It’s that time of the summer, after the baseball trade deadline, and at the start of the NFL’s preseason, that the stretch run is often overlooked. I know I’ve mentioned it in posts before, but I just don’t think enough can be said about how many teams are still in the playoff race.
It’s much quicker for me to list off the handful of teams who are NOT in the playoff picture. For the American League, it’s Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Kansas City. In the Senior Circuit, we’ve got Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Washington.
That’s it. Every other Major League Baseball team is within 7 games of a playoff spot at the time of this writing. The only sad thing is that a lot of these teams aren’t taking advantage of this August position. I guess it’s not that surprising. It’s not like the Seattle Mariners went into this season looking much better than they did last year, and yet here they are, a homestand winning streak’s distance from a division championship. They probably don’t know what to do with themselves.
I think if I was at the head of one of these August surprise franchises, I’d be making a very public push at the playoffs. The Milwaukee Brewers have been a doormat for a couple decades now, and even though they traded away their offensive stud, they could still win a National League wild card race in which the entire field is fading. I’d use this opportunity to put some fans in the seats, highlighting every win against a wild card opponent.
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems a bit more noteworthy than preseason football games that nobody takes seriously.