The Commish Online                                                                                
What Lies Ahead
July 9, 2002

Sammy Sosa and Jason Giambi are hitting meaningless home runs 500 feet into the night sky, while a paid full house watches, which can only mean one thing: All-Star Break!  As Chris Berman belts out his over-rehearsed and grating "back back backbackback," one can only hit the mute button and mull over the "what ifs" of the 2nd half.  By the way, Boomer, when Sosa hits a moon shot off a facade in the upper deck, there are no outfielders going "back" - they are standing in awe, taking in the breeze as the ball screams over their heads.  And the ball itself is certainly not going "back" anywhere.  It is only going forward, a very long, long way.

What if...
The players strike?
Everyone will lose money and the fans will not be nearly as forgiving as in '94, and that wasn't exactly a happy homecoming.

What if...
Cliff Floyd and Ryan Dempster get dealt to the Expos?
Floyd will hurt his knees and the Expos will still miss the playoffs but will be a lot poorer as they say their last goodbyes.  They can't catch Atlanta, and the Diamondbacks and Dodgers are too tough to warrant any wild card consideration.

What if...
2 small market teams make it to the World Series (Twins and Expos?)
The fans would consider it a moral victory, but when the ratings are at an all-time low, people will be reminded of the old but true phrase, "Be careful what you ask for..."

What if...
The Yankees figure out that Mondesi is about as overrated as they come and that Jeff Weaver was the smart move, only losing a pitcher who throws like he's headed to a lifetime of DL stints?
It won't matter, because they'll just buy another outfielder next year.

What if...
Diane (Shelley Long) never left Cheers?
Long would probably be working on her 2nd sitcom since Cheers, Kirstie Alley would be asking customers if they'd like to try any of the specials and Veronica's Closet and those Look Who's Talking movies might never have been made.  Curse you Diane!

What if...
The Brewers finish with over 100 losses?
Miller Park will get old.  fast.

What if...
The Red Sox make it to the World Series?
Bill Buckner will not be allowed within city limits.

What if...
The Red Sox WIN the World Series?
Cubs fans will be very lonely in their misery.

Notes and Predictions:

ROBBIE WATCH:  .268 at the All-Star Break

- The health of the pitching staffs will determine the NL West champ, with the Dodgers, D-Backs, and Giants within 4.5 games of each other.  If Arizona loses either of their Big 2 for ANY amount of time, you can count them out.  Brown needs to get back for the Dodgers to sustain their success and the Giants need everyone healthy in their rotation.  My pick:  D-Backs because Johnson and Schilling just don't get hurt.

- The Cardinals won't have enough pitching depth to stave off the Reds and the surging Astros.  Look for the Astros to climb atop the Central in September.

- Extra Inning All-Star games:  9

- Extra Inning All-Star games won by the NL:  9

- Look for Anaheim to begin their yearly collapse sometime in early August and finish just a couple games above .500.

- After a disappointing start to the 2nd half, the White Sox will unload (Thomas and Durham, any takers?) rather than reload for the home stretch.