It's the most wonderful time of the year for a baseball fan. Unless, of course, you are a Cleveland Indian fan, who expected their team to be in a much better position than they are now.
All I can do is sigh at this point. I'm excited for baseball's postseason, but after getting a taste of my team being in a postseason race, it feels like something is missing.
College football is nice, and the explosive first Sunday of NFL football is great as well, but I long for the heat of the race to October.
I did get to experience some playoff baseball last weekend, but not the kind you would think of. Travis Hafner went on a rehab assignment with the Akron Aeros, the AA team of the Cleveland Indians.
The Aeros were in the heat of the Eastern League Divisional Series, and Hafner pretty much put them over the edge.
Seeing how I got a discount as a student at the University of Akron, I figured I'd mosey on over and see how “Pronk” was progressing.
The atmosphere wasn't exactly electric, and considering I got there five minutes late and still got to sit behind the home dugout, I'd say the crowd wasn't really packed.
The Aeros won, and Hafner looked good, but the game resembled that of a late-September Florida Marlins game, not a playoff game.
I guess I'll just have to wait till next year. Not like I'm not used to it, being a fan of the Cleveland Indians.
What's Making Me Hold My Vote
Being a fan of a team in the A.L. Central, I have a close eye on the race between Minnesota and Chicago.
I cast my early vote for Dustin Pedroia, or at least said I'd consider him last week when I talked about the mighty, but small, second baseman.
However, I will tell you this. When you talk about the devastating injury to White Sox's left fielder Carlos Quentin, depending on the White Sox's performance down the stretch here, you could cast a vote for Carlos Quentin.
Where would their offense be without the likes of him, Alexei Ramriez, and Joe Crede, who is also injured and likely to miss the rest of the season?
If the White Sox sink due to the injury of Quentin, you could legitimately make a case for the MVP award to go to Carlos Quentin, could you not?
Granted, his numbers are stuck where they are, but wouldn't it say more if his team's offense started to sputter without his presence in the lineup?
It’s just something for you to consider when you are deciding whom to vote for come this October in the AL MVP category.
What's Making Me Talk About the Cy Young
We have two races to discuss when you bring up the Cy Young award. One race, in my mind, is already over and it’s more of a jog for one guy, while the other is more of a spring, in which the larger of the two competitors is mysteriously creeping up.
Cliff Lee is playing the role of Usain Bolt, as he sprints with his arms up in the air to the finish line. I don't think there is anyone worthy of gaining a vote over the 21-game winner for the Tribe.
I may be a little biased, but can anyone make a legitimate argument for an award that is not subject to the limitations that the MVP is? This is an award for the best player at the position of pitcher. Cliff Lee is head-and-heels above everyone at his position.
Lee has the most wins, the best ERA, and just puts out dominating performance after dominating performance. How impressive is it to watch him pitch? Trust me; if you aren't an Indians fan, you need to check out a game before the year ends. Watch Cliff Lee pitch, and it will give you a new appreciation of how that position works.
Now, let's move over to the National League, where we all of a sudden have a much closer race.
Brandon Webb was a lock after he got off to an amazing start with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Now, with three straight failed chances to gain 20 wins, and a charge from CC Sabathia, which do you vote for?
A few weeks ago, I would have loved to see CC Sabathia win the award; just out of pure joy for saying I'm a fan of the team that started the year with two Cy Young winners.
But now, I think Webb's struggles could legitimately throw not just Sabathia, but Tim Lincecum into the race here.
What I Am Randomly Thinking About
How about Los Angeles Angels' infielder Sean Rodriguez striking out a 4-2 pitch against the Detroit Tigers. How did that get by everyone? Better yet, I'm surprised it hasn't happened more.
I didn't think a fundamentally-sound team like the Angels would be the one making this type of mistake, but you wonder, in a game that can sort of drag, how come this doesn't happen a lot more?
Speaking of happening a lot more, how about Adrian Beltre and Stephen Drew both hitting for the cycle on the same night. Great stuff, to see a pretty much made-up accomplishment happens like that. I say made up because what significance does hitting for a single, double, a home run, and a triple have on the game?
I mean great, but really, it's more of a difficult fun fact than it is a milestone. Still great to see, anyway you slice it.
Last week closed the book on most of the minor-league seasons, and with that, it ended the time of the Buffalo Bisons as an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Buffalo was a great host for the Tribe's AAA farm team, but it makes so much more sense geographically and financially to make a move to Columbus.
Sad to see a city that legitimately loved the Buffalo Bisons lose their team, but they'll still have baseball, and we can now give fans in Columbus a taste of the Tribe.
What about Doug Melvin's spontaneous proposal of an idea, well, I guess I shouldn't say spontaneous considering it was his pitcher that lost a no-hitter. Melvin wants to bring up a new system for scoring those types of calls at the GM meetings. He wants to add two writers into the mix, and it just makes me ask this question.
How much better are you getting by adding writers—of all people—into the panel? Why not just put a retired or active umpire up there instead. They can travel with the rest of the umpires as a crew, and you wouldn't have any of this hometown bias. What if you have that "hometown" scorekeeper and two writers of the respective teams playing?
If they do a vote, you get the hometown scorer and the hometown writer out voting the other writer. A third-party umpire would be a much better idea if were to purpose a change.
I don't know what series to keep an eye on. I do know the Rays and the Red Sox will be engaging in a crucial series this week, but I have an eye on my fantasy teams. Football hasn't started out on the right foot, so I'm going to see all of my baseball teams to the end.
I'm in the playoffs in all four leagues that have the head-to-head format I'm in. Three had byes last week, so I'm getting into the thick of things.