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Stark Reality

The 2009 offseason will be active, however the 2008 playoffs will be even more exciting to watch. For pure fans, it’s a time to rejoice, as some new faces and some familiar ones poise themselves in an effort to "wow" us in October.

In the American League, Tampa is beginning to slip away, and while their youth and relative inexperience is showing the stress of a playoff run, they’ve freshened the face of the AL East, giving us a break from the Yankees and Red Sox. Toronto has risen to the occasion, giving Yankee fans fits. As for the Red Sox, they are thankful for two reasons: one because they dealt Manny Ramirez, and two, because the Yankees are likely done for the year, giving them an easier ride into the post-season. The Central has seen a shift from an offensively dependent White Sox team to a worried one, with Carlos Quentin out with a broken wrist. The Twins starters have fallen on some harder times lately, but their hopes are high. For the Twinkies and Pale Hose, it’s win the division or go home. They have little wild card hopes with Boston or Tampa in good position for that slot. The AL West? The LA - Anaheim-Watts-El Segundo-or whatever you wanna call them - are the only thing to look at there and may just be the only team that NL teams will be preparing for come World Series time. Then again, I do remember the 2001 Mariners 116 win juggernaut that went down in flames faster than the Hindenburg……OH THE HUMANITY!!

Over in the National League, it’s anyone’s division to win in the Eastern and Western Divisions. The Mets and Phillies look as if they’re going down to wire again, with the dejected losers probably taking their bat and glove and heading home for the year. The now resurgent Dodgers have Manny to thank for taking full advantage of his exodus from Boston, while the D-Backs are wilting in the desert heat. The boys in Colorado are looking to revisit last year’s miraculous run, but the baseball God’s usually only throw you a bone every couple years or so. On to the Central Division. While many will try their best to convince folks that the Cubs are on cruise control, the Brew Crew is quietly tapping at their door, with St. Louis desperately trying to somehow close the gap as well. It’s Chicago’s division to lose and hopefully, for fans of the north-side bruins, Mr. Bartman, goats, and maybe even the ghost of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow have all been banished from Illinois. Okay, I know that the Great Chicago Fire has nothing to do with them, but Cub fans really do deserve a shot at breaking the string. Truly at this point, the NL pennant is pretty much anyone’s for the taking, with some nice battles coming over the next few weeks.

It’s gonna be one hell of a run for the trophy, huh?? That’s why I love this game.

Posted by Stu. L - aka "Baseball Stu", Personality Contributor
If you would like to reach Stu, email him at mlbrumors@gmail.com, ATTN: BASEBALL STU.