Parody is a week of articles and comments around garbage cans, buzzers, lids and wires, fakes nieces and something called a “burner account” on what I understand is known as a “Twitter”. Where there’s smoke, apparently there’s Fiers and Jessica Mendoza is not pleased. Well enough of that for now.
Parity. It’s what the American League lacked in 2019 as the halves and have nots left a ginormous donut hole in the center of its win graph. Superteams like the “Bangin’-Buzzin’ Astros,” your Oakland A’s, the Twins, Yankees, Rays, and Indians, posted between 93-107 wins. The hapless Orioles (54 wins) were outdone by the even more hapless Royals (59 wins) and Tigers (47 wins). Oh my.
The bottom line? Only the Boston Red Sox won between 73 and 93 games, finishing at a stunningly neither-great-nor-awful 84-78. More than half of the teams, 8 out of 15, either won or lost at least 97 games. It doesn’t make for the best theater, but it also may have been a one-year thing.
Are there signs that some of the best teams are poised to begin declining, and that a few of the “have nots” are on “will be’s”...maybe even “are’s”? It enough to make you add aspostrophes just to make sure readers can decipher what the heck you’re saying.
Exhibit A might be the Chicago White Sox, coming off of a 72-89 season but who appear to be on the rise. Fortunes can shift quickly and you have to think the White Sox will come into spring training with aspirations of taking a big leap into the playoff picture.
Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez join Lucas Giolito at the top of Chicago’s starting rotation, Yasmani Grandahl has arrived, Jose Abreu is staying, Nomar Mazara is added, Yoan Moncada is coming off of a terrific breakout season and Luis Robert is on the way.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays are hoping that Hyun-Jin Ryu and Tanner Roark add pitching credibility to a lineup full of exciting sons: Vlad Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette, and one sibling (Lourdes Gurriel Jr.), all of whom have potential to impact the game.
It’s unclear how fall the Astros might fall in the standings as they fall from grace, but the losses of Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley, and Will Harris are real, the losses of their manager and GM are an organizational blow, and it’s anybody’s guess what toll the scandal will take on the players throughout the season — or how much their stats will be affected by having to guess pitches along with the rest of us.
The Indians won 93 games only thanks to the extreme ineptitude of the AL Central’s bottom three teams, most notably the Tigers who served as Cleveland’s personal female dog all season to the tune of 17 straight head-to-head losses. It remains to be seen whether the Indians continue to be contenders or whether they slip into the mediocrity they have already showed when not gifted games within their division.
Which teams do you foresee surprising with their success, or fading fast from the “haves” list? And do you see a year of greater parity ahead, or another season in which the majority of clubs are either winning or losing 97+? Comment now because if you’re like me, your predictions and $3.95 will get you a latte.