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.
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, and later in the season we will revisit on Independence Day which marks the half-way point and Labor Day which is all about heading into the home stretch. But today is all about Memorial Day, which marks the “quarter turn.” So today we will look at my initial categorizations of all 30 major-league baseball teams and compare that to where they are a quarter of the way into that long race which is baseball season.
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 2022. Those original six categories were as follows.
Now that the race is underway, at the “quarter turn” I now have six new categories which again should be fairly self-explanatory.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Original Rating: Ready To Win Right Now: This team was the darling of most “in the know” in March, and heading into Sunday, only the New York Yankees had more wins than the Dodgers (see the Yankees below).
Milwaukee Brewers – Original Rating: There’s Just One Thing Missing: What was missing was offense. Right now, the Brew Crew is just above league average in runs scored, but the real guts of this team is the starting rotation. That means the concern heading into summer is Freddy Peralta has a shoulder issue about which the team is only saying “a lengthy absence,” and Brandon Woodruff left his last start with “ankle discomfort,” and the team is waiting until after the weekend for a full analysis.
Houston Astros – Original Rating: There’s Just One Thing Missing: What’s gone missing for Houston are their bats. A once mighty, and still capable line-up is languishing in the middle of the American League pack in terms of run production. But they they have a relatively favorable schedule until the end of June, when they have back-to-back home-and-away series with the Mets and the Yankees.
St. Louis Cardinals – Original Rating: There’s Just One Thing Missing: Coming into the season, we all knew stating pitching was going to be the problem for St. Louis. Everything I said at the beginning of April about that is still true at the end of May. Realistically, it’s the bats of Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado which are carrying the Red Birds right now.
Tampa Rays – Original Rating: Ready To Win Right Now: Originally I said to watch for the break-out season for Wander Franco. That can still happen, but it stating to look like the Rays having another blossoming star on their hands. Former top prospect Manuel Margot is flirting with a .350 batting average, .a 900 OPS. Yeah, I know they’re chasing the Yankees right now, but (again, see the Yankees below).
New York Yankees – Original Rating: There’s Just One Thing Missing: Who saw Nestor Torres as an ace? Yeah, me either. Despite what Aaron Judge is doing, this team goes as far as the pitching takes it. Torres is the leader of the band, Gerritt Cole doesn’t look like the Gerritt Cole of old, but he’s still managing to be effective. And now the injury bug is hitting the Yanks. Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Loáisiga, and Chad Green’s absences only thin-up that pitching staff, and Giancarlo Stanton is already out with his annual muscle injury. By the way, Judge is overdue for his.
New York Mets – Original Rating: Need Some Things To Go Their Way: Between now and July 4th, we’re going to find out what the Mets are made of. An early favorable schedule and a red-hot Pete Alonzo have turned into two west-coast road trips and an injured Max Scherzer. Jacob deGrom has yet to see the mound, and with the exception of Alonzo and Mark Canha, the Mets’ position players have all taken turns on the injured list or simply being exceptionally cold.
San Diego Padres – Original Rating: At Least They Don’t Suck: The Padres are one of those team that can’t handle expectations. Last season after their big load-up job, San Diego was the “sexy” pick for the World Series. They did a face-plant and wound up sub-.500. Entering this season, the Padres were an early write-off thanks to Fernando Tatis, Jr’s injury. But Memorial Day sees San Diego hot on the heels of the National League-leading Dodgers.
San Francisco Giants – Original Rating: Need Some Things To Go Their Way: Just like last year, everything is going the Giants’ way. Despite the woes which have befallen the pitching staff, San Francisco is still in the thick of the NL West. To stay there, they will likely need to deal some of their farm talent to add some arms.
Minnesota Twins – Original Rating: Need Some Things To Go Their Way: Two things are happening right now which do not bode well for the Twins. One, the dreaded injury bug is starting to take a toll, and even though it may not be showing in the “win” column, the fully-loaded White Sox are stating to figure out their early-season funk.
Philadelphia Phillies – Original Rating: There’s Just One Thing Missing: Aaron Nola leading the National League in strikeouts. Good. Kyle Schwarber not leading the league in strikeouts. Also good. The already defensively-challenged challenged Phils being forced to play “The Human Hamburger” Schwarber in the outfield because of Bryce Harper’s elbow issue. Not good.
Kyle Schwarber is the worst outfielder I’ve ever seen, and I lived through Dave Kingman.~J-Dub
But at least I get to keep using that graphic.
Los Angeles Angels – Original Rating: At Least They Don’t Suck: The Angels are sitting pretty in second place in the AL West, and they are one of only six teams to crack the 30-win mark before Memorial Day. But, the second half of May was hell for the Halos; since May 15th, the Angels have gone 3-9. The first half of June could be the knock-out punch as the Angels have series against the Yankees, Phillies, Mets, and Dodgers.
Cincinnati Reds – Original Rating: It’s Going To Be A Long Summer: Forget about the fact this team won a paltry 3 games in all of April. Going into Sunday, the Reds have posted a 13-8 mark in the previous three weeks, including series wins over Milwaukee and San Francisco. It’s still may be a long summer in Cincinnati, but it’s way too early to give the Reds up for dead.
Indians Klingons Guardians of the Galaxy – Original Rating: It’s Going To Be A Long Summer: Thanks to a torrid start from José Ramirez (48 RBIs in his first 42 games), the Indians Klingons Guardians of the Galaxy hit the quarter-turn only four games under .500. But no matter who ends up leading the AL Central Remedial division, Cleveland will end up at least 25 games behind them
Arizona Diamondbacks – Original Rating: It’s Going To Be A Long Summer: Being only two games under .500 two months into the season should have D-backs fans jumping for joy…considering this team lost 110 games in 2021. You can thank the front of the rotation for that, starting with Zac Gallen who is looking like a Cy Young contender at this point.
Texas Rangers – Original Rating: At Least They Don’t Suck: Here’s another team trying to emerge from a dismal 2021. Like the Snakes, the Texas Rangers enter Memorial Day only two games under .500, which is pretty damn good for a team that also lost over 100 last year.
Baltimore Orioles – Original Rating: It’s Going To Be A Long Summer: Don’t look now, but this team is on a pace to not lose 100 games for the first time since 2017…well, not counting the pandemic year. You can’t lose 100 if you only play 60. But heading into Sunday’s games, the Orioles are on a clip which would see them finish at 69-93. Here’s hoping I didn’t just jinx them.
Atlanta Braves – Original Rating: Ready To Win Right Now: I’ve got a message for Braves’ fans. To quote Aaron Rodgers, relax! Atlanta is a second-half team, and you can already see the signs of a repeat of last year. That 8.5 game gap between the Braves and the Mets will be gone by the middle of August.
Toronto Blue Jays – Original Rating: Ready To Win Right Now: Toronto is the “poster” child for the baseball season being a marathon, not a sprint. The Blue Jays suffered early-season injuries and a general funk. But now that Hyun Jin Ryu and Jose Berrios seem to be figuring themselves out and the bats are coming to life, Toronto is far too close in the Yankees rear-view mirror for the Bronx Bomber to breathe easy.
Chicago White Sox – Original Rating: Ready To Win Right Now: If your a fan of the Mighty Whiteys, join the Braves; fans and take a “chill pill.” The division-leading Twins feel like an exercise in “smoke and mirrors,” nobody else in AL
Central Remedial is even close to contending, and hitting the “Eject” button on Dallas Keuchel was a bit of “addition by subtraction.” Yesterday’s injury to Tim Anderson is a concern, but it really should only delay the time between now and the time the White Sox leave the Twins in the dust.
Chicago Cubs – Original Rating: At Least They Don’t Suck: Well, they do suck. This team isn’t a contender, but they really should be much closer to .500 than they are. A big reason for that is the starting pitching. Let’s be honest, 2-4 with a ERA north of 4.50 isn’t exactly what the Cubs had in mind when they inked Marcus Stroman for $70 million. However, if Stroman can string together more starts like Sunday. the early struggles will be forgotten. Prediction: Both Frank Schwindel and Patrick Wisdom will hit 35 homers in the majors. The question is…will they do it as Cubs?
Seattle Mariners – Original Rating: Need Some Things To Go Their Way: How does a team that notched 90 wins in 2021 add a 30+ home run bat, an All-Star outfielder, and a reigning Cy Young winner, and end up eight games under .500? Like the title of this section says, the Mariners better figure that out quick, otherwise their absence from the post-season will stretch into it’s 22nd year.
Boston Red Sox – Original Rating: Need Some Things To Go Their Way: Throughout April, the Red Sox looked like blue ribbon winners in a “shooting yourself in the foot” contest. But in May they seem to have cracked the code as to out what was plaguing them. Now, they have to figure out how to be competitive with the Yankees, Rays, and Blue Jays.
Miami Marlins – Original Rating: At Least They Don’t Suck: This team really should be a .500 club. Right now, they are 7 games under that pace, and trending the wrong way. So far in May, they are 7-17.
Colorado Rockies – Original Rating: Why Wait for Next Year? The Rockies have more talent than to be a last-place club, but losing 15 out of your 20 is a great way to end up in the cellar. Also, there’s no truth to the rumor that a Denver-area hospital is naming it’s MRI machine in honor of Kris Bryant.
Pittsburgh Pirates – Original Rating: It’s Going To Be A Long Summer: As we g”et closer to the trade deadline, somebody is going to inquire about Roansy Contreras. The righty reliever has a nasty 98-pph heater with a wrinkle in it, a “freeze you solid” curveball which he’s used to post has a 2.55 ERA with 18 strikeouts and 6 walks through 17 2/3 innings. Yeah, that’s a small sample, but this kid looks enough like the “real deal” for somebody to take a shot on him.
Detroit Tigers – Original Rating: Why Wait for Next Year? Tigers fans are learning something that Cubs fans know all too well; the exceptionally “hot and cold” nature of Javier Báez. Actually, they’re still waiting for the “hot” part in Detroit; Báez is sitting on 3 homers, 13 RBIs, and a .194 batting average in 152 plate appearances coming into Memorial Day.
Washington Nationals – Original Rating: Why Wait for Next Year? Stephen Strasburg threw five innings last Sunday in a rehab start. He didn’t give up a hit, and struck out six struck against only one walk. It’s not much, but National fans need something to look forward to.
Oakland A’s – Original Rating: Why Wait for Next Year? At their current pace, the A’s may not win 25 home games. That a special kind of terrible.
Kansas City Royals – Original Rating: Why Wait for Next Year? At their current pace, the Royals may not win 50 games period. That’s an extra special kind of terrible.
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