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The dog days of summer are over. While your children are preparing to go back to school, teams across Major League Baseball are doing what they can to secure a playoff position. We have the usual story lines going this year….. the dominant front runners and the great teams that’s right there behind them being a nuisance. We have teams that have essentially given up, their teams marred in turmoil and controversy. Then we have that “out of nowhere” team that seemed to make the right moves at the deadline, got back an injured star or even the superstars that they have in place started playing above their status.
Elston Howard, Yogi Berra,Thurman Munson and Jorge Posada make up the short list of greatest catchers to wear pinstripes. With all due respect to them, the new version has started off hotter than anybody in franchise history. Gary Sanchez has started his career so hot, the sun would be jealous. He has earned American League (AL) Player of the Week honors twice and now AL Player of the Month (14 HR’s and 24 RBI’s) to go along with AL Rookie of the Month. After “The Great Fire Sale of 16′ ” not to mention the abrupt (and weird) retirement of Alex Rodriguez, we all thought they were in full rebuild mode (how foolish were we huh?). Now they have powered their way up the standings within two games of a wild card spot and a chance for more glory in the playoffs. However it ends, the ride there is way more fun than we thought it would be on August 2nd.
The New York Mets have taken a different path to this spot in the standings. About a month ago, they were two games under .500. Since then, the team has gone 17-5 and now have possession of a wild card spot. Yeonis Cespedas is hitting .311 with 8 home runs in his last 19 games. We’ve seen this act before of course. The Mets surged last year in big part of his play. The starters have been solid posting a 3.41 ERA over the last month (2nd in the National League). A unit hampered by injuries has still managed to string together quality starts. There seems to be no end in sight either. The “Strikeout Boys” must be salivating at the mouth looking at a remaining schedule chock full of losing teams.
With all that being said, New York city’s baseball scene has become just that, a scene. A spectacle for all to see home runs, game saving outs, dominant pitching performances, and dramatic finishes. Both the Mets and the Yankees find themselves smack dab in the middle of these races and there’s no looking back. For every team they hurdle in the standings, other teams are put on notice. You better reach that magic number sooner than later because there might be a team or two lighting their way up the totem pole.