This Week in Little League Baseball
First off, hats off to the kids from Taiwan and California that played for the Little League World Series. Personally, I do not believe that youth sports should be broadcast on national television (games were on ESPN). I think it encourages the psychotic craziness from the parents (sometimes) that takes the attention away from where it should be. Youth sports should be about teamwork and sportsmanship, not television ratings.
Enough of me and my soap box; I’m opinionated. Congratulations to the champs from California for pulling out a win in the late innings. Congratulations as well to the boys from Taiwan. I’ve been to your country before; not a pleasant place. No shame in taking second in the world guys especially since your competition is one of the few that is actually representative of the world.
This Week in Baseball
The divisions are all but wrapped up now with only a meltdown by the division winners going to change anything. The real competition now lies in the wildcard races.
As of August 31, 2009, the Red Sox are in command of the AL wildcard with a 3 ½ game lead on the Rangers and the Rays 5 ½ back. The far more interesting race is in the NL with two teams tied for the lead, the Rockies and the Giants, both the Braves and Marlins 3 ½ back, and the Cubs holding on to hope at 5 games back. The AL is far from won with the Rangers playing well and no quit in the Rays, but both teams will have their work cut out for them with the boys from Boston playing so well right now having won 7 of their last 10. Things are much more interesting in the NL though, which is where I want to focus.
There is no real hot team amongst the NL wild card contenders right now with all of them playing right around .500 over there last ten. A lot of it will undoubtedly come down to whose young guys get hot and who can get the right match ups down the stretch. The Giants will have a tough time with the Phillies the week and the Mets are sure to give the Rockies a hard time. For meaningful, competitive baseball this week pay attention to the action in Florida where the Braves will be facing off with the Marlins.
For the season the Braves hold the edge in staff era with both teams having the same team batting average. However, at this point in the season it can often be the hot hand that makes the playoffs. Over the last 30 days the Braves pitching staff has posted a respectable 3.33 era and the Marlins a less than respectable t 4.9. What they lack in pitching though, the Marlins have made up with their bats hitting a league best .300. The Braves by comparison have been hitting .275 over the last 30 days.
So far this season the Braves have had better bats at Landshark Stadium in Florida than Florida has. However, this week I may have to put the advantage in the Marlin’s corner. When a team is hitting .300 it does not matter who they face. Armed with the confidence that a killer batting average brings, the Marlins will be playing to win instead of playing not to lose. That confidence will roll over to the mound and give Anibel Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco, and ace Josh Johnson a boost as well. A solid outing by the Marlins in this four game home stand could really propel them in the wildcard race and sink the Braves for good this season.
If you are lucky enough to watch the games down in Florida then you’ll have no trouble picking up a few Key West Sunset Ales from the Florida Brewing Company. This medium bodied amber ale tends to be closer to the dark rather than light side of the spectrum. The pale and caramel malts give a maltier flavor with the hops helping give it a nice crisp taste. Key West Sunset Ale takes a tropical twist on the traditional amber ale make it distinct to the land in which it is brewed.