The trade deadline is tomorrow, and while there hasn't been that big "wow" deal yet, I'm still amazed that heading into August the San Diego Padres are buyers and have upgraded the offense with Miguel Tejada. I'm not a Padres fan, but I'm hoping any success San Diego might have in the postseason translates into some well earned notoriety for Adrian Gonzalez because he is just a hair behind Albert Pujols in talent but miles behind as an acknowledged superstar.
Dallas Braden (perfect game)
Roy Halladay (perfect game)
Don't forget that Armando Galarraga's perfect game was also taken away, so we should be staring at two whole months left with 3 perfect games and 6 total no hitters.
Alex Rodriguez will soon be joining the elite 600 HR club, becoming the 7th member on his next home run. A-Rod, like Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds, has been linked to steroids, so the luster on this once great record has dulled to something less than a glossy shine. It was once thought that, love him or hate him, A-Rod would eventually return the HR record to a "clean" state. At just 34, Rodriguez seems to have plenty of baseball left in him and five average seasons would get the job done.
Unfortunately, A-Rod has become another fallen hero with his admittance of steroid use, so the anxiousness of Bud Selig to wrestle the figurative crown away from Barry Bonds is a waste of tension and blood pressure pills because it's a long way from becoming a clean record again. Only Albert Pujols is currently setting a pace to potentially get there, and while Albert has never been linked to anything incriminating, he came on the scene as a physically mature monster at such a young age and hasn't let up. It seems almost too good to be true, and it's sad that our minds are now trained to speculate (fake birth certificate? PEDs from an outside source? secretly a robot?) rather than to enjoy, but that has become the nature of the game.
The game can still be appreciated as much as better, but some of the individual achievements, like the one A-Rod will soon earn, are met more with a passing clap than a standing ovation.
Time for everyone to take a breath because the All-Star Break is here. Year after year, the Home Run Derby is starting to feel more and more like the Slam Dunk Contest in that no one really wants to participate and viewing the overblown exhibition feels like a chore. 2010 doesn't get any better as big boppers (sarcasm) like Chris Young and Nick Swisher will be swinging for the fences. For what it's worth, my money is on Miguel Cabrera, if for no other reason than he can hit any type of pitch anywhere.
Here are the playoff teams if the season ended today:
NL: Braves, Reds, Padres, Mets (WC)
AL: Yankees, Tigers, Rangers, Rays (WC)
Like most, my preseason predictions missed the mark, specifically with the Mets and Padres. I expected good things from Cincy and Texas and mentioned that Detroit would have a chance, but I didn't think New York could emerge from their problems. Moreover, I saw absolutely no way that San Diego could sustain any kind of long term success with the roster it has. That's why we watch the games. You just never know.
Speaking of "you never know," Colorado made a franchise record comeback over St. Louis in the 9th inning last night, scoring NINE TIMES in the last inning to defeat the Cardinals 12-9, thanks to a Seth Smith 3-run shot to end it. Like I said, that's why we watch the games.