Every MLB season, the All-Star break is viewed as the halfway point of the 162 games season. Even with still a lot of baseball to play, this is the time when a team’s reputation and attitude have been backed by enough play on the field.
At this point, there are the obvious observations that only a miracle could change, but there are many more what if’s than anything.
Now, I have gotten way ahead of myself, in predicting seven headlines that fans might be reading at this 2011 season’s half-time. The headlines, in no specific order, are the forecasts, while the summaries below give the present reasons why each lead could be future news.
1. New York Mess: Finally Cleaning Up The Mets
No one from the fans to the players expect much out the New York Mets until 2012. Still, Citi-Field’s atmosphere certainly feels different, with a new GM and Skipper.
Even without Santana, the Mets have the pieces and it’s about time the puzzle started coming together.
The team should be more relaxed, respectful and the players’ natural competitiveness to win, as that’s what pro athletes like to do, could actually do just that. My bet is 2011 will be a nice surprise for Mets
fans, to finally get some genuine hope.
2. Twins, White Sox, Tigers – AL Central Looks To Be A Fight To The Finish
The AL Central will be a tight three-team race that should continue till the end. This division did have to have a tiebreaker back in 2009, when the Tigers lost to the Twins in a literal baseball dual.
Definitely throw the White Sox back in mix for 2011. If the AL Central didn’t house the Royals and Indians, it could rival the AL East for toughest division.
3. Perfection Or Bust: Philadelphia Phillies Aiming For Better Second Half
Now, the 2011 season is a World Series or bust situation. Lee came to win; the Phillies broke the bank to get Lee in order to win; which makes leading the NL East at the All-Star break by a half-game completely
unacceptable. Phillies should only lose every fifth game and they might have to start to if they get behind the Marlins and Mets.
The Phillies should effortlessly win a minimum of 98 games or else the Lee signing will look like a failure. Lucky for Philly fans the team always plays better post-All-Star break.
4. Jeter Still Finished? No Way As The New York Yankee Captain Is Proving Everybody Wrong
Hopefully, Jeter will earn the well overdue respect from all who have criticized this man’s every move.
Jeter is moving all right, but it isn’t away from shortstop, as Jeter has taken his off-season workout up a few notches. He is already in Tampa, and amped-up for the start of Spring Training.
5. Giants Are Struggling Out In San Francisco
The Reigning Champs felt so good in 2010, that they did nothing in the off-season. Why mess up a good thing?
Well, reality bites and the Giants will realize that winning the World Series once is just good timing, but repeating is what makes a team truly worth keeping together. It is presumable that their young pitchers will have growing pains as a group. The bats can’t not score runs like last year, but Posey and Huff have to lead the way. Also, Cody Ross will prove to be a postseason fluke or a legit player??
Lucky the NL West is home to D-backs, Padres who pose no threat this season. Still, Giants are not in the clear as the Colorado Rockies have the complete package, while the Dodgers will either be much better than expected, or embarrassingly awful.
Jayson Werth wasn’t treated well after appearing in two and winning one World Series with the Phillies. The team was reluctant to sign Werth, not seeming to care if he stayed or went elsewhere.
Werth is now spearheading the Nationals, a team with a big future. Werth will have to have a mentor mindset and I expect Werth to post his best career numbers. Werth’s motivation is easy; keep the Phillies wondering why they ever let him go in the first place all season long, as Nat and Phillies are both in the NL East.
Maybe signing Ryan Howard to a monster contract a year early, instead of finishing out the current one, which in turn would have abled-keeping Werth, would have been smarter move. Dominic Brown will have typical rookie struggles, but last season Brown did not live up to all the talk or just cheap hype.
7. Baseball In Baltimore: Camden Yard Filled With O’s Fans Again
Camden Yard should be fuller with every home game that is if the Orioles stay alive in the tortuously hard AL East.
Alive in this division means the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays have not completely wiped the field with the O’s heads like in the past five years.
The O’s should to play above .500 baseball under skipper Buck Showalter, who just won’t tolerate the O’s players acting like losers anymore.
BONUS….3 Headlines That Just Came To:
Just a few more to contemplate over……don’t think I am naive, as I know these are long-shots.
Still, I wouldn’t be shocked to see a few of these or a close resemblance grace the covers of the sports sections; or running along the ESPN SportsCenter ticker.
8. Seattle Is No Place For A King: Mariners Should Trade Felix Hernandez
9. AL West: Most Competitively Mediocre Division In Baseball
10. Red Sox vs. Yankees: Rebirth Renews Rivalry
- MLB Hot Stove: The Fantastic Four of a Crazy Offseason (bleacherreport.com)
- New York Yankees: Now Go Get Your Money’s Werth (ladylovespinstripes.com)
- Hot Stove Tracker: Jays could have interest in Michael Young (sportingnews.com)
- 2011 MLB Season Preview: Lady Loves Pinstripes Preliminary Power Rankings (ladylovespinstripes.com)
- Hot Stove Tracker: A’s could make a run at Figgins (sportingnews.com)
- MLB: Nationals, Werth agree to big deal (denverpost.com)