Monday, July 07, 2008

The MLB Pendulum Swings

Bob Uecker hasn't been this excited since "Major League"

CC Sabathia is a Milwaukee Brewer. If you had told me in February I would be typing that sentence in an unsarcastic way I would have lost money, pride, or both in some ridiculous wager. For years many of baseball's fans, front offices and such have cried "How do we compete with the Red Sox and Yankees? It's not fair!!!!" followed by embarrassing tantrums, pants-wetting, and door slams (come on admit it). I never found this to be true, as although the Red Sox have won 2 World Series this decade, the other champions(Arizona, Anaheim, Florida, the White Sox, St Louis) weren't necessarily the highest spenders. In fact, the Cardinals have become world reknown for their ability to pick up scrap heap pitchers and do well with them (see Weaver, Jeff and Lohse, Kyle for examples). In fact, if you subtract the Red Sox from the equation, none of the other 5 teams and payrolls in the top 5 of baseball in the seasons in which they won the World Series. Even with that, the small market fans whined "But you still get all the impact players at the deadline!" However, in a season in which the Tampa Rays are 5 games ahead of the Red Sox and 9 ahead of the Yankees on the day of my 30th birthday (cheap plug), the "rebuilding"Oakland A's are 6 games above .500 in an offseason in which they traded both their best pitcher and hitter in Dan Haren and Nick Swisher, respectively, and the Minnesota Twins are 1 game out of first after trading Johan Santana, the small market fans and media aren't talking much. Perhaps it's the roast crow they are eating right now that has them quiet. In a season in which a Brewers/Rays World Series is possible, where the Cubs are a leading contender to win the World Series, it was fitting that the crown jewel of trading deadline is now in the land of sausage races, Bernie Brewer and Harvey's Wallbangers. It remains to be seen how this season will play out, if Brewers ace Ben Sheets stays healthy, if Solomon Torres can be a decent closer, if Eric Gagne can rebound, even if Prince Fielder will finally eat a cheeseburger, but this I can say right now, the Brewers showed more guts in making this deal than they they have in the last 26 years, which is coincidentally the last time they made the playoffs. Here's hoping it pays off for them, unless they end up playing the Phillies in the playoffs....

In podcast related news yesterday's episode of "The Sports Vortex" was simulcast live on WJZF, Lakes Region Community Radio. The Sports Vortex can be found on WJZF every Sunday from 4-6pm, if you miss it, the archives will always be here for you.



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