Tag Archives: New York Yankees

2010 MLB Predictions: Midseason Review

Back in March, I made my 2010 MLB season predictions. You didn’t think I was just going to forget about that, did you? As you’ll soon find out, I’m not here to brag; just hold myself accountable. With the All Star break upon us, it’s a good time to revisit my picks.

American League
The Yankees have the best record in baseball and sit atop the East, with Tampa Bay and Boston right behind. Toronto is playing .500 ball, which is slightly better than what I imaged. Baltimore, on the other hand, has the worst record in baseball. I expected the Orioles to improve but they are a whopping 27 games out of first.

So far, I was right about the tight race at the top of the Central. I am a little nervous, however, since my World Series champions, the Minnesota Twins, enter the break in third place, 3.5 games out.

I said Texas was a year away from seriously contending, but it looks like I was wrong. The Rangers lead the West with 50 wins and just added Cliff Lee from Seattle. Speaking of the Mariners: uh, yeah, about that. I thought the combo of Lee and Felix Hernandez at the top of the rotation would be enough for a playoff berth. And it may well have been, if Seattle had any offense at all (the Mariners have scored the fewest runs in the AL).

National League
I hate to say it, but I still think Philadelphia can win the East. The Phils are in third but only 4.5 games back. I’m not ready to give this division to the Braves. The team I know best, the Mets, is in second, which is where I picked them.

I liked the Reds before the season started and I wish I had had the guts to put them in second. They enter the break in first, a game ahead of the Cardinals. I still think the Cards will win the Central, as their pitching is a lot better than Cincinnati’s. The gap between second and third is bigger in this division than in any other, with the Brewers 7.5 games behind St. Louis.

Much like in the AL, I didn’t exactly nail my Wild Card pick in this league either. The top four teams in the West are separated by only four games, but my WC pick, the Diamondbacks, are 34-55 and 17.5 games back. In my defense, I thought Brandon Webb would be back a lot sooner. If you had told me Webb wouldn’t pitch until August at the earliest and Aaron Heilman would be the team’s closer by June, I just may have picked this team to finish last.

As is usually the case with preseason picks, midseason is too early to judge them. Only one of my division champ selections is currently in first (Yankees) but none are more than 4.5 games back. I’ll revisit my picks again in November after the Twins have just won the World Series in their new outdoor stadium. In Minnesota. In November.

New York Yankees-Philadelphia Phillies World Series: A Mets Fans Perspective

Several people have asked me which team I’d root for if it’s the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. As you probably know by now, I’m a huge Mets fan, so just the thought of having to choose between these two teams makes me a little nauseous.

Though I wouldn’t root for either team, I would prefer that the Phillies won. I know, I know, this is the hated division rival, the team with the somewhat dirty Chase Utley and Shane Victorino and the arrogant, big-mouthed Cole Hamels and Jimmy Rollins. I hate the Phillies, and over the last year and a half I’ve decided I hate them more than any other baseball team, including the Yankees.

So why would I prefer they win it all? As strange as this may sound, it’s because they won it all last year.

I hate to write these words, but the Phillies own the Mets. They have since those final weeks of the 2007 season. Regardless of what happens in the World Series, the Phillies will open next season as three-time defending National League East winners and two-time defending NL Champions. The way I see it, another World Series win wouldn’t make it any worse.

The Yankees, however, have not won the whole thing since 2000. They have not won since they brought in perhaps my least favorite player, Alex Rodriguez. I’d like to keep it that way. Yes, the Mets payroll is big, but the Yanks’ is far bigger and I want them and their reckless financial decisions to fail. (Plus, I know a lot more Yankee fans than Phillies fans and I don’t need to hear it from them.)

No doubt this is a lose-lose situation for me and most other Mets fans. But when the Yankees play the Phillies in the 2009 World Series*, I’ll take the Phillies. Just don’t expect me to root for them.

*Yes, my intention was certainly to jinx the Yankees, who have not yet qualified for the World Series. At the time I started this post, the Yanks, up 3-1 in the ALCS, were losing Game Five 4-0. By the time I finished, they had taken a 6-4 lead. And right this very instant, the Angels have tied it at six. I think my jinx is working. I think.

Interleague Play: Time for MLB to Make Changes

I was at the first Mets-Yankees game back in 1997 at Yankee Stadium. There was excitement in the week leading up to the games as sports talk radio, local television, and newspapers hyped the match-up, dubbing it the “Subway Series.” That anticipation led to a louder-than-usual crowd at the Stadium, as over 56,000 witnessed Dave Mlicki pitch a shutout and lead the Mets to a 6-0 victory.

Flash forward to 2009 and nobody cares anymore.

Sorry if that’s as startling as a Gary Sheffield foul ball into the third base seats, but it’s true.

Simply put, the Subway Series, and interleague play in general, has run its course. It’s time to get back to a more traditional schedule, or at least reduce the frequency of tired “rivalry” series’.

Here are three ways to do this:

1. Get rid of all interleague games

…and shorten the season. The baseball season is too long. This year, the regular season goes all the way until October 4th. Game One of the World Series is scheduled for October 28th. A potential Game Seven would be November 5th.

You thought last year’s Fall Classic was cold and wet? Imagine if the Twins reach the World Series once their new outdoor stadium is completed next season. There’s nothing like Minneapolis in November! They have a humidor for the baseballs in Colorado; they’d need a de-icer for Minnesota.

By cutting the season to somewhere between 147-154 games, the playoffs won’t go into late October and each regular season game will become just a little bit more meaningful.

Of course, a shorter season means fewer tickets to sell, and owners won’t go for making less money.

Likelihood of this Occurring: 1/10

2. Get rid of all interleague games…

…but replace them with intra-league match-ups, preferably divisional games. So instead of Cubs-Royals, you get an extra Cubs-Cardinals series. Instead of Phillies-Blue Jays, you get Phils-Mets.

This doesn’t shorten the season but at least interleague play disappears. Attendance would presumably rise as fans care more about intra-divisional rivalries than seeing a mediocre team from the other league.

It would also make the schedule a lot fairer within the divisions. Look at the Mets: Is it fair that they have to not only play the Yankees every year, but they have to play them SIX times?

This year, the East divisions were matched up against each other, so it was only three extra games. But in other years, it means the Mets have to play a franchise which, since interleague play began, has always fielded a very strong team. Instead of a series apiece against say, the Royals and Indians, the Mets get two against the Yanks.

No big deal over the course of such a long season though, right? Tell that to Mets fans, who’ve watched their team miss out on the playoffs by one game each of the last two seasons.

Likelihood of this Occurring: 3/10

3. Reduce the number of interleague games

Not ideal, but owners would be more likely to compromise and go along with this. There is a general assumption amongst MLB fans that interleague play is extremely popular, but attendance at these games is skewed.

Eric Rosen of Beyond the Box Score did some analysis that shows interleague play draws only about a .4% increase in attendance, or roughly 100 tickets per game.

His research factored in that interleague games were often played on weekends and during prime baseball months (June and July). This is how interleague play gets its attendance advantage; not through legitimate fan interest.

Perhaps owners will soon realize that fans are no longer captivated by the 12-year-old gimmick and eliminate, or at least reduce, the number of interleague games. Maybe the true rivalry series’ could be reduced to one series per year.

I don’t know when some form of these changes will take place, but I’d be shocked if interleague play looks the same in five years as it does now.

Likelihood of this Occurring: 6/10