Now the whole Barry Bonds lovefest is over, what do we do?
I don’t know if ESPN gave you the impression that the 2007 baseball season was all about Barry Bonds, but it certainly gave me it. I live in the UK, where you can only watch one or two games a day – and one of them – almost every day of the week – were the San Francisco Giants.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great watching Bonds intimidate pitchers. And whether he’s juiced or not, seeing a home run from the San Francisco leftfielder is pretty big thing to watch. But having to watch Ryan Klesko (who last hit .300 in 2002 and last hit over over 20 homers in 2003) day after day – twinned with the Giants bullpen and the non-stop Barry conversation, is really beginning to get to me.
Heck, I’m a Yankees fan and I even had to turn the sound off to ignore Michael Kay’s constant jawing about A-Rod and Number 500.1) Can the Yanks make the playoffs?
Looking dead going into the second half the season, the New York Yankees have been the form of their lives – and now the Red Sox’s lead in the AL East is down to just five games.
Not only that, but they are also battling Cleveland, Detroit and Seattle for a Wild Card too.
If the hitting keeps up its act, then the Yanks could be difficult to stop. Having said that, April could always come again and they’ll all get injured – like they did last time.
2) Will the Cubs win the (NL Central) pennant?
The Cubbies managed to tie up the NL Central lead and send the boys from Waveland out into the street in celebration. Since then, they have lost a game to the hated Brewers, who are hanging on to their lead.
The loss of Alfonso Soriano for 2-4 weeks with a torn quad won’t help them, but if Derek Lee keeps on hitting, then this battle’s going to wire.
We’d also like you to keep your eye out for the St Louis Cardinals, who are starting to pick up speed – even if Albert Pujols’ isn’t doing anything special.
3) Roids, Roids, Roids
Bud Selig had to forgo `Barry Time’ to meet Senator George Mitchell to discuss the whole steroid issue. Will the Senate take some action? What will Jason Giambi say? And what will Jose Canseco say in his new book?
Sadly, this whole steroid thing is NOT going to go away. So, sadly, we’ll just have to deal with it over and over again. Although it’s quickly becoming the oldest of old chestnuts, the papers and websites still love jabbering on about it.
4) It’s WILD out West (in both the AL and NL)
The AL and NL West divisions are looking better and better by the minute.
The NL West rollercoaster hasn’t let up all year – and it’s not about to now. Get this – four teams (Colorado, San Diego, Arizona, LA Dodgers) are within four games of each other, and they’ll be playing A LOT against each other at the end of August and in all of September. The Giants could well play their part as the spoiler. This race will be a cracker.
And in the AL, don’t bet against Seattle. Their hitting might not be flashy, but it’s effective- especially with Ichiro Suzuki still cracking out the hits. JJ Putz is an excellent closer, too. Anaheim, though, are in the driving seat – despite not picking up anyone at the trade deadline. With Scott Shields and Francisco Rodriguez, did they NEED to enhance their bullpen? Methinks not.
5) The race for the #1 pick in the 2008 MLB Draft
The Devil Rays (42-70) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (45-64) are battling it out manfully to see who can be the worst team in baseball. Considering Pittsburgh’s absurdely competent performances against their own division (25-26), it looks like Tampa Bay (11-21 against their AL East `rivals’) should win it. But you never know. Texas, who unloaded Mark Teixeira and Eric Gagne at the trade deadline, could well come through – they are only four games behind in the `race’ (40-64).