Behind the Mic: All-Star Break!

It’s the mythical half-way point in the major league baseball season.  It’s hard to believe that the first games were played back on April 3.  I made my predictions for the season the very next day so just as it is time for each team to get their mid-term grades, I suppose I should see how I am doing with my season predictions.  I have listed the teams in the order I felt they would finish.  The number in parentheses indicates where each team currently stands in the division.

American League
West

  1. Houston (2) – Got off to a terrible start, but playing better now. Can they catch the Rangers?  Not with another slump in the second half.
  2. Texas Rangers (1) – I didn’t see them being one of the best teams in baseball – I was wrong – again!
  3. Seattle (3) – Offense has looked good; their pitching has not. They are right where they should be.
  4. LA Angels (5) – Veterans have not been good; playoffs seem out of the realm of possibility and most feel they have the worst farm system in baseball. Dare I say bleak future?
  5. Oakland (4) – Better than expected? Or are the Angels just worse?  Nothing they have done has worked out so far.

Central

  1. Kansas City (4) – My worst pick of the entire list of teams. Their starting pitching is just awful, as was my pick for them to win the pennant.
  2. Cleveland (1) They look like the best in the Central – good pitching and an improved offense. Cleveland wins the NBA and now, maybe the World Series?
  3. Chicago (3) – Really started the season well and then they fell apart going 15-19 in last 34 games. They will not contend.
  4. Detroit (2) – Most thought they would be better than I did. They were right, but this is a wide-open division.  I might end up being right.
  5. Minnesota (5) – A complete disaster.

East

  1. Toronto (3) – Still in the playoff hunt and they have the potential to be very good at the end of the season.
  2. Boston (2) – They score more runs than any other team and have the highest team batting average; starting pitching has been good. Could be in first by season’s end.
  3. New York Yankees (4) – Where have the real Yankees gone? They really were not expected to contend, but they are the Yankees (or are they?)
  4. Tampa Bay (5) – One of the worst records in baseball – they need the Joe Madden magic.
  5. Baltimore (1) – Obviously, I botched this pick. They hit the ball.  Starting pitching might falter, however, so I could still recover from this pick.

My pre-season prediction: Kansas City will win the American League pennant.
My Grade – F

National League
West

  1. San Francisco (1) – The Giants win in even-numbered years (what? – I read it somewhere); will battle the Cubs for supremacy.
  2. LA Dodgers (2) – They should make the playoffs, but I do not see them catching the Giants.
  3. Arizona (5) – They were expected to contend, but starting pitching is woeful.
  4. San Diego (4) – Will not contend; rebuilding after trying their best with deals last year.
  5. Colorado (3) – The Rockies are competitive, but not strong enough to challenge for West title.

Central

  1. Chicago (1) – Great start – 11-11 since, but they could break the championship drought. The All-Star break will probably help them.
  2. St Louis (2) – They will be in the playoffs, despite not winning much at home in the first half of the season. They will hope that Chicago swoons again.
  3. Pittsburgh (3) – The lack of pitching has hurt the Pirates this year. They are potentially still a very good team.
  4. Milwaukee (4) – This team is better, but they are in the toughest division and exceeding expectations.
  5. Cincinnati (5) – The Reds have done what they were expected to do – lose.

East

  1. NY Mets (2) – They struggle to score and Washington just is better. Should still make the playoffs.
  2. Washington (1) – Great starting pitching with enough offense makes the Nationals the East champion. No collapse this year.
  3. Miami (3) – The Marlins have really improved as demonstrated by their record. They probably will not make the post-season, but currently have a very successful year.
  4. Philadelphia (4) – Rebuilding and winning more. Neither is a bad thing.  Even though they are in fourth place, the future looks brighter every week.
  5. Atlanta (5) – They have lived up to their very low expectations. They will lose 100+ games.

My pre-season prediction: Chicago will beat the Mets for the N L pennant.
My Grade – A-
Overall Grade – C-

Cubs win it all!!  Only time will tell.

 
ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. Did you see where NFL.com listed Eagles’ coach Doug Pederson at the very bottom of their power rankings for coaches? That’s right – he was ranked #32 out of #32.  Nowhere to go but up!
  2. By the way, Bill Belichick ranked #1 and former Eagles’ coaches Andy Reed and Chip Kelly were #6 and #20, respectively.
  3. Golf rules played another major role this past weekend in the US Women’s Open championship. In a three-hole playoff, Anna Nordqvist brushed the sand on her backswing on the second hole and incurred a two-stroke penalty.  She was not told until the third hole.  Television replays clearly showed that she committed the violation.  To make matters worse, the USGA President repeatedly congratulated “Bethany Lang” for her win.  The winner was Brittany
  4. Since my last blog, notable sports icon Pat Summitt passed away. She may have been the best-ever as a women’s basketball coach.  Buddy Ryan also passed away.  There were very few similarities in their coaching style.
  5. The RCN Blue Mountain League crew had a nice reunion with the volunteer workers at Balliet Stadium in Coplay last week. They have done a wonderful job on the field and continue to work to improve the entire summer baseball experience.