Time flies when you're enjoying a competitive, well-played baseball season. As you peruse the standings, cast last-minute All-Star Game ballots and take in vital series, the 2014 campaign has officially reached the 12-week mark.
With 25 of 30 clubs within six games of postseason position, the next 15 weeks of regular-season action are shaping up to be a wire-to-wire race for coveted seats in October. With the big picture in mind, it's instructive to react and opine on a weekly basis. If that's what you're looking for, this column is perfect for you.
When this column series began 10 weeks ago, rises from the Milwaukee Brewers, Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Abreu dominated the early season takeaways. Before long, pitching dominance in Atlanta and Albert Pujols' return to form headlined the week.
Eight weeks ago, Pujols' 500th homer, Troy Tulowitzki's special talent and Cliff Lee's path to Cooperstown took center stage. Seven weeks ago, it was time for an appreciation of the Oakland Athletics' AL West dominance, Francisco Rodriguez's revival and Jayson Werth's value.
Most recently, it covered Edwin Encarnacion's power surge, a comprehensive take on two months of action, a reflection on Don Zimmer's ultimate baseball life and a chronicle of Tim Hudson's case for Cooperstown.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the first 12 weeks of the 2014 MLB season.