September 1, 2005
Callin' Yer Shot Too Early
Kevin, Kevin, Kevin...
If this season has taught us anything, it's that we have to wait a bit for the full story to pan out. Before the season began, the Twins were a very popular pick to take it all. The Yankees were loaded to retake what the Red Sox took from them. Then the Dodgers started out 12 and 2, and Milton Bradley was ready to assume a leadership role on his hometown team. The Nationals were the feel-good story at the all-star break. Rafael Palmeiro had never used steroids. Yeah, and the Angels were supposed to walk away with the AL West. But if you think it's over with 30 games to play, well, I think you must have been smokin' some wacky tobacky with ol' Chief Knock-A-Homa out behind the woodshed.
See, the A's are hardly a lock. They may have lost their starting shortstop, Bobby Crosby, for the rest of the season. Their starting centerfielder, Mark Kotsay, has an ailing back. Their best starting pitcher, Rich Harden, might be out until the middle of September. The A's have been impressive, but 30 games is a long way to go to the finish line, and those are some important parts to be missing down the stretch, especially when you recall that they blew a 3-game lead with 9 games to play to finish out of the playoffs last season.
You're right about Huston Street. He has done a great job so far, and the best thing that might have happened to the A's all season was when Octavio Dotel got hurt and opted for season-ending surgery. But sawing off the reigning MVP in August isn't the same as winning 5 games in the postseason and collecting a World Series ring at age 20, which is something that no one can ever take away from Francisco Rodriguez. And while the Angels will outspend the A's by about $37 million this season, at $70 million, the A's aren't operating on a shoestring budget. If you want bang for the buck, look to the Cleveland Indians, who are spending $17 million less than the A's and $54 million less than the Angels.
However, while we're making predictions, the sure thing is that the Braves will not make it to World Series. As it stands, they are trying to make the playoffs with only two healthy and proven starting pitchers (one being John Smoltz, who is on track to throw about 230 innings) and a bullpen with no reliable closer. And if they make it to the NLDS, you can count on there being empty seats in Turner Field. All that winning in the regular season has made jaded fans out of the Braves faithful. The Braves could show a decline in home attendance for the 5th straight season, so maybe it's a case of the fans wanting more than a playoff appearance. It has been 10 seasons since Atlanta's lone World Series title during the Bobby Cox era, and the Braves record in the postseason is 10 wins and 20 losses since they last won a pennant in 1999.
But now I've strayed from my original message. A lot can happen in one month. I mean, if David Wells is apologizing to Bud Selig, anything is possible.
Posted by Andrew Torres at 7:25 AM