You read that right… thanks to George Simmons at Ninjabetic.com, October 1st is known in our world as:
That means that I have permission (like I really need it) to talk about something non-diabetes today. So what would I write about if I didn’t write about my diabetes? Probably the only other thing that really matters right now:
And if we’re talking baseball, really, we can only talk about the two Teams That Really Matter.
The First Team that Really Matters: The Cincinnati Reds
You may be thinking, “Hey, a guy from Baltimore? A Reds fan?”. Here’s Why:
The Great Spousal Unit and I grew up in Cincinnati, during the days of the Big Red Machine. That team won five division championships, four National League championships, and two World Series championships in just seven years. Even today, Maureen and I can recite the names of The Great Eight from those championships. Probably, in their order in the batting lineup. Pete Rose, Ken Griffey (Ken Griffey Sr. for you youngsters), Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, George Foster, Hall of Famer Tony Perez, Hall of Famer Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion, and Cesar Geronimo. In addition, I was at the ballpark when the team captured the National League West crown in 1990. I was there on Fountain Square downtown, celebrating after that win with about 20 others in the rain. I was there again after the National League Championship victory over Pittsburgh, with about 1,000 others. And I was there yet again after the four game sweep of Oakland in the World Series, with about 10,000 others. I’d like to be there the next time the Reds win the championship.
How will the Reds finish? I don’t know. But they’ve already won the National League Central division (Major League Baseball went to 3 divisions per league in 1994, and the Reds moved From the NL West to the newly formed Central division). There are several things in their favor this year. Let’s list them:
1. The Reds pitching is much better than in 2010, the last time they won the division. The postseason pitching rotation will probably include Johnny Cueto (side note: The Great Spousal Unit tells me that Johnny Cueto can’t be his real name. I assured her that not only is his name really Johnny Cueto, he has a faithful clubhouse assistant named Hadji), Matt Latos, and Homer Bailey, who pitched a no-hitter Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not the worst, but not the best post-season rotation ever. Which leads me to:
2. No other team has an overpowering starting rotation. The Nationals have a couple of good starters (really good, in fact). The Giants are dangerous with Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum. But who really has more than one pitcher that everyone fears this year? Maybe the Tigers, if the Reds get to the World Series. But that’s about it.
3. The Reds lineup is better than it’s been in years. Any discussion of the Reds has to begin with Joey Votto, who is an All-World first baseman. Next to him in the infield is Brandon Phillips, who is maybe (probably) the best second baseman in the NL. Add in guys like rookie Zach Cozart playing shortstop, reclamation project Ryan Ludwick in left field, the fleet-footed Drew Stubbs in center, Jay Bruce playing right field, and rookie Devin Mesoraco catching. Throw in veteran Scott Rolen and amazing fill-in Todd Frazier, and you’ve got a pretty deep squad that really has a chance this year.
Which brings me to:
The Second Team that Really Matters: The Baltimore Orioles
The formerly sad-sack, punching bag of the American League Baltimore Orioles. What an amazing turnaround. For the first time in fifteen seasons, the Orioles will finish with a winning record. As of today, the Orioles are tied at the top of the American League East division with some other team that plays in New York. People around here are super-excited to see the Birds at the top of the standings again.
How will the Orioles finish? The good news is that the Orioles just clinched at least a wild card berth in the postseason. Unlike the Reds, the Orioles have been racking up wins with an unlikely group of characters and lots of extra-inning victories. In fact, the Orioles have won 16 straight extra-inning games. Do you know how unlikely that is? And how’s this for a stat? The Orioles, when leading after seven innings, have won 72 without losing any this year. That tells you that the Orioles have a great bullpen. The lineup has seen a number of guys come and go throughout the year. The front office has made nearly one transaction per day the entire season. Nevertheless, the chemistry among the squad has been remarkable. However they finish, the fans here in Baltimore have been enjoying a season that no one will soon forget.
It’s been fun writing this non-diabetes post! Thanks George. If this isn’t enough non-D stuff for you, check out the other posts at http://www.ninjabetic.com/nodday2012