The beauty of Major League Baseball lies in its ability to take our expectations and predictions and throw them out the window with brute force. The 2019 season is following this script to a T through its first week. We have top teams at the bottom of the standings and we have perennial bottom feeders sitting atop the standings. I’m sure most of these won’t remain much longer, but what a wild, strange trip this opening week has been.
Let’s start with the AL East. Who saw the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles at the top of this division? The Yankees are struggling out of the gate and the Boston Red Sox are apparently still on the duck boats. In the AL Central we have 5 teams that will more than likely finish around .500 this season. No team stands out, no team seems to be headed to the basement. The AL West has the Seattle Mariners at 7-1; simply on fire to start the season. The Astros haven’t gotten it together yet and are sitting at 2-4.
Moving to the NL East, possibly the best division in baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies are scoring a lot of runs and are currently 4-0. Bryce Harper has 2 monster HRs that have thrilled that fan base. In the Central, the Brewers are making noise again. Meanwhile, the Cubs are surprisingly groveling at the bottom with the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds new manager David Bell seems to have a trigger finger on starting pitchers. He may be overthinking. Their ‘much improved’ offense is waiting for the bats to wake up. The West looks to belong to the Dodgers. They just can’t stop hitting HRs.
Now, to talk about last night’s Harper vs Nats scenario. I’ve seen criticism over Bryce’s bat flip after that home run. Honestly, I don’t blame him. The hatred coming from Nats fans and, surprisingly, the Nationals Twitter account would prompt anyone to showboat a little. And my take on bat flips is this; if you don’t want an opposing batter to flip his bat, don’t give up the dong. I love bat flips. I love players that get cocky and back it up consistently. A good bat flip has to be timed well though. If you’re down 7-0 and you hit a solo shot in the top of the 9th, save the bat flip, bro. No one cares at this point. Now, if there’s a personal vendetta between you and the pitcher, then flip that sucker like the king that you are for the moment. Just remember to be on your toes the next time you face him. Would hate for that fastball to get loose high and in.
We still have 150+ games to go, guys. I’m stoked. I’ll be back at GABP next Thursday to see my Reds hopefully win again. It’s an afternoon game, so I expect a crowd of about 8,494 people. I’ll get my requisite hot dogs, hit up the Frybox for some Buffalo Chicken Fries, and after the game I’ll head to the other side of town for the SOJA concert. Sounds like a pretty good day. Especially with Iya Terra and Passafire opening the show. Afternoon baseball and some evening reggae………..life is good.