Major League Baseball has just completed its all-star break. Most teams have barely passed the midway point of their 162 game schedule. Here are some of my quick hitters from the on deck circle:
I am still trying to make “sense” or shall I say “cents” out of the Florida teams being in the “hunt” for a pennant, yet both are at the bottom of MLB’s payroll. The Marlins (lowest) at $21-million or $660 thousand per player, sit just 1 ½ games out of the lead in the NL East. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays (second lowest) are the proud owners of a $43 million or $1.4 million per player payroll, and despite a seven-game losing streak, are just half a game behind Boston in the AL East.
The top two teams (payrolls) are the New York Yankees at $209 million ($6.7 million per player) followed by the Detroit Tigers at $138.6 million ($4.6 million average). The Yankees are six games behind the division lead and 5 ½ back of Tampa for the wild card while the .500 Tigers, as of the break, were seven behind the Chicago White Sox pace in the AL Central. Didn’t I say this doesn’t “add” up?
Time for restructuring .
All teams in the NL West have losing records; however, one of those clubs is guaranteed a playoff spot.
It’s time for a change. I believe that if a team fails to post a winning record, they should be forced to surrender their post-season position, even if they win a division. Then, the vacant spot can be filled by the team with the best record that didn’t qualify. Seems logical, right? In other words, it won’t happen.
Bittersweet news in la belle province .
The 35-60 Washington Nationals hold the worst record and the lowest television ratings in the
majors. Somewhere, somehow, the Montreal Expos (who moved to Washington) are sipping champagne, knowing the losing tradition continues.
Excitement? As the trade deadlines approaches .
The non-waiver trading deadline is less than two weeks away. Thank goodness! I don’t know about you, but I am getting tired of hearing that every time AJ Burnett pitches for the Blue Jays, it could be his last start in a Toronto uniform. Just trade the guy and get it over with.
Speaking about the Blue Jays
I know there are executives with less credentials, but how much longer will the team entrust J.P. Ricciardi as its General Manager ? This is the Jays seventh year under Ricciardi’s leadership and it will be the seventh year the team will not make the playoffs. Maybe he will fit in and walk across the street and land the Maple Leafs GM job.
Saving a buck, eh ..
Other than he often gets hurt, I don’t understand what logical reason the Oakland A’s have in giving up on Victoria’s Rich Harden, and another starting pitcher, Chad Gaudin. Both were sent to the Chicago Cubs for four players, mostly prospects. In his six seasons with Oakland, the 26-year-old Harden was 36-19 with a 3.42 ERA, 523 strikeouts and 232 walks over 541 2/3 innings.
This move makes sense if the A’s weren’t a contender, but they have a winning record, and are second in their division. They were 3 ½ games behind a wild card spot at the time, but now trail by 4 ½. I guess it is not that hard to figure out. Let’s see, the budget-conscious A’s are third from the bottom in payroll ($47.9 million), so it is logical (right?) that they want to take a run at the Rays, not in the standings, but where it really counts; the bankroll.
Another stimulating statistic .
There is always a stat for everybody, right? For example, the Baltimore Orioles boast a record of 1-14 on Sundays. Hmmm, interesting ..I am more curious if those games are played before or after church.
Hometown flavor .
Exactly one year from today, the first pitch will be thrown at the World Baseball Challenge (July 18-25, 2009) in Prince George. Expect to see at least five ex-major leaguers and some 100 players with pro-level experience participate in the six-team tournament. This will definitely place Prince George on the baseball map. It may not match the intensity of the Yankees against the Red Sox, but surely it will surpass last weekend’s titanic struggle between the Mariners and the Royals.
From the quote rack:
“The new movie that stars an unpopular Los Angeles hero that can fly though the air and hits on other men’s women did much better with the title Hancock than the original name Kobe.”
Contributor Derek Wilken of Calgary (smacksport.blogspot.com/)
“With the Russian Continental League signing NHL players like Chris Simon and Ray Emery you have to wonder if they are competition for the NHL or a Rehab Clinic.”
“Greg Norman’s ex-wife got a divorce settlement of $103 Million. Not only that, but Norman has now officially lost his title of “The Shark” to her divorce attorney.”
Comedy writer Jim Barach of WCHS-TV in Charleston, W.Va (jokesbyjim.blogspot.com/)
“Greg Norman’s ex-wife is receiving $103 million in their divorce settlement. They’re now calling him A-Shark'”
Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California
“Cubs fans will now get a cemetery that looks like Wrigley Field. With all of those demons converged, you can bet that’s where they’ll film the next Hellboy’.”
“The tabloids are full of the story about how A-Rod’s wife is going to cash in by divorcing the Yankee slugger over his infidelities. You know, Hillary Clinton just got an idea about retiring that campaign debt.”
Contributor Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California (www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com)
“Green Bay has indicated they want Brett Favre to stay retired, he wants to go to a contending team. One solution, trade him to the BC Lions.”
“A U.S.-based economist is predicting Canada will win 17 medals at the Beijing games, and no gold. Is this the same American economist that predicted the Dow would hit 17,000 in 2008?”
Vancouver comic Torben Rolfsen (www.theprovince.com/liveat5)
“Cuba announced they will send a rowing team to the Olympics. They started training last month and haven’t been seen since.”
NBC’s Conan O’Brien
“Well, to get ready for the Olympics and improve the awful air quality in Beijing, China, a large number of the factories around the city have closed. In a related story, today Wal-Mart announced they are out of everything.”
Hartley Miller is the sports director for radio stations 94X and the Wolf@97fm.He also writes for Opinion250. Hartley can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.