Sunday, June 25, 2006

No Help From The Senior Citizen Circuit And Weather

If you need any more proof that the Junior Circuit is the superior league this year, just look what's happening in Detroit, Chicago and Boston this past weekend. The best of the AL is beating the best of the NL in every conceivable way. You want a blowout? No problem. Late inning heroics? We got that, too.

Only the Mets are making a respectable show of it against very underrated Blue Jays (they won the rubber match in Toronto 7-4). And when you consider that they're an AL team in disguise (Deep lineup, deep bullpen), you understand why they're the only NL team that I can see making noise in October. This is becoming as bad as it was in football in the mid-eighties to the late nineties, when NFC Championship became the De-facto Super Bowl because whoever represented the AFC was an afterthought.

If I had my own power rankings right now, here's how I would rank the best teams.

1)White Sox
3)Tigers (I need to see a little more from them vs the top AL Teams)
4)Red Sox
6)Blue Jays

Noone in the NL West is even worth mentioning right now. I don't think the Giants have enough depth or pitching, Arizona is better, but they're not ready for the prime-time. San Diego can pitch but they can't hit enough to make noise in October. The Dodgers are intriguing, but they have too many injury-prone players for me to take them seriously just yet.

You'd think that this would make me, an AL fan, happy with this Junior Circuit renaissance. On the contrary...I love parity. Parity means that the Red Sox don't go on an eight game winning streak and not only take over first place from the Yankees....but gain a two and a half game lead. It means that the White Sox and Tigers don't pummel Cardinals for five straight wins and they don't add to their seed leads for playoff homefield.

Interleague parity is a good thing when it comes to pennant races. In the past, you figure that the style of play and strategy might trip up a couple of AL teams. Even if they're playing a slightly inferior NL team. Maybe someone will forget to double switch or a pitcher will fail to sac bunt runners to second and third. Gaffs like that used to mean a couple of wins for the senior circuit every year.

Now with free agency and a decade of interleague play under their belts, junior circuit teams are much more comfortable playing both ways (Although it's a little misleading to say that solid pitching/defense, hit and run, base stealing are national league styles of play. Rickey Henderson stole 130 bases in 1982 under Billy Martin. A manager who played and managed mostly in the American League. Ty Cobb stole over 900 bases with the Tigers. The Yankees of the early 50's couldn't match the star-studded Dodgers. They beat them with superior pitching and a platoon system. Styles of play aren't exclusive to leagues.) So when you take into account that the best teams are in the AL....You realize now the beatdowns you've been seeing are not by chance or coincidence.

You know it's bad when even unapologetic NL guys/AL haters like Joe Buck acknowledge on the air that the AL is the better league. And when they're acknowledging that it's more than just the DH rule that's leading to this, you know you're on to something.

So what does that mean for the Yankees. Nothing good. It means that it's going to be that much harder to make the playoffs, much less the World Series. Don't be surprised if only one team out of the AL East makes the playoffs this year. There's a chance that Detroit or Chicago could come back to earth. But I doubt it with their pitching. And don't discount Minnesota making a run either for the wildcard. The Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays are all very talented, very flawed teams that can be had if the right opponent comes along at the right time.

So when the Yankees get a gem like Moose's today against Dontrelle, it's nothing to take for granted. From here on in, every win counts. If we're able to complete the sweep the Marlins today, enjoy it like we've just swept the Jays or the Tigers. We gain a game in the standing with the Sox-Phillies rainout. And these wins in June will go along in deciding who's still standing in October.

So for me to say that the Braves series to say nothing of the Subway Series at the Stadium next weekend are huge. Beating the Mets two out of three is one thing, but we can't afford to even lose one game to the Braves. They're reeling and the Yankees have to take advantage of it.

You know the Two Sox and Tiggers would.


Blogger Metstradamus said...

The decision to make your doubleheader a split gate, day/night doubleheader was very weak. In the effort of making a few more bucks with the extra gate (I know, all of yesterday's ticket holders got to show up today and also exchange it for a ticket for a game next year), they not only created a split game on ESPN (weak), but ensured that a crowd of 2,000 would show up to the night game...instead of just letting the larger day crowd stay and create a slightly more hectic environment for Anabel Sanchez, who is leaving the game right now not having given anything up to the Yankees. Whoever made this decision did not do your Yankees any favors, whether it was the Yankees themselves or whether it was ESPN or MLB or what have you.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Darth Marc said...

I agree....five would have been much better....the crowd that goes to a Saturday Old Timers day is very different than one who would go to a Sunday night game. Bad move...

1:54 AM  
Blogger FenwayParked said...

This just in:
Red Sox win their 9th in a row.
Miss me?

11:14 AM  

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