Since I'm sitting here watching the Mariners v. Angels game, listening to music (wait, there's such a thing as announcers?), I figured this would be a good time to do a roundup of the baseball pennant races as we head in to the penultimate weekend of the regular season.
The American league is pretty much set as the Angels and Indians, barring epic collapses, are going to win their divisions. The Red Sox are working on an epic collapse to their hated rivals the Yankees, but it's all just fodder for Red Sox fans to cloak themselves in their perennial "Woe Is Us" attitude; the "loser" in the East will probably be the Wild Card team (the Yankees have a five and 1/2 game lead over the Tigers) .
What's at stake in the American is the best record, as that team will have home field advantage all through the playoffs and the World Series, thanks to Bud "Beezlebud" Selig's appallingly lame idea of having the league that wins the pointless All-Star game have the homefield advantage in the World Series.
Luckily, the National League has some barnburners going on in all three divisions. At this point the Mets (who are working on a mini-epic collapse of their own) lead Joe's Phillies by 1 1/2 games, the hapless Cubs lead the Brewers by the same margin and my Mom's team, the Diamondbacks, are clinging to a 1/2 game lead over the Padres. The Wild Card will likely be the Padres, who have a 2 1/2 game lead on the Phillies.
I was curious to see if there were going to be any showdowns amongst those contenders and while I'm really tired and might have missed it when glancing at their respective schedules, there won't be one matchup of contenders in the final ten games or so of the season, not a one. In fact, almost all the teams will have at least one series with a team outside of their division, which is a really bad idea. I've long felt that all four teams in each division should spend the last few weeks of the season playing only the other teams in their division, in home-and-away series. I'm available for consulting, Major League Baseball, I charge reasonable rates. --Jim Allen