Consider what has happened in the first month-plus of the baseball season:
Boston----in last place??? Believe it. Bobby Valentine has made more headlines running his mouth than the Red Sox have winning games. They've been embarassed on Fox's Saturday game of the week twice (vs. Detroit and the Yankees), and ran off six wins in a row before losing to the White Sox on Sunday. However, the AL East is more loaded than ever, as Tampa Bay & Baltimore sit atop the division. Yeah, the Orioles have teased us before, but remember, it usually takes a while before a Buck Showalter-managed team makes the playoffs.
Buck wins a grand!: Showalter won his 1,000th game as manager Tuesday, as Baltimore beat the Yankees, the team that gave him his first big league managerial gig some 20 years ago. Maybe he can do the Yanks a favor and take Freddy Garcia and/or Phil Hughes off their hands.......
Do you believe in Magic?: The Dodgers do, and now, so does Major League Baseball, which approved the sale of the team to a group including NBA icon/broadcaster Earvin "Magic" Johnson and veteran baseball executive Stan Kasten, who helped build the Braves' dynasty and was last seen in Washington overseeing the Nationals. Los Angeles sits atop the NL West, so it's a matter of time before the same stars that usually show up at Laker games (i.e. Jack Nicholson) get primo seats at Dodger Stadium and get name checked by Vin Scully.
Be careful what you wish for, Miami: Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen earned a Dunce Cap in this space a couple of weeks back for some ill-timed remarks about Fidel Castro that were published in Time Magazine, and the team is paying a hefty price, sitting in the basement in the NL East. Owner Jeffrey Loria should also consider reading the works of Santayana. If the NBA's Heat chokes again in the playoffs, well, it's a sign that no matter how much money is spent to make a team better, it's the results on the field that count the most. Shortstop Jose Reyes returned to New York as a visiting player for the first time last week, and the Marlins were swept out of Queens by the Mets, who all but completely shut down Reyes.
Maybe it's not just a tease this time: Washington sits atop the NL East, but the lead has become tenuous. The Nationals have lost 5 in a row, including getting swept by the Dodgers last weekend. They opened the season in 1st once before, a few years ago, but fell out of contention before the 4th of July. This time, I think they'll stay in the race to the end, based on the simple fact that 1) the Phillies are old and vulnerable on offense, 2) the Mets still must deal with the curse of Citi Field, 3) Atlanta's already nipping on the Nats' heels, and 4) Miami isn't what they thought they were---yet----, and may not be until next year.
Every team should have a staff psychologist on hand: Delmon Young of the Tigers got in trouble with the law and didn't play against the Yankees over the weekend. His problem was making some racially-charged remarks to some strangers in New York, and was supposedly intoxicated. When are these guys going to realize that being young and gifted doesn't mean you're also automatically entitled? Speaking of the Yankees, they may need to give Phil Hughes some counseling to figure out what's wrong after he got lit up again, this time by Baltimore. They also need to cut their losses on Freddy Garcia before he becomes like Oliver Perez and writes his ticket out of New York with bad efforts out of the bullpen. The Mets don't just need a psychologist (they had one in the late 80's), but an exorcist. Another run of injuries has me convinced that there might be something else wrong with Citi Field that moving the fences can't cure. Instead of feuding with Angels batting coach Mickey Hatcher, Albert Pujols should offer Hatcher something encouraging, like a Bible.
Apparently, MLB Network has it written in their company manual that only one hot woman can be on their on-air roster.: Sam Ryan came over from ESPN (as did the latter network's long time boxing guy, Brian Kenny), so Hazel Mae became expendable. I'll bet most of you didn't notice or care.