Also, before, I get going today, let me welcome Japan into the AP Baseball international fold. Also, while India has been previously welcomed, I have noticed more hits coming from that region. I'm not entirely sure why, but I'll take it. Maybe it has to do with a growing baseball scene in India. I'd read a bit about it before today, but it still surprises me. I figured cricket had a stranglehold on ball-and-bat sports there, but I suppose when you've got over a billion people in a relatively small space,* there's room for variety.
*I know, India is the seventh largest country in the world, it's not small by any means. But to cram a billion people in there? Not that big. For comparison, the US is just over 3.5 million square miles. India is 1.1 million square miles. The US population is listed at 313,674,000 on Wikipedia. India is at 1.2 billion.
Anyway, I think it's more than overdue to get back to sports. Baseball in particular. We're going to ease back into things here and just reset the season through the first 55 games or so.
First, in baseball the way God intended it in the National League. In the East, the Nationals are much improved. This wasn't too hard to see, but you would be forgiven if you thought the Marlins were the real story of the East from following big media. I've actually been surprised the Marlins have done as well as they have. I knew that would be improved, but I thought the Nationals would outclass them. I suppose that could still happen, but they find themselves tied atop the division right now. On the other end of the spectrum, you knew age and injuries would catch up to the Phillies eventually. It seems to have hit this year. They're still sitting at .500, but that's not going to be good enough in a surprisingly strong division. The real surprise there? The Mets. Terrible last year, and didn't make any huge changes. Abracadabra, they're seven games over .500 and finally have a no-no in their franchise history. Who would have thought? Nobody from what I read.
In my home division, the Central, things are pretty much like you'd expect. The Reds are not a surprise leader. The Cardinals and Pirates are in the hunt. I've been harping on people who still don't see Pittsburgh as a good baseball team. They had a pretty rough second half of the season last year, but don't forget that they were only a game out of first at the All-Star Break last year. They're going to put two halves together here, sooner rather than later. To that point, the Indianapolis Indians are leading their division right now with the second best record in the International League. Help is on the way to Pittsburgh. Again, on the other end of the things, the Cubs have pretty well confirmed my worst fears and fallen deeply into last place. The Astros, currently in fifth, are almost closer to first than they are to last. I'm afraid if you give it a few weeks, that will be the case.
Out West, the Dodgers have been slumping, but they still have the best record in baseball, so it's hard to feel too bad for them. I do feel bad for Matt Kemp, though. Dude is a stud, but can't stay on the field this year. Hopefully he'll take his time and heal up right this time. Better to miss extra games in June and July than in October. Of course, October might not matter if the Giants keep charging. I started to write how I wasn't sure if the wild card would come out of the East or West, but then I remembered the Bud Selig tossed history to the wind. Now I'm sad.
In the American League, well, I don't pay too much attention. Have I mentioned how much I hate the DH? For what it's worth, your division leaders are no surprises. Rays, White Sox, and Rangers. The Angels are coming back a little bit after getting off to a bad start. The East is all being played within three games. The Central's big surprise is how the Tigers have done jack squat. Cleveland is off to another good start, and I want to believe in them. I'm a bit gun-shy after last year, though. But, it's whatever. All I really want out of the AL is for Toronto or Baltimore to make the playoffs. Or both. But, I have a feeling the playoffs are going to come down to "Can anybody beat the Rangers?"
That's it for today. Maybe something a little more thought out tomorrow. I'm thinking maybe Josh Hamilton related, though that story seems to have died down a bit during the short (and unexpected) hiatus. Now I have to go pee in a cup to prove I don't do drugs. I'm hoping that means a job offer is coming. Keep your fingers crossed.