It’s the dog days of summer. Or it feels like it. Summer really just officially hit sometime last week. But now that the NBA and NHL seasons have concluded and the NFL is looming ever closer to not having a season, all we have is baseball. Let’s think about that statement. All we have is baseball? That’s a bad thing? It’s not the WNBA for goodness sake. Their season just started if you haven’t heard and just to prove I am right, look here. Baseball is the national past time. Baseball, Chevrolet, apple pie. The American way. So why does it seem like we are left with stale bread the day after a glorious feast? Maybe because the NHL playoffs were so thrilling. Maybe because the NBA playoffs were one for the ages. With so much great drama and story lines in both. From Tim Thomas carrying the Boston Bruins to the Stanley Cup, to LeBron’s (yes I am still hating on LeBron, doesn’t he deserve it?) meltdown in the Finals and Dirk’s resurgence to win his first title and erase his own meltdown in the ’06 Finals.
But now all we are left with is baseball. There is no drama there? No intriguing story lines? I know baseball is 162 games, a long season by any definition. And it’s only half way through. But there are still great stories to be told. Hero’s to be made. Look at the Detroit Tigers Justin Verlander. He has already thrown one no-no, and went deep into two other games before giving up a hit. He has incredible stuff and I still see him getting another one. How cool would that be? Two no hitters in one season? Now I realize this is a stretch, but it could happen. And you wouldn’t even be paying attention, would you?
And there is more. You have the usual tremendous race in the A.L. East between the Yankees and Red Sox. Not to mention the always upstart Rays. And how are they still in it? They lost some terrific players to free agency, i.e. Carl Crawford to the Red Sox and the reliever who the Yankees signed for a kazillion dollars and who will remain nameless in this column forever. (Unless he miraculously heals himself and can become the setup man for Big Mo as intended. And yes, a kallion dollars is real currency, for us Yankee fans anyway.) And once again not to forget they lost the always comedic gold Manny Ramirez before the season was even a month old to retirement for..ehm.. er PEDS. Allegedly.
So many different reasons to pay attention. You have the Phillies with all those Aces in their rotation. They are just tearing up the league and just swept the Red Sox in interleague play. (Who didn’t love that?) But in most divisions there are still 2 to 3 teams within 3 games or so of the top. There is still so much to play for.
And there is the Dodgers. Oh wait, maybe I should save that for the funny papers section, if I had one here.
Just like no hitters there are other milestones in the works this year. Like Derek Jeter becoming the first Yankee to have 3,000 hits. He is 6 away right now. Wait. Did I say that right? First Yankee with 3,000 hits? Can’t be. With the likes of Mantle, Gehrig, Ruth and on and on wearing the iconic pin stripes, no Yankee before has 3,000 hits? That is one milestone, event, worth paying attention to. Whether you love or hate the Yankees. In a sport where every game is not life or death, so to speak like other sports, there is still many reasons to pay attention. And it’s not even the true dog days of summer.