Thursday, April 4, 2013

Signor Baseball's 2013 AL Preview

For a moment, please stop sharpening your spikes, greasing your mitt, and boning your bat, because it's time for Signor Baseball's 2013 American League preview:

In the East, is this the year the Evil Empire finally crashes and burns? Boy, it sure looks like it. These days, just putting on a Yankee uniform makes you eligible for Medicare. Jeter, Teixeira, Granderson, and Hughes, are all hurt. And let's not forget A-Rod who is contractually owed the equivalent of the GDP for sub-Saharan Africa, who is recovering from yet another surgery, and whose production has fallen off so drastically it makes grown men weep. Grown men named Steinbrenner, at least. All in all, a tough way for Mariano Rivera to go out. Remember, "life isn't fair." If, and it's a bigger "if" than even Kipling could imagine, if the Yankees can somehow hang in there, it could be a five team race well into September. Toronto bought out the Marlin fire sale, Baltimore looks like they are for real, Tampa is still loaded with talent, and the Red Sox have to be better than the Bobby Valentine debacle made them look. Don't they? Any of these teams could finish first--or last. Or anywhere in between. So...allow an old man a final wish: to see Mr. Rivera on the mound, saving meaningful games in last time. Because when he's gone, there won't be another like him.

In the Central, everybody is playing for second place behind Detroit. Except the Twins, who will be playing not to finish last. Even though they looked bad in the Series, the Tigers are still ahead of the rest of the division in talent--especially starting pitching. The five year rebuilding plan in Kansas City has gone on for most of a decade--but finally seems to be yielding results, though probably not enough to catch Detroit. In Chicago they will try to put last year's late season floundering behind them. This is sometimes easier said than done. And according to the laws of probability, Cleveland has to get better eventually...I think. In the meantime, Mark Reynolds has brought his "feast or famine, but mostly famine" act to the shores of Lake Eerie. And, if things get too ugly, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is still a short walk from Jacobs Field. Up in Lake Woebegone, the Twins opened up a nice, new, ballpark just in time for the team to completely fall apart. Life is funny like that...

Out West, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim spent a fortune last year with nothing much to show for it. They got out the checkbook again in the off season and this year it will pay off. Maybe. Maybe not. The recent history of big spending teams has been spotty, to say the least. In Oakland, the A's are experts at working and winning with very little money. Perhaps it's time to let Billy Beane have a go at the Federal deficit...Down Texas way, the Rangers had their chances the last few years and blew them. Now, they will have to scramble to be in the Wild Card race. In Seattle, the Mariners are getting better, but don't look nearly strong enough to compete in this division. And finally, what is there to say about the newest members of the American League, the Houston Astros? Nothing at all.

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