MLB 2008: First Half Highs and Lows

Greg CookseyCorrespondent IJuly 9, 2008

So here we are at the mid way point of the MLB season and just as always there has been plenty to talk about. I have broken some of the bigger stories of this season so far down into three different categories, The Good, The Disappointing , and The Ugly.

Without further delay, here is the first half the way that I have seen it.


The Good

1. Josh Hamilton

Just an amazing story. Anyone who read the Sports Illustrated article knows what he went through during some scary times in his life.

Now, after he has overcome his adversity, he has established himself as one of the best players in the game, and could be running down a Triple Crown. Can you say MVP? There is an entire half of the season to be played, however, it could be a matter of time before Hamilton is.

2. The Tampa Bay Rays

Let me guess, you saw this one coming back when training camp opened, right? If you truly did, then congrats to you, because none of the rest of us did.

However, it looks like the Rays are for real, and not looking back this time. Sure, they have had seasons in the past where they were out of the race by this time.

But now with youngsters like Evan Longoria, James Shields, Scott Kazmir, and Dioner Navarro playing well, along with Carl Crawford and even Erik Hinske  playing well, they have gone from being the red headed step child in the AL East, to possibly making the playoffs this year. 

Plus, they believe. Get used to seeing them. The fact that they have the number one rated farm system entering this season bodes well for them for the future too.

If you are looking for a feel good story in baseball this season look no further then Hamilton and the Rays.

Chipper Jones flirting with a .400 batting average, Lance Berkman with the All-Star season he is having in Houston, and Cliff Lee, who last year looked like he was just as lost as anyone, coming back to be one of the bright spots for the Indians with his 11-2 record and Cy Young award candidate talks, are also good noteworhty stories.

The Disappointing

1. Willie Randolph and the Mets

Yes, I know the team has recently gotten themselves back into the NL East race, but are you really that big of a believer in this team? This is a team that spent the first month or so not playing well, the pitcher they were relying the most on was hurt in his first start, they were tearing each other down in the media, and looking terrible on the field.

On top of all that, they go and fire their manager at the worse of times, and make a poor excuse for it. I agree that a change had to be made, but I also believe that the Willie Randolph situation was handled poorly and very unprofessionally by the team.

Jerry Manuel may be just starting to get the team back together, but I will not be on the bandwagon. I still think it's the Marlins or Phillies the race will come down to. Then again, if any team through out the history of baseball has shown the capability to comeback from adversity it's the Mets. I hope I am wrong about this take, but if I am a Mets fan, I'm not going to be very optimistic.

2. The Detroit Tigers

They were supposed to have the most prolific offense in baseball, to this point they have had anything but that. Jim Leyland has had to do some tinkering around with the lineup, but is finally starting to see what he and the rest of the front office  envisoned when they made the trade that brought them Miguel Cabrera, and Dontrelle Willis.

I would expect them to make a run at the division title, but it will be a uphill battle with the Twins and White Sox. A wild card is probably more attainable.

The Ugly

1. The Cleveland Indians

What on earth happened? This was supposed to be a very promising season after a sickening ending to last year. It has been the direct opposite for this team. Their ace C.C Sabathia is gone to the Brewers with more moves possibly coming. The team and it's fans are now looking to next year.

2. The Seattle Mariners

Again, another team that was supposed to compete this season and went downward immediately. Their big acquisition Eric Bedard has had all kinds of problems, both their manager and general manager have bitten the dust. The fans are now forced to look towards next season.

So there you have it, the first half of the 2008 Major League Baseball season the way I see it. I look forward to would should be an excellent all-star game and on to the playoffs and World Series.