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.
Like the song says, Camptown Race Track might be five miles long, but that’s nothing compared to 162 games. As we find the calendar landing on Labor Day, every team in major league baseball has just under 30 games to play, which puts us firmly in the home stretch of this horse race. Like a horse race, I break the baseball season down into four parts; the last obviously being the race to the wire.
But before we get to the race down the stretch, let’s recap where we’ve been. 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” which again should be fairly self-explanatory.
Half-way through the race, there really are only two categories to worry about; is your team a play-off contender and should they be a buyer or a seller at the trade deadline? Here’s how I saw it.
Some teams helped themselves at the deadline, and some teams didn’t; you can see a breakdown of that here. But as we head toward October, it’s time to look at who can get to the Winner’s Circle, and who is going to spit the bit.
14) Boston Red Sox
When healthy, they might have the most complete collection of every-day players in baseball. But they haven’t been healthy all year, and there simply isn’t enough time to make up the ground they’ve lost. The only way they win the AL East is if the Yankees and Rays team planes collide.
13) Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies bought at the deadline, but so did everybody else contending in the NL East. While Kate Smith isn’t singing for the Flyers anymore, the fat lady can belt it out for the Phillies; once Jake Arrieta had season-ending elbow season, it was over in Philadelphia.
12) Milwaukee Brewers
The Brew Crew are their own worst enemy. My book on this team since Day One has been they could be the best team in the National League if they had a legit ace at the top of the rotation. They didn’t get that done, and now they are pulling a fade-job.
11) Chicago Cubs
I caught a lot of flak from the Cubs’ fans who love Kyle Schwarber for suggesting they should trade him. Yeah, I get he hits 30-ish home runs a year, but what does he do with his other 500 at-bats? At least 150 of them will be strikeouts. Couple that with the fact he’s a liability in the field, and the question becomes what would help this team more in October: Schwarber or the two solid middle-of -the-bullpen guys the Cubs could have got for him?
10) Tampa Bay Rays
The only reason this team is mired in the AL Wild Card is they are chasing the uncatchable Yankees.
9) Oakland Athletics
The Oakland A’s new motto: “Doing the best we can with what we’ve got.”
8 ) Cleveland Indians
The Indians simply will not go gently into that good night.
7) 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, and now that seems to be coming to fruition. This division belongs to the Cardinals by default because the Brewers keep shooting their own foot and the Cubs will be perennial under-achievers as long as Joe Maddon remains the manager.
6) Minnesota Twins
Much like the Brewers, the Twins did help themselves at the deadline, but it hasn’t worked. Minnesota still get pull away from the Indians.
5) Washington Nationals
Every horse race has that one horse which pulls wide and makes a huge move late. That horse is the Washington Nationals.
4) Atlanta Braves
I’m not sure this team is ready to win a World Series quite yet, but they aren’t far from it, and Ronald Acuna, Jr. isn’t far from being the best all-around player in the game.
3) Los Angeles Dodgers
Again, it’s time for the Dodgers and their cast of “gawdy regular-season numbers guys” to produce when it matters.
2) New York Yankees
Is there better proof the Yankees are an embarrassment of riches besides the fact they have suffered so many injuries and are still lapping the AL East?
1) Houston Astros
The Astros have the best top-to-bottom roster in the game, they have the two best pitchers in the American League, and the still got stronger at the trade deadline. Simply put, they are the team to beat.
Next stop: Play-off Previews!
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