A Free Report.....In Jeopardy??
Sadly, major "so-called" news networks got a hold of these findings and published the report as their own expertise in sports journalism guru'ness. The questions all fans had on their minds for the second half of the season were answered, finally. All was right in the world of baseball, it was time to play....ball!
But, was the information correct?
Unfortunately, nut-clusters of fans drank the ESPY juice and believed every word of it. Strasburgh, the A.L West, the N.L Central, trade rumors, buyers and sellers, the Beckham/Cruise workout, it was all there. It was all taken as stone-hard, or cold, fact.
This was a mistake. Sorry, Coors.
The report was not completed and pertinent information was missing. The last, and most important page of the findings was unknowingly used a scratch-paper during an episode of Jeopardy. To Chucks embarrassment, and complete dismay, he thought the the real truth of the second-half would never be revealed to the baseball faithful, leaving a confusing void in the landscape of the MLB.
Lucky for Chuck, I was able to retrieve and decipher the last page. Below are the findings, from the findings, that fans thought were the findings, that were lost, then found.
Pay close attention, the page was covered in Jeopardy lingo.
- What is looking to the future and not a one-year fluke? - The biggest story to kick off the final stretch would have to be the "Strasburg Dilemma". If the Nationals hold true to their "innings-cap" on the talented pitcher, then Strasburg has only 60'ish innings left in the tank. That number can disappear quickly when a first-place lead is at stake, and arms are a necessity. So, will they keep to their word? The answer is yes. It won't be as if they are releasing or designating him for assignment. He will still be with the team, and likely, still be available for crunch time, if needed.- It is a calculated rest, not risk. The Nationals have a staff talented enough to carry the flag, sans young Stephen. In a league where winning now is expected, it is nice to see a team take the proper stand and say, " We don't care what the experts think, we will be here multiple times, not just this year. "
- What are Dempster, Greinke and Hamels? - July 31st is a few weeks away, but the MLB trade talks have gone from a low murmur to a loud noise, overnight. The three most intriguing trades, thus far, are all pitchers. Depending on "who's pretending" and "who's contending" these three quality arms may be the biggest prizes out there. The Cubs, sponsored by Dungeons and Dragons, never stop pretending, so Dempster will definitely get moved. To where? Maybe Los Angeles, where first place is not such a sure thing anymore, or Perhaps an American League surprise like Baltimore. The Cubs are willing to put on the dinner jacket and eat some of his salary, but the 14 million may keep some teams at bay. Regardless, he will be moved.
Cole Hamels is the tease of the trade talks. Post All-Star break, everyone and anyone is talking about this guy moving from Philly. But, where? And more so, why? The Phillies have been the bust of the season, so far, and maybe it is time for Manuel to rebuild, younger. Hamels is 28 and will fetch a ton of prospects if dangled out as trade bait. The Dodgers, and basically any team not in the N.L East would be on board to get him but, I would believe Hamels has enough power at this point to have a "say" in where he lands. Don't get purple in the cheeks holding your breath on this one. Chances are, if Philly wants to look smart, he will stay put.
Greinke is another big-name arm out on the talk circuit. He has been offered a deal with the Brewers, reportedly, but has not responded to the front office. If the Brewers decide they have no chance to catch up in the Central then Greinke will be the perfect piece to move in order to rebuild around Braun. However, this would be a mistake. The N.L Central is not a division locked into its' current standings. Any team, sans Houston and Chicago, can win the division, so dumping Greinke would be premature and silly. It's no secret, if he won't sign the new deal it's free-agency at seasons end, making it all-for-nothing if the Brew Crew don't make the playoffs this year. But, that is the risk taken. Baltimore, Atlanta, the Reds and the other New York team have kept their eyes open, but eventually they will get tired of looking and blink! The only way he gets traded is if the Brewers start the second half on a crazy losing-streak. Then, he will get shopped, along with Marcum.
- What are teams under pressure? - The Pirates, Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees and Angels. It is the story of the new, the newer, the old and the oldest. For different reasons, these five teams will be the most intriguing stories of the second half. Can the Pirates hold on? Will the Dodgers blow the lead to the hated Giants? Are the Red Sox finished? Are the Yankees, too old? What will Albert do? The answers come courtesy of the old slogan "That's why you play the game." My genie is on vacation in South Hampton so I can not predict what everyone wants to have predicted. Saddle up, pop a beer, and enjoy watching the games. It will be worth the time spent once October gets here.
- What are the World Series Champs? You don't win a golf tournament after the 2nd hole, and you don't predict champions of anything when the game cup is only half-full. Every sports show and blog is throwing out teams to "win it all", and 6,000 reasons why they will. Hit the brakes and put it in neutral, mmmkay? It's filler for programming, I know, but too much makes us all heavy in the waist section, and eventually we explode. Opinion overload is a mess that can really stain the carpet. I would say the Angels are the hot team in the American League, and the Giants look sharp in the National. Both stand a great chance to make the playoffs and, if they get hot then - what winning the series is really all about - it is possible for them to be crowned champions. But, I wouldn't take that to Vegas and bet the house on it, there isn't any more space on my couch.
What is the end?