Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Power Play: All-Star Break Update

Back in March, I started a bet with Johnny Sacks over at Living With Balls as to the outcome of the 2011 Major League Baseball season. It began as a relatively harmless lark, but then I realized that the loser has to keep their most hated team's logo on their blog for a whole month. I'm a Mets fan and he's a Yankees fan, so this is sure to be a very painful lesson in dignity.

Here's how the points system works, to be determined at the end of the season:

1 point for each division/wild card winner
1 point for each Rookie of the Year
1 point for each most/least improved
2 points for each League Division series
3 points for each League Championship series
5 points for the World Series winner

You can get a good look at each of our picks here.

Now that the All-Star Game is over (BTW, KICK-ASS, NATIONAL LEAGUE! Here's me doing my happy dance. Pretend you didn't see that) and the season is half underway, I decided to revisit our choices and give you guys a heads-up on who's going to be forced to put the Mets insignia on his blog (HAHA!). Of course there's no final verdict on all the categories, since the season is only partially over, but here's how we're both doing so far:



We both chose the Boston Red Sox.

They have a fucking NASTY roster with a sick rotation and a healthy line-up, and although we both chose them to go to the World Series this year (against my most hated adversaries, the Stupid Phillies), Sacks actually predicted a win.


Looks like we were right on the mark. The Sox are currently first in the AL East, with a 55-35 record, sitting a game above the Yankees. They currently have a six-game winning streak and their next match is at Tampa, who hold the third-place spot in the division.


SACKS: Minnesota Twins

Due to an excellent management system and a new stadium, which led to a bigger payroll, Sacks went with the Twins. While this is a substantial choice, the AL Central is usually a pretty tight race between Minnesota, Detroit and Chicago, so we'll see where this goes. Joe Nathan and Justin Morneau were injured last season, but were expected to come back this year at the head of their game.

NUGS: Detroit Tigers

Choosing the leader of the AL Central is always a toss-up for me, but this year I decided to pick Detroit. Jim Leyland has proven to be one of the top managers in the business, and now, with one final year on his contract, he made some key signings in the off-season with the additions of Victor Martinez and Joaquin Benoit. He also made the outstanding decision to keep top performers Magglio Ordonez, Brandon Inge and Jhonny Peralta.



Not only are the Tigers in the top spot, but they're seriously dominating over Minnesota.

Detroit currently holds a 49-43 record, with the Indians (seriously???) half a game back in the number two position. Their next game is at home against the White Sox, who were ALMOST my pick this year.

The Twins have next to no shot at a title this year, with a 41-48 record. They're not exactly chasing the Tigers, as they're 6.5 games out of the race. Yeah, good luck with that.


Due to their American League pennant in 2010, Sacks and I both went for the Texas Rangers

None of the other teams in this division did anything in the off-season to make us believe they even wanted to put up a fight, and the Rangers' solid pitching is still a powerhouse, even with Cliff Lee eventually going to the Phillies (gross- more on them later).


This was easy to predict- Texas' 51-41 record has put them atop the AL West, one game ahead of the Angels. Their seven-game winning streak is currently the highest in Major League Baseball, and their next game is an away against Seattle, who is 7.5 games out of first place. 


Sick minds think alike- both Sacks and I picked the Yankees.

Come on, it's the Yankees. They're the Hugh Hefner of professional sports. Instead of trying to fix whatever glitches might come their way, they just go out and buy some more 19-year-olds.

Besides, if they're having a shitty year, they'll just pay someone to get them into the playoffs.


Please. Like you guys had to ask. 

Currently a game behind the Sox with a record of 53-35, the Yankees are clinging to that Wild Card spot. Their next game is an away against Toronto, who's 10 games behind them. So, yeah.


Unfortunately for me, this one was probably the most apparent, and also the most painful, in all of Major League Baseball. Sacks and I both predicted that the Stupid Phillies would not only take the division, but also win the National League pennant. In my case, I'm also disgusted by the fact that they'll probably win everything. Douchebags.

When Sacks emailed me his choices months ago he did express sympathy for both of us by stating that we each went with our most hated teams as the World Series winners. This will most likely be our consolation prize when whoever loses has to put either the Mets or Yankees logo on their site. 

The Phillies' lineup is ridiculous, and their rotation is most likely considered illegal in 37 states. This is why I loathe them with the speed and passion of a thousand fastballs to the crotch. When the pitcher you're the most concerned about is Joe Blanton, who was still basically unstoppable until he was recently placed on the 15-day DL, all the other teams in your division should probably just go home. 

I hate you, Stupid Phillies. Every year you make me miserable and depressed.


I really didn't want to check on this, because I knew it would break my heart. I figured that the Phillies would be in first place, by like, a lot, and I also realized that by checking the standings for the NL East, I would also see how shitty the Mets were doing (read: everyone close to me is hiding the Drano).

Not only are the 57-34 Stupid Phillies 3.5 games ahead of the second place Braves, but none of the other teams in the NL East even have a prayer. They all suck ferociously, but at least my beloved Mets are in third place. I'll ignore the fact that they have 7.5 games to go before they even catch up to Atlanta (they won't). It also really doesn't help that the Phillies play their next game against the Mets. It's at ShittyField, but let's be honest; that doesn't make a difference. 

At least the Marlins are terrible this year. Sorry, Lor. #butnotreally.


SACKS: Milwaukee Brewers

I almost went with Milwaukee, but I wasn't positive that this was their year. Sacks made a logical decision based on the Brewers' addition of ace Zack Greinke and a lineup that includes Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun.

NUGS: Cincinnati Reds

The Reds seemingly came out of nowhere with an outstanding young offense and amazing growth potential. Scott Rolen is one of the best third basemen in baseball if he's not injured, and the Cardinals were no longer the threat they used to be. It was a tough call between them and Milwaukee, but I had to go with the Reds based on 2010's accomplishments.


This one is close. The Brewers are currently in first place; however they're tied with the St. Louis Cardinals with a 49-43 record. The Reds are currently in third place with a record of 45-47. Sacks is in the lead here, but I could easily topple this one. The season's only half over!

BTW, their next games are against each other, in Cincinnati. So we'll see who prevails.


Due to their status as World Series Winners, Sacks and I both got creative and picked the San Francisco Giants

Not only are they the reigning MLB champs, but their rotation is nausea-inducing (Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner's pitching is ridiculous) and their lineup isn't shabby either. 


Like anyone had any doubt? The Arizona Diamondbacks are the only NL West team that even come close to going after the Giants, sitting three games behind their 52-40 record. Their next game is against the last-place Padres, who are 12 games out. It's in San Diego; like that matters.


SACKS: Colorado Rockies

Sacks chose the Rockies for the coveted Wild Card slot based on their off-season acquisition of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, not to mention the monster arm of Ubaldo Jimenez. The Rockies have been showing major improvements since their slump and were expected to shake up the NL West.

NUGS: Milwaukee Brewers

I chose the Brewers based on the difficult choice I had to make between this team and the Reds for the top spot in the NL Central. I figured whichever team didn't lead that division would be the Wild Card in the National League. This division is in an incredibly close race for first place every year.

The Brewers have the distinction of being one of the only teams in baseball where hitting trumps pitching.  While they did shell out for ace Zack Greinke, Milwaukee can also boast a lineup of Prince Fielder, who is absolutely proof of genetics, Corey Hart and Ryan Braun.

Their next game, coincidentally, is at home vs. Colorado. This should be interesting.


Neither one of us got this one, actually- the NL Wild Card, so far, is the Atlanta Braves.

Great- I hate them, too. Not as much as the Stupid Phillies, of course, but I still reserve a shelf of resentment for them in my heart.

However, when tallying up the results, let it be noted that the Brewers are five games ahead of the Rockies and therefore closer to the Wild Card slot. So again, the victory goes to me. Cue Nelson Muntz laugh.


Of course, this is subject to change in November, after the World Series is over and the MVP's are announced. The rest of the categories- and your winner and loser- will all be determined after the season is done. I just wanted to give you guys a clear update on the fact that so far, victory is mine.

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