Steve’s Mid-Summer Classic Update (only $39 a post!)

Originally posted on “Is It Sports?” by Steve. I still didn’t have faith in the White Sox yet, but at least I predicted a playoff series win this time. This is about when the old site started to fall apart…I started running out of time to post new things. The original post title had the little ESPN insider graphic next to it to add to the joke.

Hey, remember me? I know I’ve gone a long time without posting on here, but I’m still the man behind Is It Sports? All the pretty colors, pictures, and formatting is my work. So since I don’t want to become Ryan’s personal webmaster yet, I figured I’d recap the baseball season so far and check out how my original predictions are doing. But….

Nah, we definitely would never do something like that to you. Thank you, ESPN.com for coming up with a way to swindle people out of money for what are usually ridiculous rumors that you make up. Maybe we can follow that model when we finally crack 4 digits in hits…haha. But here’s my recap for real this time:

AL EAST – The collapse and now rise of the Yankees has had a lot of people scratching their heads this season. They were left for dead and now all of the sudden sit 2.5 games behind the Red Sox and 2 games behind the A’s for the Wild Card. I’m still sticking to my guns and saying they get in the playoffs, because they’ll make the big move, Boston doesn’t have that magic going for them, and the upstart Orioles are still a year away (if the old guys can stay healthy). The Blue Jays have surprised me greatly and the Rays are so miserable that I’m highly embarrassed about picking them 4th in the division.

AL CENTRAL – Everyone, including myself, doubted me about my pick for the Sox to win the division, but they’re still going strong and somehow have an amazing ability to win close games. Frank Thomas has clearly gone completely insane, with his quest for 500 career homers leading to having 12 this season in only 105 AB, and lets not forget he only had 8 singles while batting only .219 before flaming out and breaking his ankle again. The emergence of Jermaine Dye as someone that actually helps the team has been extremely helpful. Like Ryan said, A.J. Pierzynski has done a phenomenal job managing the pitching staff, even making an All-Star out of Jon Garland. As far as the rest of the division goes, well the Twins are still hanging in the wild card race, even though they’ve been falling fast and didn’t get any deadline deals done, almost like a White-Flag Non-Trade. The Indians have done better than I expected, but still have a very strong chance of just being another .500 team. And the Tigers still seem to have a quest to finish .500 confused with a quest for a division title. It’s funny to live here and hear the coverage on them. It’s like they talk like the Tigers should be awarded the division title just for having a mediocre year. All I have to say about the Royals is that the Sox were 10-0 against them this year before finally dropping 2 horrendous games against them in KC.

AL WEST – The A’s have absolutely came out of nowhere this season and look like a team on a mission. They really have the White Sox number this year, so a playoff appearance by them scares the hell out of me….In fact I’m almost sure it will happen, and that will be the end of the Sox amazing run. My pick of the Angels as division champs looks a little shaky right now, but I would almost prefer they drop it and let the Yankees or Red Sox try to cool off the red hot A’s first.

NL EAST – How about those Nats? Wow I was way wrong on this pick, but I’m glad in a lot of ways. A recent slide by them has thrown the perennial (forever and ever and ever) division champs the Braves into the top spot, and who didn’t see this coming? People try to write them off every single year but they just keep winning. And I know Kevin liked to knock my pick of Dave Miley as manager of the year (if the Reds were any good at all, he would have got it), but of course he didn’t mention anything about Andruw Jones as my MVP pick, which was totally going out on a limb since he’s probably not even the best player on the Braves. I’m not saying he’ll win it, but he has a good shot at finishing at least 3rd in the voting after Pujols and Lee. Also, my worst pick by far was my surprise HR Derby contestant, Carlos Pena of the Tigers, who has been playing for the Toledo Mudhens all season. Let’s not forget to mention that every team here is above .500 and all are contenders still for both the division title and wild card race, but I have a strong feeling that level of competition will lead to too much parity with the Cubs or Astros taking the last playoff spot.

NL CENTRAL – Cardinals Domination. Need I say more? Sure their lead isn’t as big as the White Sox, but nothing is stopping them from being in the playoffs again this season. The Astros have decided to step on the gas almost immediately after I traded Roy Oswalt and Lnace Berkman to my friend Jimmy in fantasy, but that’s fine with me as long as their keeping the Cubs out of the wild card. Speaking of which, the Cubs lack of absolute success that I predicted against the Brewers, Pirates, and Reds have lead to them only hovering around .500. If they were able to beat these crap teams more often (only 6-7 against Milwaukee) they’d be right in the hunt. I can’t help but root for the True Blue Brew Crew this season. They have a winning record against the Cubs, they traded a key piece of the White Sox playoff puzzle (Scott Podsednik) and the got an infamous Cub killer and fan favorite on the South Side (Carlos Lee) in return to terrorize the Cubs and the rest of the NL on a more regular basis. I’ll use my 5th amendment privilege on the Pirates and Reds, though I may see the Pirates play in Pittsburgh later this summer.

NL WEST – ugh….This division represents all that is wrong with baseball. Hopefully justice will be served and whoever wins this all sub-.500 crapfest gets swept in the first round by the Braves or Cardinals.

Here are my mid-season picks, though at the end of the year, feel free to hold me to my pre-season ones:

AL Playoffs
White Sox (C) over Red Sox (WC)
Yankees (E) over A’s (W)
Yankees over White Sox

AL Awards
MVP – Alex Rodriguez, New York
Cy Young – Mark Buehrle, Chicago
Manager – Ozzie Guillen, Chicago

NL Playoffs
Cardinals (C) over Albuquerque Isotopes (W, all 5 teams will drop below .450 and they’ll be awarded the title)
Astros (WC) over Braves (E)
Cardinals over Astros

NL Awards
MVP – Albert Pujols, St. Louis
Cy Young – Roger Clemen
s, Houston
Manager – Frank Robinson, Washington

World Series
Cardinals over Yankees (sticking to my pick)

Well that’s my update, a half month late, but hey, this site is free. – Steve