The MLB Third Quarter Report: Great Story Lines in San Diego and Atlanta

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The MLB Third Quarter Report: Great Story Lines in San Diego and Atlanta
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The 2010 MLB season has really been great. With 17 out of 30 teams at or above .500, I have to admit that a form of parity does exist as I am seeing that form on the field.

And the surprises have been what have made this a great season.

The San Diego Padres, with a payroll ripped apart by the divorce of their owners, have been at the top of the National League all season. The Padres were even buyers at the trade deadline as they brought in the bat of Ryan Ludwick to help their lone superstar hitter in Adrian Gonzalez.

The pitching of the Padres has been amazing all year long and the main reason they have avoided any long losing streaks as they have put San Francisco and Colorado in their rear-view mirror.

LA Dodger fans should expect their team to be competitive through the looming divorce of their owners.

The National League is full of great story lines in the other two divisions as well.

In Bobby Cox's last season, the Atlanta Braves have been out in front of the Philadelphia Phillies for most of the summer. The injury to Chipper Jones was a real shame as it might be a career ender.

It is simply amazing that Cox has managed Jones for his whole career. That would have to be the exception that proves the rule that coaches and managers are hired to be fired.

The Cincinnati Reds have been a real nice story as well. The Reds have been a dark horse pick for a few years now and they have kept it together as the season has reached the dog days. They survived the sweep by the St. Louis Cardinals and showed a ton of grit in what was a real brawl in a baseball game between the two rivals.

Most baseball fights are like a party where no chicks show up.

The American League has the Texas Rangers for their nice storyline. In a year when the LA Angels looked to be ripe for the taking, the Rangers have gone out and taken the AL West.

The Tamp Bay Rays look to be the Wild Card team and they are truly a loaded team. From manager Joe Madden, to their ace pitcher David Price, to their potent line-up, the Rays have everything in place for another deep run in the post season.

The Boston Red Sox have been a nice story as they have dealt with an incredible amount of injuries and found a way to stay competitive.

The American League East is a monster division. The Baltimore Orioles have a new skipper in Buck Showalter, but they seem to be years from competing for anything more than fourth place.

Thank goodness Cleveland landed in the AL Central when the league realigned. The Indians are in the process of rebuilding and might be a good team in a few more years.

That is my complaint about the lack of parity in that the same teams always seem to be on top of their divisions, and the little guys like Cleveland have these tiny windows where they can rise up and utterly rip out the hearts of their fans.

I still am upset with Jose Mesa, thirteen years later. Tony Fernandez could have made that play too.

It could be worse, the Pirates are setting records with their prolonged run of futility. And then there are the Chicago Cubs. Not even a great baseball man like Lou Piniella could guide them to the promised land and now he is moving on to the next part of his life.

Sweet Lou will be missed.

I should have been a Yankee fan, those guys always win and they should beat the National League team in the fifth game of the 2010 World Series.

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