MLB - Act 2
MLB - Act 2
At baseball's half-way point "experts" say it's the time of season that separates "men from the boys." Crunch time - when winning games counts the most - when players being paid millions of dollars must perform. During this first half of play many stars haven't performed. Many have been on baseball's Disabled List for weeks, some for months. Other players, free agents, paid millions during the off-season haven't performed at all.
Case in point, after years of pinching pennies, selling off all of their best players, even after winning two World Series, the Marlins of Florida are a classic example of a baseball franchise that cares only about their financial bottom line. They have never cared about their fans. After years of threats of moving the franchise out of Florida MLB conned the city of Miami, and state politicians into paying for a new stadium. After years of crying, "We're broke", all of a sudden off season they found millions of dollars to sign free agents. They committed $191 million dollars to three players. They signed former New York Met shortstop Jose Reyes to a six year contract for $106 million. When they signed Reyes the Marlins created a major problem for themselves. What to do with "star" shortstop Hanley Ramirez? They solved the problem by telling Ramirez he had to play third base. He wasn't happy making the move but to his credit he didn't raise hell about it. His move to third base can't be considered a failure but it hasn't been a roaring success either. Rumors circulating around baseball has the underachieving Marlins trading Ramirez by the July 31st deadline. It may be the jolt the Marlins need to begin performing. As of their game last night with the league leading Washington Nationals to begin MLB "Act2" (Marlins lost 5-1). The Miami Marlins, with a "new stadium" - "new name" - "new manager" - "new uniforms" - "new players" - woke up this morning "next to last" in their National league East Division, 10 games behind division leading Washington. The Marlins have a 41/45 record and are playing .477 baseball.
The Marlins aren't the only under-achieving team this season. The Boston Red Sox are also occupying next to last spot in the American League East Division, nine and a half games behind division leaders, the New York Yankees. Boston has a 44/42 record playing .506 baseball. Boston's never pinched pennies, over the years they paid millions for players. They blame their problems on injuries. Others blame the Red Sox problems on team malcontents. Players bad behavior cost popular manager Terry Francona his job at the end of last season. The front office brought in controversial task-master Bobby Valentine as manager and his troubles began from day one. By April when the Red Sox celebrated the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park Valentine was faced with a players revolt. As they continued to lost games he was also faced with fan revolt. Management had a decision to make. Let the "patients" control the insane wing of the nut house, or allow the chief "doctor" to do his job. Since Valentine's still managing Boston we know what decision was made. Valentine shipped to Chicago one of the key malcontents Kevin Youkilis and he hasn't toned down his words when speaking about his star pitchers Josh Beckett and Jon Lester. The Red Sox biggest flop since coming to Boston is Carl Crawford. They paid him "millions"...and he's spent more time with the Red Sox double A farm team the "SeaDogs" in Portland, Maine than at Fenway Park.
Add the millions paid to perhaps the 2nd biggest malcontent on Boston's roster Josh Beckett, and millions to Jon Lester, one might consider the Miami Marlins and Boston Red Sox as the two most underachieving teams in big league baseball. In third place would be Detroit who signed Prince Fielder to a 9-year contract at $214 million dollars. Fielder's been an under-achiever this season. He's hitting .301 - has only 15 home runs - and 63 RBI's. They paid him the $214 million because of his slugging. This season all he's proven is he could win the the All-Star home run derby. When this season began the Tigers (because of the Fielder) were picked to win their division and be in the World Series. As of today they occupy third place in the American League Central Division, three games behind the league leading Chicago White Sox. They need Prince Fielder to hit with power and earn his money.
Here's how Sporting News see the playoffs (in order of seed).
American League: Yankees - Angels - Tigers - Rangers - Red Sox.
National League: Reds - Braves - Dodgers - Pirates - Nationals.
Sporting News is also picking the Angels to win the World Series. At the moment the Angels are in second place, four and a half games behind the American League West division leading Texas Rangers.
Across the nation last night we began MLB-"ACT 2" - it's a great time for baseball fans.
"Upton on Sports"-source:masslive/sportingnews/faniq/
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