It’s the middle of summer and most of us are sweltering in the heat, but the Boys of Summer keep going at it anyway.
Has anyone noticed?
Major League Baseball just held its annual All-Star game.
As usual the game showcased all of the game’s stars and most of the game’s stars that fans most wanted to see. The American League won the game 3-0 in a contest that most people, and especially sports and baseball experts, are calling boring and dull. I have a few words for those experts and commentators but won’t go into that here. I won’t go into all of that here because I do not have any respect for any of the baseball and sports experts as far as baseball, and Major League Baseball is concerned.
Major League Baseball has faded into the shadows in the sports world in this country for the past handful of years now. A good part of that is due to MLB’s marketing of its game, league and players. The other part of MLB’s slow demise in this country is due to the lack of coverage, discussion, promotion and upkeep by today’s sports media - that very same sports media that calls itself baseball and sports experts.
I have put together five reasons Major League Baseball should be gathering a lot more attention, coverage, discussion and excitement than it has this season. Read on and find out if you were even aware if this was all happening in this year’s MLB season:
5. Twenty-one of the league’s thirty teams are within ten games of leading their respective divisions.
21 out of 30. 70% of the league’s teams are within ten games of being in first place. This is a phenomenal percentage of teams well within distance to make a run at a division title.
4. Twenty-three of the league’s thirty teams are within ten games of a Wildcard.
23 out of 30. 77% of the league’s teams are within ten games of making the playoffs. This again is a tremendous percentage of teams well within distance of reaching a place in playoffs.
3. Division races are very competitive.
The AL East has four teams within seven games of first place. The fourth place team right now is the New York Yankees.
The AL Central has three teams within seven games of first place. The third place team right now is the Kansas City Royals. Right, the Royals.
The AL West has three teams within eight games of first place. Right now, the Oakland A’s and Texas Rangers are tied for first place. Right, tied.
The NL East has three teams with seven games of first place. Right now, both Philadelphia and Washington are sitting at exactly .500.
The NL Central has three teams within five games of first place. Right now, the Pittsburgh Pirates are in second place with a 56-38 record. Right, the Pirates.
The NL West has all five of it’s teams within 8.5 games of first place. Sadly, right now, only the Arizona Diamondbacks have a winning record.
2. The Pittsburgh Pirates are in position to earn their first winning season in 21 years.
The Pirates last winning season was in 1992.
1992 was the year the Atlanta Braves beat the Pirates in Game Seven of the National League Championship series: The Game Seven when the Braves’ Sid Bream chugged home all the way from second base with the winning run on Francisco Cabrera’s single in the bottom of the Ninth Inning with two outs. Bream scored the winning run just ahead of the throw form Pirate left-fielder and 1992 NL MVP, Barry Bonds.
It seems to have taken the Pittsburgh franchise over twenty years to recover from that series.
I have heard more talk about the resurgence of the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins than I have about the Pirates and NFL training camp is only almost going to begin. The Seahawks went the Super Bowl in 2006 while the Redskins have not been there since 1992 - the same year the Pirates last posted a positive winning percentage - 21 years ago.
1. Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera is the reigning AL MVP and last year’s Triple Crown winner - and he is on pace to have even a better year this season.
Last year Cabrera ended with a batting average of .330, 44 home runs and 139 RBI. This year, at the All-Star break - through 95 games the Tigers have played, Cabrera owns a batting average of .362, 30 home runs and 95 RBI.
As a side note, in Cabrera’s six years with Detroit he holds a .328 batting average, has averaged 35.5 home runs and 115.5 RBI each season.
Why Cabrera is not a superstar in the sports media and doesn’t have his face and/or jersey all over billboards and products is beyond me. Maybe if he played for the Yankees he would be talked about. I have heard more about LeBron James offseason than I have heard about Cabrera’s current season.
I would bet you have not been aware of any of these five things happening in Major League Baseball as of the All-Star Break.
If you are a baseball fan, you might have had some idea of some of the standings in some of the divisions but I doubt anyone has spoken about just how competitive the league is across the board and just how many teams are in contention for division titles, wildcard spots and the playoffs. If you are a casual fan I would bet you had no idea the baseball being played this year in the MLB is at all this competitive; you probably are only aware the Derek Jeter came back for the Yankees and is now on the Disabled List again. I bet none of you knew the current six division leaders consisted of both the Oakland A’s and the Arizona Diamondbacks. It’s a slow news days for our renown baseball experts when the Yankees find themselves in fourth place.
It is obvious from just the facts above that Major League Baseball is having an excellent season in 2013. It is not your fault or my fault we have not been aware of the great things going on in our nation’s pastime. The sports and baseball experts plainly do not report or talk about any of this, they do not fill the airwaves we listen to and watch with any of this. These same sports experts currently discuss NFL draft results, NFL 2013 schedules and outlooks along with NBA free agency and trades while choosing not to discuss Major League Baseball. They choose to discuss the topics they do because they say that you, the baseball fan and you the sports fan just are not interested in baseball - when in reality it is they themselves who are not interested in baseball.
This is a very blatant example of the media determining what media is important instead of doing what media is truly tasked to do and that is to simply report and cover the what is going in the world.
The question of whether or not if baseball game was played in the forest would anyone hear it can be answered as this: When no one in national sports media reports it, covers it or talks about it, it is just like the game never made a sound.
In their own small world the sports and baseball experts have worked to deny us the exposure and pleasure to what is a fine game that is having a very fine season.
Baseball fans, we have the ability to enjoy our favorite game without worrying about the proper care and promotion from the media at large.
Casual fans, you have the ability to enjoy a game that is as great, as skilled, as exciting and as competitive as it always has been without looking to the media powers that be to tell you so.
Now let’s all go chop down one of those trees in that forest and form a baseball bat from that good wood and play two in the back yard like all of us did during the summer when we were kids. Nobody from the media was there to cover us then, anyway….
(Note: This was written over the 2013 All-Star Break. All standings and statistics mentioned are to be understood as of that particular point in the MLB season.)
Stats provided by MLB.com
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