of a fair amount of people on and off the field, A-Rod’s Yankees were trading players left and right after the All-Star break, looking to shed some salaries and stock up on young talent.
Even though the Yankees are far from being mathematically eliminated in the A.L. East race, it appears they have slowly put up the white flag, indicating to others around the league that they are not going all in on winning the division pennant.
Despite the moves in the Big Apple, nowhere near is it more apparent that a fire sale is going on than in San Diego.
Host of the 2016 All-Star Game, the Padres have had to basically rework their lineup cards for several weeks now, players coming and going like the surf does in America’s Finest City.
After making some big off-season moves prior to the 2015 season (moves that did not pan out), San Diego was a little quieter coming into this season. As it turns out, the club could very well end up with a worse record than last season before all is said and done.
For many season ticket holders in San Diego, they’re left scratching their heads and wondering what happened to their hard earned money.
So, races in most of the divisions, a class act such as Suzuki reaching a major milestone, and even Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza entering the MLB Hall of Fame in Cooperstown this summer.
Overall, not the worst of seasons around American ballparks.
But if by chance this season has not been your cup of tea, keep in mind that the college football season is literally just a couple of weeks away from starting.
When it does, only the diehards of MLB will likely be watching baseball that is as football continues its rise in popularity nationwide on both the pro and collegiate ranks.