That Was Quick

And, again, an American League team celebrates on foreign soil.  You’d think they’d start losing the All-Star Game so they could party at home, don’t you?

As for this whole “AL is dominant” stuff the major media keeps spewing….unfortunately, there may be something to that.  Since the strike year of ’94, the AL is 43-26 in the World Series, including five sweeps.  The closest the NL has gotten to a sweep was the Cardinals’ win in 5 games last year.  Right now, when coupled with their streak of winning All-Star games, it’s pretty apparent the AL is the top league, even though it’s painful to admit it.  These things are pretty cyclical, though.  A lot of the good young talent is in the NL, so they should be making some strides in the next few years.

Somewhere out there, a seven year old has seen two Red Sox championships and no Yankee titles.  Who’d have thought that’d ever happen?

A-Rod has already opted out of his deal.  However, I’m wondering if that might not come back to bite him.  The Yanks have been adamant that they aren’t going to deal with him.  The Cubs are in ownership flux, so they probably can’t go out and put together a record-setting package.  The Red Sox just won the title and they’ve said that they want to resign Lowell, so I’d be surprised if they made a major run at Rodriguez.  The Mets have been floated about, but they have Reyes at short and Wright at third.  Where would they put him?  It may just boil down to the Angels, and if they think they are the only ones in the race, there’s no way they’ll go $30 million per.  We’ll see how it pans out, but I think with the Yankees uninvolved, Rodriguez doesn’t get as much as he thinks he will.

Should be a busy week in baseball.  The Cardinals should announce their GM soon and the Yankees their manager.  The free agent market opens in two weeks.  While the season is great, the off-season has become a lot of fun in its own right!

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The Rise of the Small Markets

Arizona.  Colorado.  Cleveland.  Heck, even Los Angeles.  Do you think, perhaps, that there are some television executives waking up screaming in the night?

If TV really ruled the game, to the extent it would like to, we’d see Yankees/Red Sox in one LCS and Philadelphia/Chicago in the other.  Then a Cubs/Yankees World Series.

Right now, we’re on pace for Arizona/Colorado and Cleveland/Boston (depending on who wins tonight).   That NLCS would be terrible for those East Coasters, unless they started the games at terrible times for the home teams.  (That’s not out of the realm of possibility, of course.)

But at least the TV people would still have Boston alive, a big market East Coast team.  Just imagine, though, if LA would win that, knock off Cleveland and we’d have another all-Western World Series, like there was in 2002.  I’m betting ratings would be way down and there’d be a little less discussion of the games.

I don’t want to come across as one of those ranting “East Coast Bias!” types.  It does exist, to a degree, but not to the levels some fans want to take it.  It’s human nature to want your routines, and since a bunch of the media is on the East Coast, that’s what they’ll cover.  For them to stay up late and throw a kink into their normal days and nights, it’s not going to make them happy.  Which means, for the rest of us, we are cheering awfully hard for such an outcome.

And I am one Arizona win away from my first stress-free October since the turn of the century.  The Cardinals always cause me angst, because as the pressure mounts, the less I can take it.  I’m flipping channels, trying to not think about wasted chances, the comeback of the other team, etc.  Then, the one year the Cards weren’t in the playoffs, the Cubs went deep into October, causing the same level of dread in the other direction.  Thank goodness for Bartman, Alex Gonzalez and, well, the Cubs being the Cubs.

If Arizona can just win tomorrow, I can watch the rest of the playoffs with no deep-seated rooting interest.  My wife likes the Indians (and it’s always enjoyable when the spouse gets into the games) but it’s nothing to the level of the Cardinals.  And that should make for a fun month.

In Cardinal news, they picked up the option on Jason Isringhausen.  Really a no-brainer move, as there was no obvious replacement in system (Chris Perez isn’t ready for that role yet) and the option was pretty reasonable when you look at the market.  Glad to see Izzy get another  year–2006 was rough for him, so it was good to see see that it was mainly the hip and he was back on his game last season.