MLB Week in Review (June 30-July 6)

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The all-star game is something that many of the major sports have yet to grasp and yet to make into something special. They are the display of talent for each league and has become a staple in every season. There is one thing that also unites these games as there is little interest in any of the games. Whether it is played in the middle of the season or the end of the season none of the leagues have been able to make the game interesting to the fans. The tickets will sell out at the stadium for most of the leagues but the challenge is attracting a TV audience. The challenge is that many people are not invested in the game because realistically there is nothing riding on the game. Until a regular season game the all-star game means nothing for many of the leagues and that makes many fans forget about the game completely. The best example of a failed All-Star game is in the NFL where the league that can seemingly do everything right have yet to make the Pro Bowl a viable game. Then there is the opposite end of the spectrum in the MLB as they have looked to change the game into something important. The MLB is not known for their changes in the league but they made one very big one in 2003. This I the year that MLB commissioner Bud Selig announced that the MLB All-Star Game would now mean something. Instead of just being a highlight reel the all-star game would now be reward the winning league with home field advantage in the World Series. This is a major shift in the thought process of the all-star game. The all-star game would actually mean something for the MLB which would hopefully have a domino effect on the game. It would all start with the players as the top players in the league would now be playing for an advantage in the World Series. For many of these players this would not be much of an issue as many would be and are not thinking of the World Series halfway through the season. For some of the players though the World Series is still a possibility and that means they should be playing a little harder to ensure that they can get home field advantage if they make the World Series. If the players did play harder for the game then the fans would watch as well. This is the main problem with these games as fans don’t care because the players don’t care. No fan wants to see superstars give it 50% in a game because it does not create excitement. With players hopefully playing for something the fans would see better plays and a higher level of game. This would attract more fans to watch the game. So far this plan has been successful as the All-Star game in the MLB has been much more successful than most All-Star games. Next week this system will be in place again as the American League All-Stars will take on the National League All-Stars in the Midsummer Classic. The National League has recently taking control once again in the All-Star game as they have won the last two games after losing 7 in a row. A big part of this is the end of the steroid era and the return of the pitchers. The National League is the home of the pitchers while the American League is the home of offence. Which one will come out on top this year is up for debate but most fans will just hope for a great game by the best players in the game.

With the All-Star Game upcoming the middle of the season is now here as the second half is just over the horizon. The first half of the season was very unpredictable as usual with teams rising that nobody would think of and some teams falling when they shouldn’t have. At the midway point the teams have that have surprised can be considered legitimate threats or legitimate disappointments. As we look through the league the AL East has not surprised anyone as it is clearly the best division in baseball once again. The big surprise in the East is the Baltimore Orioles who have hung on at #2 and are in the mix for a potential playoff spot. They did get overtaken though which many believed would happen as the Yankees continue to sit at the top of the division with every other team above or at .500. In the AL Central the White Sox have been the powerhouse with the Indians doing their best to try to make it a race. The Tigers have been a big disappointment this year as they were expected to dominate the Central but have struggled to stay above .500. In the West the Rangers have continued to dominate but look to be slowing down with the Angels catching up and beginning to make a push that could lead to a great second half race. The rest of the division has predictably struggled to keep up as the A’s and Mariners continue their woes. In the National League the East is also a major power with the Washington Nationals continuing to stay on top of the division and the NL. The Mets have made a push but are far from the Nats and are likely in for a good race for the wild card. The Phillies have been the biggest disappointment sitting in the basement of the East. In the Central sits one of the biggest surprises in the season with the Pittsburgh Pirates sitting at the top of the division and hoping to avoid a second half fall like last year. The Cards and Reds are in hot pursuit of the Pirates and will be looking to apply major pressure as the season continues. In the NL West The Dodgers have slowed much like the Rangers as the Giants have begun to catch up to them and are looking to make it a race. The West looks to be a two-horse race in the second half with the Padres, D-Backs, and Rockies all struggling. The second half will be entertaining as teams begin to look at the postseason in earnest. Teams will make moves and teams will begin to position themselves as the second half approaches. With it comes the playoff race and the first year of the double wild card spot. It will be a great second half of the season with plenty to look out for as teams creep closer to the end of the season.


MLB Standings

American League


1. New York Yankees (.610)

2. Baltimore Orioles (.542)

3. Tampa Bay Rays (.524)

4. Boston Red Sox (.506)

5. Toronto Blue Jays (.500)


1. Chicago White Sox (.554)

2. Cleveland Indians (.518)

3. Detroit Tigers (.500)

4. Kansas City Royals (.451)

5. Minnesota Twins (.434)


1. Texas Rangers (.595)

2. Los Angeles Angels (.548)

3. Oakland Athletics (.500)

4. Seattle Mariners (.412)


National League


1. Washington Nationals (.593)

2. New York Mets (.536)

3. Atlanta Braves (.530)

4. Miami Marlins (.494)

5. Philadelphia Phillies (.435)


1. Pittsburgh Pirates (.554)

2. Cincinnati Reds (.542)

3. St. Louis Cardinals (.524)

4. Milwaukee Brewers (.470)

5. Chicago Cubs (.386)

6. Houston Astros (.381)


1. Los Angeles Dodgers (.553)

2. San Francisco Giants (.548)

3. Arizona Diamondbacks (.482)

4. San Diego Padres (.400)

5. Colorado Rockies (.386)


Key Scores:

Minnesota Twins 7 – 2 Kansas City Royals

– In the first game of a double-header the Twins were able to get a win against another struggling team in the Kansas City Royals who could only muster two runs all game thanks to a solid outing by the Twins’ pitching staff


Tampa Bay Rays 4 – 3 New York Yankees

– One of the more recent rivalries in the league pits the Rays and Yankees against each other as the Rays got the best of the pinstripes this time around with the Yankees at the top of the standings and the Rays looking to climb up


Chicago White Sox 5 – 4 Texas Rangers (10th)

– Kevin Youkilis made an impact on his new team after being traded from the Red Sox to the White Sox and helped them beat the Texas Rangers hitting a walk off single n the 10th inning to help the Sox stay atop the Central


New York Yankees 10 – 8 Boston Red Sox

– Although these two teams are at opposite ends of the AL East standings the rivalry still goes on with the Yankees taking the win over the Red Sox thanks to a big 4-run 7th inning and a good performance by their bullpen


Next Week:

Home Run Derby (Monday July 9th; 8:00 pm ET)

–  A staple of the All-Star break sees the most powerful hitters face off in the Home Run Derby with Matt Kemp, Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Beltran, Giancarlo Stanton, Robinson Cano, Mark Trumbo, Prince Fielder, and Jose Bautista vying for the title of HR King


MLB All-Star Game: AL vs. NL (Tuesday July 10th; 7:30 pm ET)

– The American League takes on the National League in yet another Midsummer Classic as the AL looks to end their two-year losing streak at the hands of the NL to earn home field advantage in the World Series

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