- Is it me or was Major League Baseball about as predictable as Seinfeld reruns this season? You don’t even need 150 characters to break down the entire summer: Steroids. Rich teams won. Albert Pujols. National League stunk.
But for those who would like me to expand on a season that has played out almost the exact same way for the past decade, here goes nothing…
- The steroids controversy continued. Alex Rodriguez admitted using. Manny Ramirez was suspended. David Ortiz promised he would get to the bottom of his positive test and never spoke again. All three were welcomed back with open arms by their fans and all three helped their team reach the playoffs.
The bad guys won.
- So did the rich ones. If the Tigers beat the Twins today, six of the top nine payrolls in baseball will have made the playoffs while none of the bottom twelve will have reached the postseason. The numbers don’t lie. You can pretty much count out almost half the sport on opening day.
- In order, the second, third, fourth and fifth greatest hitters of my lifetime: Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Ken Griffey Jr..
The best, and it’s not close, is Albert Pujols. The NL MVP hits the way Bonds did at the height of his steroid use, seeing one strike a night and usually crushing it. He’s more consistent than ARod or Griffey ever was and hits for more power than Manny ever did. And the man carries his team unlike anyone, at any time, ever has.
- Pujols is so good that we forgive him for playing in the AAAA League. It’s not his fault the National League has the Nationals, Pirates and Padres. And really, you don’t even have to look at the teams to tell how poor the NL was this season.
Just look at two names: Brad Penny and Julio Lugo.
- You know what we stopped hearing this year? What a great game-caller Jason Varitek is. That’s what happens when you can’t even hit your wife’s weight over the final two months of the season.
- The Yankees and Red Sox had a little role-reversal this year. For the first time in over a decade, the Bombers were actually likeable. The zillion dollar additions of C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira and the less pricey Nick Swisher helped the team win the AL East and actually loosened up the clubhouse in the process.
The Yankees popped champagne when they clinched the division and set the all-time record for pies to the face following walk off wins in a season. Even ARod made friends.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox dealt with Ortiz and his steroids, Daisuke being overpaid and overweight and Kevin Youkilis calling out the fans of Boston.
Something just feels different this season.
Even when everything else remained the same.