A hard rain is going to fall ….
Sunday 1st September and baseball will enter the final month of the regular season with two divisional races set , in terms a winner . It would be pretty safe to say, that barring a major catastrophe both the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers look to be certain winners of their respective divisions . For the reigning World Series champions the San Francisco Giants , this has been a lamentable season , where nothing seems to have gone right for Bruce Bochy , his staff and the team . Injuries , inconsistent play from many of team`s top players took its toll on so many of the stars , that it could very well lead to some tough decisions being made in the off-season by GM Brian Sabean .
For Don Mattingly`s Dodgers , this was a team that I felt would be left for dead a little over six weeks ago . Yet quite the opposite happened , with the Los Angeles putting together an astonishing run , where Los Angeles rolled off forty-two wins out of a possible fifty game stretch , to put themselves back in the hunt for the NL West title . Mattingly could very well come away with this season`s NL Manager of the Year award , if the adjudicators have any common sense . At the same time, the inspiration for this remarkable stretch run , all came down to the call up of Dodgers` outfield sensation Yasiel Puig .
At present the team with the best record in baseball, is by no means a clear indication that they are the best team currently playing . Yet a case, can be made that the two best ball-clubs now reside in the National League .. And beyond all of the ongoing controversy surrounding both Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez , baseball has repeatedly shot itself in the foot, and still carries on , as if nothing had ever happened . Never-mind the utter conceit shown for the fans by the game`s hierarchy and team owners . With Bud Selig continuing to remain the very public face of the game , with a number of rather inane and idiotic edicts , it should come as no wonder why many still remain distrustful of the league hierarchy and its overall leadership.
The AL East, long believed to be the standard-bearer for some of the best baseball to be played, has this season become a complete paradigm , with the painstaking mediocrity shown by John Gibbons` … Toronto Blue Jays and the continued perils of Perils of Pauline as portrayed by the New York Yankees , with the continued excuses being made for that team`s woeful ineptitude, alongside Alex Rodriguez`s effusiveness and his wish to be seen as a victim, even in light of the continued evidence showing him to be an habitual liar and a cheat. Within this particular division, for much of this season it has been left to the Baltimore Orioles , Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays to provide the fans with a great deal of the entertainment to found . Yet, bearing in mind, as to what I believe to be a tarnished season within baseball, where there have been very few positives either on or off the field. The fans can only take what is now said to be on offer by the teams within the game, and as things now stand, it is not that great a deal .
The New York Yankees will host the Baltimore Orioles for a weekend series , in which Joe Girardi`s players will be looking to make up ground on the third placed Orioles , who themselves are vying for one of the two AL wildcard berths available for postseason play. Buck Showalter , is sure to have his players prepared for what is likely to be a highly contested series over the next three days. The first of the triumvirate of games will begin on Friday , with the Orioles` Miguel Gonzalez taking the mound against Yankees` starting ace CC Sabathia . AL East division leaders the Boston Red Sox will host the laboring Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park , with Robin Ventura`s players somehow looking to derail the Red Sox`s divisional hopes and what in essence has been a memorable inaugural season for the team’s manager John Farrell. His managerial acumen, has somehow managed to steady the ship with the team`s veterans and younger players buying into Farrell’s managerial style after the disaster witnessed last year under Bobby Valentine. The second-placed Tampa Bay Rays within the AL East , has for much of the season remained in close proximity of the division’s leaders , themselves having held the lead before a momentary lapse, led to their falling from the top of the division. Rays’ manager Joe Maddon would like nothing better than to lead the ball-club to their second divisional title in the franchise’s history , with GM Andrew Friedman having to operate on a somewhat meager budget , as he seeks to make the team competitive .
Tampa currently sits, 2 ½ games adrift of the Boston Red Sox (79-56) and only a half game ahead of their weekend opponents the Oakland Athletics in the wildcard standings. These two teams will meet , knowing that there is a great deal on the line for both ball-clubs , as each vies for a playoff berth. David Price will meet Jarrod Parker at the O Coliseum , in the first of three games to be played at the venerable venue in this series .
With a 6 ½ game lead over their nearest rivals in the AL Central, the Detroit Tigers are hoping to make up for a very poor 2012 foray in the postseason . Jim Leyland will once again seek redemption , by taking the division and then look to meet, whomever their first round opponents may well be . GM Dave Dombrowski has gathered together a team that should be good enough to win the AL pennant , but herein lies the caveat , the Tigers in their present guise know how to win in the regular season but the postseason in recent years has been their Achilles’ heal . The Tigers will play host to the Cleveland Indians in and what should prove to be a very interesting series , with Zach McAllister on the mound for the Indians against Rick Porcello of the Tigers.
Last season’s AL MVP Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers and baseball’s most recent Triple Crown winner looks on course to repeat as MVP. Granted , the seasonal home run crown is beyond his reach , with the Orioles’ Chris Davis leading the MLB (league) and AL with forty-seven home runs to his name. If Detroit is to have any real success this postseason , then it will certainly not just come down to the competency of the offense , but also the tenacity shown by the pitching staff led by Justin Verlander , Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello .
I will give credit , where it is due ! And granted, there have been very few positives to come out of this season , beyond the play of a number of very good rookies . Yet in the midst of this baseball season , how can we continue to overlook the poor play and bad teams that still exist within the game ? New York Mets’ fans are probably now hoping that 2014 will be a great deal brighter than a lamentable 2013 season , where the ball-club’s brightest hope rests squarely on the shoulders of their pitcher Matt Harvey . Shuttered for the remainder of the season , because of an arm injury , there was not much that one can really say, was inspiring about the team’s play , beyond Harvey , himself. As to the idiocy of their fans that the team will be competitive next season . That would be like suggesting that after Miley Cyrus’ performance at the VMA’s , we can now seriously take her as a talented individual . Anyone who witnessed Cyrus’ somewhat titillating act , will know that beneath the surface, there lies a very untalented individual and yes , the same can be said of the New York Mets.
Given the recent lack of progression of this Mets’ organization on the field of play , even with the alleged front office talents of Sandy Alderson and JP Ricciardi . The real issue with this ball-club , has been the very fact that they hog-tied themselves with some burdensome contracts that are tied to several players who are close to or essentially past their prime or in some cases are no longer with the organization.
As baseball seeks to find its champion for this year , I must admit that overall, this has to be looked upon as a season of disappointment and one wherein, once again, all of the main parties concerned have let another golden opportunity slip from within its grasp to clean up its image . Instead, fans are looking at an issue of instant replay being adopted for 2014 as a positive for the game , without ever acknowledging baseball still remains in a quagmire of deceit , , lies and delusions of self-importance. There seems to be no indignation from the union (MLBPA) as to the dishonor brought to the game by the continued cheating by the players , and not one prominent team owner has stepped into the fray to question how Bud Selig and the league hierarchy have dealt with the issue. Needless to say, things are likely to remain the same, because baseball`s commissioner, is simply averse to any real change , unless it is a change that would begin to show him in some form of a positive light . As commissioner , he chooses not to tackle the issue of the financial imbalances within his sport, while denigrating certain owners as being unimaginative and lackluster. Unfortunately, Bud Selig has never really taken the time to question his own actions in all of this and his own failings as being someone, who has not led with authority .
Picture gallery .
The future of baseball on the face of it, does not appear bleak , but if the truth be told, its future is not as bright as some might believe it to be , even with the ascent of a number of young players coming to the fore. Leave a comment on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter and thanks as always for the continued support of this site.
Picture and slideshow details below
(1) Miami Marlins third baseman Placido Polanco (30) leaps above third base to catch a throw from catcher Jeff Mathis as Atlanta Braves Freddie Freeman (5) slides safely beneath him after a wild pitch during the fourth inning of a baseball game at Turner Field in Atlanta on Aug. 30, 2013. John Amis / AP Photo ….
(2) Adrian Gonzalez (23) of the Los Angeles Dodgers is congratulated by Yasiel Puig (66 )after hitting a two-run home run against the San Diego Padres in the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium on August 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Jeff Gross /Getty Images North America ….
(3) San Francisco Giants` GM Brian Sabean , who this off-season will have a number of issues to deal with , concerning this Giants` team , their lack of consistency and productivity in 2012 , as well the impending free agency status of a number of players on the roster . AP Photo / Mark Perry ….
(4) Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, center talks with Jose Molina (28) and James Loney (21) in a baseball game against the Houston Astros Tuesday, July 2, 2013, in Houston. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan …
(5) The Detroit Tigers` Torii Hunter (48) is seen here alongside teammate Miguel Cabrera in a game played at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan, against the Oakland A`s on Wednesday , 28th August 2013 . AP Photo /Paul Sancya ………..
(6) MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred , left, is Bud Selig’s right-hand man, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll become baseball’s next commissioner. Selig continues to try and put out fires or the continued embers from past flare ups that he thought resolved . Due to step down in 2014 , there is no clear linear successor to the present MLB Commissioner and with their being calls for an outsider to succeed Selig , it seems unlikely that the hierarchy and team owners are willing to heed those calls at all . Getty Images / Rich Carmichael …….
MLB team salaries
This day in MLB history
Jeny Romero . Comes courtesy of King Magazine