Oct 11

MLB first-half thoughts

From July 12, 2006. It should be noted that I despise the All-Star break.
The first half has ended. Actually, the All-Gay Break is almost over, and I’m just now posting my first-half thoughts. Naughty me.
Still surprised: I still feel weird seeing Detroit atop the AL Central, and indeed with the best record in all of the majors. Am I the only one who still finds this strange? Honestly, I figured Chicago would be back in the running for a shot at a repeat. (Of course, the Sox are closing in on the Tigers, but more about that later…)
No surprise in the NL Central: Who else but the Cards would head into the break with a 4-game lead?
Weakness and Power in the Wests: Okay, sure, they’re the 2 weakest divisions (at least based on their leaders) but I do like how tight things are in both the AL West and the NL West. It provides a nice balance for some of the divisions that are way out of hand (like the AL Central).
Not the fucking worst anymore: I’d like to thank Pittsburgh for sucking just a little bit extra these last couple weeks. It really makes me feel better about being a Royals fan (also more about them later…). I also think it’s silly that the worst team in baseball played host to the All-Star festivities.
Pujols: I just love him. If it weren’t for that damn stint on the DL, he’d be sockin’ more dingers than anyone, and more importantly, the single-season record would be all his. Maybe next year.
And now, a couple quick predictions for the 2nd half:
The Royals won’t suck: Seriously. With DeJesus back and hitting pretty hot, the new GM, and most of all the new hitting coach, KC has been playing some pretty respectable ball. They’ll keep doing it in the 2nd half, especially with Greinke and MacDougal coming back. (Sweeney’s coming back soon too, but I don’t really know what to think of that. Where the fuck will they put him?) It would be neat if KC can hang on to Grudzielanek for the rest of the season (his contract is for 1 full season, but there are rumors that he’ll be traded by the July 31 deadline…and with his 1.000 fielding percentage, I could see why other teams would come knocking for him).
Everyone’s been hitting better (the team has hit at least one double in the last 30 consecutive games, woo!), and the defense has been tight as a nun–have you seen the way my boys have been turning every single double play lately? That’s golden. Mark Teahen will continue to improve both offensively and defensively, and Tony Graffanino will continue to be quietly AWESOME. (I nominate him as the best utility player ever!)
The Tigers will cool off: I’m not exactly saying they won’t make it to the playoffs, but there’s no way a non-dynasty type of team can hang on to a lead like this forever. I expect the White Sox to close in on them very soon, and make waves for them in the postseason.
Jim Thome is awesome: Well, that’s not really a prediction, but it usually end up happening anyway. He’s one of my favorite non-Royals players ever.
Movin’ on Down: Angel Berroa is now just 5th in the majors in GIDP (he used to be 3rd). Scott Elarton no longer leads the majors in homers allowed. I take these as good signs. Also, the Royals do have more wins than they are games behind–that took a while to do, but dammit, we got it now.
All in all, I just can’t wait for the 2nd half to hurry up and start. The all-star break is the longest freakin 3 days of every year!!

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