What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
EDITOR’S NOTE: Boyd Bergquist was the sports director at KETS-TV in East Tree Stump, Nebraska for almost 40 years. Known across the Husker state as the voice of the Boy’s High School Basketball Tournament, Bergquist was a four-time winner of the Marv J. Butz “Golden Cob” Award For Excellence In Nebraska Broadcast Journalism. That background, along with his quick if not cliché-riddled wit and love of single-malt scotch makes Bergquist a perfect fit to be our “Question” guy, but today, he’s here to dish up a preview of the upcoming baseball season.
As we find the calendar flipping to Independence Day weekend, we also find ourselves roughly half-way through the Major League Baseball season. Being at the mid-point of the season means it’s time to take all 30 MLB squads and stack them up in my own categories based on expectations at the beginning of the season weighed against performance during it.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; baseball season is like a long horse race, which is why I like to break it down in four parts. We’ve already seen the start, we’re half-way home, and later in the season we will revisit on Labor Day which is all about heading into the home stretch. But today is all about Independence Day. So today we will look at my initial categorizations of all 30 major-league baseball teams, look at where they were on Memorial Day, and compare that to where they are today.
As we get closer to the wire which marks the end of that horse race, it only makes sense the categories would change. If you recall, I’m not about the usual “power ranking” stuff. Instead, I started this season by breaking down all 30 major league squads into six easy-to-understand groups based on what I thought these teams could realistically expect in 2019. Those original six categories were as follows.
Once we got to Memorial Day, I had six new categories at the “far turn.” I now have six new categories which again should be fairly self-explanatory.
Half-way through the race, there really only two categories to worry about; is your team a contender or a pretender. Not too long ago, I was on a flight and read one of those in-flight magazines which had an article about a bunch of business management mumbo-jumbo I didn’t really understand, but it did include this grid about categorizing things base on two criteria and the relationship between the two. I’m certainly no captain of industry, but this approach made perfect sense for this baseball breakdown.
Here’s all were looking at today; is your team a play-off contender, and should they be a buyer or a seller at the trade deadline?
Things clearly broke the Twins way; so much so that barring a “Titanic hitting the iceberg” moment, you can pretty much call the AL Central race right now. But the Twins still need to add a front-line starting pitcher. No Twins fan (J-Dub included) wants to face a play-off series in Yankee Stadium (a.k.a the Twins’ graveyard) Stadium depending exclusively on the continuation of the “Jake Odorizzi miracle.”
Tampa Bay Rays
I said I needed to see them beat some good teams, and they’ve done that. They’ve got plenty of room to add pay-roll, and it’s time to get their new fan base in Montreal très excité!
As is becoming the norm, the A’s turned it on between now and then. This also means once again, they are in a position where they could use some help, but their VISA card is “max-ed out.”
New York Yankees
FACT: Up until now, the Yankees have been such a MASH unit Alan Alda is currently on their 26-man roster. FACT: Once they get everybody healthy, they are the definition of “embarrassment of riches.” Somebody has to go.
Boston Red Sox
When healthy, they might have the most complete roster in baseball.
See Boston Red Sox.
Toronto Blue Jays
Vladimir Guerrero Jr, is the future of this team. Why wait to start building around the game’s next super-star?
Chicago White Sox
It won’t take much for “Pale Hose” to be mediocre, and White Sox fans have a long history of accepting mediocre. So what the hell?
It’s over. Get what you can for your better assets now, because the Minnesota Twins will own the AL Central for at least the next five years.
This could be like a used car lot with a classic hot-rod out of everybody’s price range (Miguel Cabrera) surrounded by Ford Pintos.
They already moved Edwin Encarnacion. Why stop there?
This isn’t their year, but this team has a nice nucleus for the future.
Los Angeles Angels
It all starts next year when they trade Mike Trout to Philadelphia for an entire minor-league roster, a life-time supply of cheese-steaks, and the “Rocky” statue.
This is a Triple-A team for the foreseeable future.
Kansas City Royals
See the Baltimore Orioles.
They are hotter than a manhole cover in the sun, and they’ve already added Dallas Keuchel, but some middle of the rotation help would be nice in the wake of the Mike Foltynewicz mess.
I’ve said it since Opening Day; the Brewers would be the best team in the National League if they had a legit ace at the top of the rotation…and there’s more than one possibly available.
The Phils are struggling as of late, and they need a little something all across the board. Now is the time for that proverbial move that “shakes things up.”
The resurgent Nationals have clearly “figured it out,” but their needs can be summed in three words…bullpen, Bullpen, BULLPEN!!!!
Say what you will about Craig Kimbrel; that was the move to make considering the Cubs’ bullpen was nearly as bad as Washington’s. Right now, the only people left on earth who don’t know Kyle Schwarber is a liability in the field are four kids on a Little League team in Ethiopia. It’s time to get something for him now from an American League team needing a DH before even those kids figure it out.
Los Angeles Dodgers
What else do they need…besides their cast of “gawdy regular-season numbers guys” to produce when it matters?
St. Louis Cardinals
I originally said adding professional thunder-bat Paul Goldschmidt was supposed to make the Cardinals the favorite to win the NL Central. But right now the Cardinal bats are in hibernation which has seen them go from a 20-10 start to hovering around .500. Despite that, they are still in the thick of the NL Central race. It’s time for the guys they believe in to deliver.
San Diego Padres
This team isn’t ready to play .500 ball yet, but there’s no denying this could be the dawn of a new era in San Diego. The addition of one starting pitcher would make this the most interesting team in the NL West not named the Dodgers.
This team has the brightest future of any last-place squad out there. You’d be crazy not to be building for the future.
Despite the fact they’ve inked them both long-term, Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon would fetch fistfuls of farm-system reloading talent.
New York Mets
The Mets have completely imploded, and I told you the warning sign: here’s a team who had their two best pitchers on the mound (Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard) and still dropped those games to a Miami Marlins team which may not win 50 games. That’s why everybody with any value except Pete Alonso should be available.
San Francisco Giants
This team offered a faint glimmer of hope early on, but like the Giants’ “World Series” era, that is over. I’ve been saying it all year…sell it all right now. Need a front-of-the rotation pitcher who can also slug? Are you an AL contender who needs an MVP-caliber aging catcher who can still be a dangerous DH? Call 1-800-SFGIANTS…if they are smart, they’ll be waiting for your call. It’s all still true; just add Will Smith to the coming yard sale. In fact, everybody, even those with no value like Brandon Belt, should be available.
This team got off to an amazing start, but they just don’t have the ponies for the long haul. While they are a collection of over-achievers, you simply can’t subject this fan base to another yard sale.
A hot April led to a May which saw the Snakes sink into their expected form. Before you can mortgage the future, you have to have a future.
Be honest…who didn’t really know this team had no chance? Besides, even if they wanted to sell, what do they have to offer?
Check back on Labor Day when I will break down the the teams, the pennant races, and take a sneak peek at the post-season. In the meantime, enjoy your Independence Day weekend and celebrate the greatest country on earth and it’s national pastime!
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