By all accounts, the Yankees have no business occupying first place in the AL East. And the Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers at the top in their respective divisions… what’s going on here?
The Yankees have surprised a lot of fans in 2017. That’s a given. But when you look at the standings for each division, it becomes apparent that something else may be going on that we need to take notice of as we reach the first benchmark of a baseball season, Memorial Day.
Historically, teams have started hot only to be buried later during the latter stages of the season when the cream rises to the top. And by the same token, teams have started out cold and then gradually pulled their way to top over the long haul of a season.
The New York Giants in 1951 are typically cited as a team that was given up for as a contender in the pennant drive that year, only to pull out a victory with the “Shot Heard Round The World” home run by Bobby Thompson that stole a pennant from the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Are the Yankees the pretenders MLB is seeking
And while a scenario like that is unlikely this season, you have to recognize that both the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays are not what they supposed to be so far this season. In their place instead, rest the Yankees and the Orioles who continue to set the pace in the AL East.
And who the hell are the Minnesota Twins (20-17) supposed to be in a Division that includes last year’s entry in the World Series, the Cleveland Indians, one game over .500 at 20-19.
And over in the National League, there are the Brewers sitting at six games over .500 and leading a Division that was supposed to be a walk-away for the Chicago Cubs (21-19), who trail the Cardinals as well as the Brewers in the NL Central.
What’s going on here?
In a simple word, it’s called parity. Which is something MLB has been striving for over a number of years. In their dreams, MLB perceives a league in which all teams are relevant over the long haul of a 162-game, six-month season.
In other words, MLB is looking for a scenario similar to the NFL in which an actuary needs to be hired for the last week of the season to determine which teams will make the playoffs.
Think through that, do we really want the NFL?
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This is supposed to maintain interest for most NFL cities until the bitter end when a team with a record of 8-8 qualifies for the playoffs, and they get their heads beaten in by the New England Patriots.
Okay, let’s go with this for a minute. The Yankees, as good as they are, have virtually no chance against the Houston Astros in the playoffs this season. Anyone disagree?
The law of averages will eventually overtake the Twins, and then it becomes a question of whether or not the Yankees are ready to compete with the Indians in a playoff format this season. And the same goes for the Orioles should they overtake the Yankees and win the AL East. Where are they going?
For God sakes, don’t make us the NFL or the NBA
Major League Baseball needs to be very careful if they insist on making baseball like football. Because parity, by definition, means the middle of the pack. And who really wants the middle when it comes to the playoffs?
I mean, am I supposed to get excited about a playoff series featuring the Twin against the Astros when I know full well that the Indians should be in that spot as they are this weekend in a must watch series with the Astros.
This picture is bigger than the Yankees, and it should have nothing to do with them. Their task is simply to play out the schedule and let the chips fall where they may. Based on what I’ve seen, the Yankees have earned their first place standing.
In the Yankees storied history, twenty-five of their home runs stand out as moments in time never to be forgotten and always treasured by baseball fans.
The Red Sox and the Blue Jays are mere whispers of what they were supposed to be. That’s not the fault of either the Yankees or the Orioles. Instead, it’s because the marketers of MLB haven’t yet achieved their goal to make all teams equal.