September 2012


As of this morning, the Orioles are once again in first place with the Yankees, and New York seems to have its hands full with a Boston squad that has, to say the least, not been a threat for most of the year.

So as not to miss the point, the A’s also have a better record than anyone in the East and the Rays are breathing down the Yankees necks, too. But it’s the Orioles that seem to be applying the most direct grief onto New York, and to say that I’m not enjoying that would be the understatement of 2012.

Maybe this season won’t be so bad after all.

It doesn’t take long for baseball to remind everyone what a dangerous sport lurks under the surface of this delicate game. Yesterday, that reminder sent Brandon McCarthy reeling, and has left the game waiting and hoping.

McCarthy took a line drive off the head from the bat of the Angels’ Erick Aybar, and was subsequently rushed to the hospital to undergo emergency surgery to repair a skull fracture. He’s reportedly alert and responding after a two-hour procedure.

McCarthy is one of the more thoughtful players in the game, a pitcher who studies his craft and cracks wise with fans in a smart, intelligent way via his Twitter account. He has led the resurgent A’s this year, earned a spot in the All-Star Game and long ago secured a place with me as being one of the obvious good guys in the game.

It doesn’t need to be said, but this is a scary situation. The pitcher is the most exposed player on the field, and a fastball over the plate can come rocketing back to the mound faster than it arrived. Whenever something like this happens, it’s serious.

Thoughts go out to McCarthy and his family, and wishes to a speedy recovery and a return to a normal life.

For the first time in two decades, the Bucs have a shot.

As Labor Day morning is upon us, the standings tell us that the Pittsburgh Pirates are 1½ games behind St. Louis for the final Wild Card slot, with the Dodgers between them. That little space doesn’t seem like much, but jumping two teams into that spot will require someone to stumble — always a possibility — and a little luck on Pittsburgh’s side.

St. Louis has played well of late, though they haven’t blazed through August as much as they maintained the status quo. The Dodgers are still feeling out their new team some and have yet to rise or collapse under the weight of new expectations.

The Pirates, 7-13 in their last 20 games, have actually stumbled, and it’s the reason they’ve slid down to seventh in the National League after hanging out in either fourth or fifth with the Braves for a good chunk of the season. (more…)