As a diehard basketball and football fan, I generally consider the time between the last pick of the NBA Draft and the first Saturday afternoon kickoff as the dead season of sports. But I’m trying a glass half-full approach this year. The Summer Olympics will take up a good chunk of sports time in August, so that helps.
In the mean time, I’m going to do my best to pretend I’m more than a casual baseball fan. The Midsummer Classic is just around the corner. The best part of baseball’s all-star break is the Home Run Derby. That’s an event worth watching.
And I have to be honest. As much as I love to give baseball a hard time, there are some storylines worth following in the Major Leagues this year. Here’s what I’m watching the rest of the way.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates look to avoid making history. On the verge of tying a record with their 16th straight losing season, the Pirates currently sit at 39-44. Maybe they should bring back a player from their last division-winning team to help them fight for .500. Barry Bonds, anyone? Tell me that move wouldn’t fill some seats in Pittsburgh.
- The best records in the American League belong to the Tampa Bay (Team Formerly Known as “Devil”) Rays and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. What a heavenly ALCS pairing that would be (and not just because they’re not the Yankees and/or Red Sox).
- In the National League, no one’s playing better than the Chicago Cubs. I’d love a World Series pairing where scores of lifelong suffering Cubs fans squared off against the one and only (insufferable?) Rays fan known to man, Dick Vitale.
- Atlanta Braves third basemen Chipper Jones is batting a whopping .393 this season. Everyone will be following his chase for .400, but I’m more interested in how he’s kept the Fountain of Youth a secret. It seems like he’s been playing forever.
- My team, the Oakland A’s are in contention again this year. Their crop of young pitchers have a 3.41 team ERA, second only to that of the Chicago White Sox.
- The Yankees are in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since the strike in 1994. They trail both Tampa Bay and Boston in the division.
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