An Important Conversation About the Second Half of the 2014 Major League Baseball Season

By Mike Cardillo

Howdy sports fans. The second half of the 2014 baseball season resumes tonight at a ballpark near you! Let’s take a look a some of the pressing questions facing the sport in a fun, breezy question-filled conversation with … myself? October will be here before you know it and you know you can’t wait for that. Let’s boogie.


Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions. Let’s get right to it, the question EVERYONE on the Internet wants to know … is the American League West going to be the best pennant chase this season?

Looks that way, doesn’t it? Oakland owns the best record in baseball (59-36) — and according to the All Star Game telecast — lots of quirky facial hair and quirky routines and quirky stuff that might help them win games that aren’t measurable in Excel spreadsheets. (I know, crazy, right?) All those quirks might be needed to hold off Mike Trout and the Angels — winners of 9 of 10 before the break — who are now only 1.5 games out of first in the West.

But what about the National League Central? Four teams have a shot!

Confession: I obviously hate the National League Central — especially whichever team in the division you chose to support. In fact, I hate that particular team the most — more than mosquitoes, traffic and taxes combined. (Sorry/Not Sorry.)

Since you made me look at the standings for 2.4 seconds, the Brewers, Cardinals, Reds and Pirates all have hope of playing in the postseason. St. Louis won’t have Yadier Molina for a couple weeks, but are thinking about a major trade. Cincinnati is seven games over .500 without Joey Votto for the foreseeable future. Milwaukee hasn’t let up from its torrid April, and we just might see another #Buctober now that Pittsburgh’s gotten its act together.

It’s a shame the Astros jumped ship to the American League, leaving this a standard five-team division. The more the merrier, I say!

Hey man … can we still LOLASTROS?

Nah. George Springer is a player you wish you stashed in your fantasy league and is pretty good, too in real life with 19 homers in 76 big-league games. Springer could win the Rob Deer Memorial Award since he’s already struck out 119 times. (The record is 223 in one season by Mark Reynolds, hey … it’s a good thing the ‘Stros waited to call up Springer to avoid service time issues after all!)

Yeah, yeah I know…  they’re still a long way away but the Astros’ winning percentage is .417 at the break — not bad considering the team has finished 40+ games out of first the last three seasons with sub-.400 winning percentages.

So, who can we LOL at for cheap Internet baseball punchlines, even the Marlins aren’t that terrible any more for Pete’s sake!!?

How about the Astros neighbors in Texas? The Rangers, at 38-57,  have the worst record in the American League — yes even worse than the LOLAstros — and enter the second half on a eight-game losing streak. Jon Daniels & Co. must feel pretty, pret-tay good about being locked in to paying at least  $53 million in salary for Prince Fielder, Elvis Andrus and Shin-Shoo Choo for each of the next six years.

I guess  we could LOLDBacks since Arizona has been out of it since losing to the Dodgers in that cricket ground in Australia all the way back in March, but it sounds like a terrible marketing hashtag. Kirk Gibson might have someone throw at my head for writing that, too.

Yeah but LOLRANGERS sounds too much like Lone Ranger and that movie was terrible. 

True. Do you think Johnny Depp considers baseball a #dyingsport?

Wait, I’m asking the questions here. Baseball has never been healthier at the turnstile or on the web with MLB Advanced Media and At Bat app downloads. Kids are still sticking their favorite Topps cards in the spokes of their bike and playing ball until the sun sets down at the local park. 

Wait a second, what year do you think this is, McFly?

Probably 1990 since everyone on the Internet loves to talk about the 90s. 

Okay well, you’re getting back on track since 1990 was the last time the Yankees finished in last place when their rotation featured the immortal Tim Leary, Dave Lapoint and Andy Hawkins, whom all might get calls from Brian Cashman in the next couple weeks with CC Sabathia and Masohiro Tanaka on the shelf.

Yeah, but it’s still a #Season2Remember … Derek Jeter can’t go out on a last place team, can he (sobs into handkerchief)?

Valid thought, but it might take the collective narrative will of every member of the BBWAA, 17 Fox executives and a seven-hour Bruce Springsteen concert at Yankee Stadium to ensure the Bronx Bombers are playing relevant October baseball.

You seem to know everything, pal, so … which teams will be playing in October?

The American League looks straightforward: Oakland, Detroit, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Kansas City. The National League? Let’s go with Los Angeles, San Francisco, St. Louis, Milwaukee and Washington.

Wait, aren’t you the guy who picked Tampa Bay to win the World Series in April? Why am I listening to you?

Oh yeah. Thanks for reminding me. Joe Maddon’s fightin’ Rays are only nine games under .500. They’ve definitely got a run in them … at least until they trade the remaining two-plus months of David Price before he hits the free agent market to the highest bidder.

So anyways, why haven’t you written any “hot takes” or takedowns of the “hot takes” written about Yasiel Puig this season; isn’t that a requirement on the Internet? Pretty soon we might have to make you turn in your press blog pass. 

How’s this for a scorcher? Yasiel Puig is good at baseball (.309/.393/.522) and enjoys himself on the diamond at the same time. In-sane.

You’re not being very fun here. Can’t you come up with a ranking system or compare him to Dodgers’ teammate Clayton Kershaw? C’mon man, get those clicks. 

Clayton Kershaw went about a month — 41 innings to be exact — without allowing a run. That’s good!  The debate between Kershaw and Wainwright for National League Cy Young should keep all of America riveted, given how much everyone seems to love Cardinals’ fans.

Do you think the Indians should try to trade for Kevin Love?

Hey … I thought I was the person who spent the last seven weeks preparing and watching the World Cup. Either way, Cleveland is 29th in attendance this year, so why not? I’d try to bring back Roger Dorn or Albert Belle first, myself. Maybe they can work out a deal for Johnny Manziel. Could be fun.

Will there be another Biogenesis type scandal this summer?

Let’s hope not. In fact, let’s all write our respective members of Congress to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Speaking of Biogenesis, what do you think A-Rod is doing with his time off?

Taking classes at the University of Phoenix for his real estate license … probably definitely without wearing a shirt.

What are we going to do without another Mike Trout vs. Miguel Cabrera MVP debate to tide us over this summer?

Trout, barring injury, already has this locked up, so I guess this should allow us all time to read, or maybe get some fresh air, volunteer or basically do anything else other than fighting about RBI vs. wRC+ acronyms — as thrilling as those debates are.

Shouldn’t Trout win the award because he wore cleats that looked like rainbow trout during the All Star Game?

You threw in that question just for the halibut, didn’t you?

Maybe I did. Maybe I did. But who is going to be the next commish when Bud Selig finishes up his retirement tour, smart guy?

You got me? Hopefully by the end of 2014 cloning and or robot technology will be far enough along for scientists to create Bud Selig 2.0 — ideally with parts cobbled together from some of the used cars he used to sell in Milwaukee.

Thanks for wasting everyone’s time. 

That’s not a question, but you’re absolutely welcome.