Once again, the Darkness fell upon us. No, I am not talking about your best friend bailing on post-work beers to hunt Pokémon in the neighbourhood park. Nor am I addressing the fact that a band called Magic with a F#@*ing exclamation point in their name are singing about Funday Sunday and we continue to positively reinforce them enough to continue making music (I use the term music loosely). Rather, I speak about the sullen days after the MLB all-star game where the sports world sits relatively idle. Most of the pieces have fallen in NHL free agency; the 145 th playing of the Open at Royal Troon is on the horizon; and the Mid-summer break in the Bigs will resume on the weekend. It does; however, allow one to reflect on the first half of the season and ponder the outcome of the second half ahead.
This year’s All-Star festivities served as a friendly reminder to MLB pitchers as to why it is important to exercise extreme caution when hurling a ball towards home plate occupied by the slugger formerly known as Mike Stanton (Giancarlo). He flat out wounded balls to the tune of 61 deep flies in this year’s Home Run Derby. His accumulative distance on those blasts dwarf the output reading of my daily pedometer. My only accomplishment while in the San Diego area was successfully consuming 61 carne asada tacos from LaPlaya (Spanish for ‘the player?’) Interestingly enough, discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diego, which of course in German means ‘a whale’s vagina.’ Thankfully, only one national anthem was disgraced and the American league will again have home park advantage come the World Series.
What does the Toronto Blue Jays’ offense in the summer and me 15 minutes after an all-you-can- eat Indian buffet have in common? You guessed it…runs; all of the runs. The Jays offense has exploded (I had to) with the emergence of Edwing and sit only 2 games back of the Orioles. Things should further improve upon Bautflip returning from his foot injury / POUTTBD (Post Odor Uppercut to the Brain Disorder). Their pitching has
been affective and I envision them joining the Sox in the playoffs. These 2 teams meet in the final season series at the Rogers center in what I will label a ‘must view spectacle.’
Here’s hoping that the ageless wonder, Big Papi David Ortiz, can continue his first half tear and take the stockings back to the Promised Land.
My eyes and ears are fixated on local legend Dustin Molleken who made his major-league pitching debut with the Detroit Tigers earlier this month. The former Toledo Mud Hen is the 9th Saskatchewan born player to make it to the majors. Early results indicate that he indeed belongs. In his last outing, @Providerofshelter (my proposed twitter handle for Molleken) went 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief while striking out the reigning MVP; Josh Donaldson (@Bringerofrain). One can’t help but feel jubilation for an athlete who gutted out a 13-year journey to finally achieve his ultimate goal. Finding Nemo was storming the theaters and Avril Lavigne was filling the airwaves when he first embarked on his journey…well done sir. The Tigers will have their hands full catching the Cleveland Indians who recently went on a league-leading 14 game winning streak. Their staff of Kluber, Carrasco, Salazar, Bauer, and Tomlin is as solid as any in the league.
Meanwhile in Chicago, fellow Canadian and assumed lover of Monster energy drinks, Brett Lawrie, maintains his reputation of having ‘the most interesting? look in pro sports.’
It pains me to live in a world where Mike Trout is rostered on the worst team in the division. Through 741 career games:
Yankees Micky Mantle - 306/.408/.550 152 HR & 37 SB
Angels Mike Trout - .306/.400/.560 157 HR & 128 SB
Unfortunately, the Angels have yet to capitalize on the prime years of a generational talent. While the Rangers have a current stranglehold on the division lead, the youthful Astros and powerful Mariners will ensure this race goes down to the wire. I still envision the Astros finding their way back to the post season.
The Montreal Expos of Washington are the national league team I expect to play deepest into the postseason. A 1-2 punch of Scherzer and Strasburg may prove to be too much for opponents to handle. I see them making a play at one of the Yankees bullpen closers and sending current close, Papelbum out to pasture. If the prodigy, Bryce Harper regains his early season form…look out. Jose Fernandez may be shut done early and thus hurt the Marlins’ chance of a playoff birth. The recent barrage of arm woes on the Mets youthful pitching staff has me concerned for their longevity. The NL East is the Nats to lose.
Earlier this year, Illinoisans stocked up on canned goods and hoarded flats of bottled water upon hearing that their beloved Cubs were favored to win the World Series.
Surely, this prediction is a sign of the apocalypse. The Cubbies are primed to end their 107-year drought with their elite combination of strong pitching, sturdy defense, and juggernaut of an offense. Their entire infield was selected to start the All-star game for the National league. While I do think that both the pirates and Cardinals will linger in contention, I am all hands on deck for a late October Cubs run.
Lately, an even year signifies another banner being raised at AT&T Park in San Francisco. 2012, 2014, 2016? A retooled pitching staff including Cueto and Samardzija (aka alphabet soup) has the Giants again atop the NL West. Madbum and the boys looked primed to fend off the Dodger for another trip to the fall classic.
I am going to stick with my pre-season prediction of the Red Sox over the Nationals. I’d love to hear your predictions or take on first half stories of interest. Play ball!
Get Fresh or die trying;