Who Will Make The “Cut” In The Mlb Playoff Race? Nhl Cba Talks Halt & The Mfan Nfl Picks For Week One!

Marc Elliott

BIG SANDY LAKE… It’s Sunday eve and the White Sox are playing the Tigers in an AL Central Division showdown. I’ve tuned in a bit late and the Sox are up 1-0. At the plate is former Minnesota Twin Delmon Young. Mr. Young should be holding a fishing pole instead of a Louisville slugger—this was a real ugly at bat for Delmon. And yes, he is on the way back to the dugout, talking to the Louisville.

However, in the bottom of the fifth, the Kitties have tied it up at one, and Young will redeem himself with a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to give Day-twah a 4-1 lead. They will make it stand for an eventual 4-2 victory, and with the sweep of the Sox the Tiges have lifted themselves into a tie for the AL Central lead. Young himself has been the hero for the weekend, going 5 for 10 with 7 RBIs and 2 homers. But this is the enigmatic Young that we came to know and love. Young battled to have some consistency over the course of his Twins tenure, but the guy has plenty of talent.

I would offer to you that a lot of balls hit to him in the outfield were nothing short of adventures. He had his share of plate appearances like the first one I saw tonight that were really weak, like swinging a toothpick at a mosquito. But what is intriguing about him is in series like this where something is really on the line. In this one he was the man. In series where as many guys on the field are asleep as fans are in the stands, Young just might be snoring along with them, but then he’ll come out of nowhere with a series like this and become the talk of the town. I’m thinking the clock of patience with the Twins just ran out for Delmon (that and the club decided to purge some payroll).

This just could be Young’s time of year, and if he stays hot the Tigers could bump the Sox right into the wildcard race. And if the regular season ended today, how would the MLB playoffs look? In the AL East, the Yanks have a two-game lead on the Orioles, and I think that will hold up. In the Central, I believe the Sox will get the lead back and hold onto it. In the West, look for the Rangers to repeat. In the wildcard, remember we are getting this bizarre one-game playoff between two wildcard teams this year. So what if you have two clubs tied in a division race at the end of the season, and they have to have a one-game showdown as well? I think this idea was ill-conceived and unnecessary.

I believe the two wildcard entrants from the AL will be Oakland and the Orioles. In the NL, in the West look for the Giants, in the Central the winner will be the Reds, and in the East the champ will be, in spite of shutting down their best hurler, the Nationals. I think the Braves and Dodgers will get the wildcard spots. Unless the Cardinals wake up sometime soon, they won’t make it. If anything good comes from this goofball wildcard playoff format, it just might be that the September races for positions will be better than ever. Let’s hope that that is the result. It’s going to be another awesome fall of baseball….

BUT YOU KNOW, as much as I love baseball, for me it is really “waiting for hockey season” season. And this fall, the wait just might be a little longer, possibly a lot longer. For the first three to four weeks post season, the break is welcome. As much as I love the game, I don’t want to ruin that with over-saturation. Weeks 4 to 8, I’m reading here and there, thinking about the upcoming season, and then after that let’s go! Especially this year, if you are a Wild fan, how could you not want this season of all seasons to start on time? For cryin’ out loud, we had 21,000 observers at the prospects camp! Jeez! Fans would show up right now to watch Parise and Suter shave!

So, it’s time for a fan movement. A fan movement to push those in charge of the league and the owners to figure out a way to have some fair and consistent financial responsibility, so we can get out from under this threat of lockout at the expiration of every labor agreement. At some point, folks, these two parties are going to exhaust the goodwill they have built u, and some of the less diehard fans are going to say “au revoir.” It’s that simple.
I have seen on some blogs that a few fans are using the “C” word, or contraction. They are saying to knock the NHL down to 24 teams. I would be against that. I like the current 30-team setup. I do hope that the league will table the NHL in Europe talk once and for all; it is un-doable from a geographical standpoint, and that’s that. Euro hockey can fend for itself. Seriously, it is time for the owners to come to the table with honesty and forthrightness and get some long-term financial ethics and integrity in place for the sake of the game. I don’t believe we have been witness to that yet. CBA talks broke off last Friday with nothing on the horizon. Please say it ain’t so… PEACE


(HOME team in CAPS)
NYG over the Boys
BEAR over Colt
VIKE over Jax
TEXAN over Fish
TITAN over Pats
Skins over SAINTS
Falcon over CHEFS
Buff over J-E-T-S
LION over Goats
Eagle over BROWNIES
Seahawk over CARDS
Niners over CHEESE
Caro over BUCS
BRONC over Steel
RAVEN over Bengal
Charger over RAIDER

SEASON: 0-0  0-0

Marc Elliott is a freelance sports opinion writer who splits time between his hometown in Illinois and Minnesota. Elliott grew up in the Twin Cities with many of his childhood neighbors working or playing for the Vikings and Twins. He participated in baseball, football and hockey before settling on hockey as his own number one sport. Elliott recently wrote “The Masked Fan Speaks” column for the Lake County News Chronicle for ten years and was a prominent guest on the former “All Sports” WDSM 710AM in Duluth.