Fever Begins with National League Divisional Races
Major League Baseballs American League division races have
been long over, the run for division titles in the National League
couldnt be any closer and any more down to the wire.
While most people in the sports world have heard of Barry Bonds
chase for the elusive single season home run record, it has not
generated the same level of excitement that Mark McGwire and Sammy
Sosas home run chases did. Other big stories such as Cal Ripken
and Tony Gywns farewell season, and Ricky Hendersons
run at Ty Cobbs single season runs scored record (Henderson
is two hits short of 3,000 with five games remaining) have kept
it interesting in the baseball world this season, the competition
for the National Leagues East, Central and West Division titles
have been somewhat overshadowed.
What is incredible about the way this season is playing out in the
National League is the consistency in which the six teams involved
the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals,
Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants
have played tough against each other throughout the year and stayed
within a few games of each other at all points of the season. Certainly
the Seattle Mariners were a surprise in the American League, especially
to the degree in which they dominated everyone else in the league,
but the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians were relatively unsurprising
as division champions.
However, in the National League, the Braves yearly wave of domination
in the East Division is still slightly in jeopardy. Although the
Phillies lost to the tomahawk choppers last night to fall three
games back of first place, both squads have three games remaining
and anything can happen in that time span. The Phillies travel to
Cincinnati for three games, while the Braves play host to Florida
for a three-game series. It is highly unlikely that the Braves will
drop three straight to the Marlins, but whoever fails to win the
division between Atlanta and Philadelphia will also fail to make
the postseason altogether as either the Houston Astros or St. Louis
Cardinals have a lock on the wild card position.
After last nights games, the Cardinals have a one-game lead
over the Astros, but the two teams will go head-to-head at Busch
Stadium for a three-game series to end their seasons and ultimately
decide who will raise their flag as the Central Division Champions.
After falling to San Francisco last night, the Astros accumulated
their sixth straight loss, and the momentum certainly seems to be
in favor of the Cardinals and the hot-hitting slugger McGwire.
By defeating the Astros, the Giants moved to within two games of
Arizona, and while San Francisco hosts the Los Angeles Dodgers for
a three-game series, the Diamondbacks head to Milwaukee to face
the hapless Brew Crew. Without a doubt, everything is pointing in
Arizonas favor to win the West Division, while the loser will
be sent home without a ticket to the postseason. A problem for the
Giants in their next three games could be all of the hype surrounding
Bonds chase for McGwires home run record. The Dodgers
manager has already made it clear that he will refuse to pitch to
Bonds to allow him to break Big Macs 70 home run mark, which
will ultimately hurt the Giants chances of winning as Bonds
has been the key factor for San Francisco all season home
run record or no record, Bonds has had one of the most amazing seasons
of any player in history. He has over a .510 on-base percentage,
which is nearly unimaginable in todays game, and is also close
to breaking the all-time slugging percentage record. Bonds has already
walked more in a single season than anyone else in history, and
dont expect the series starting tonight against the Dodgers
anything indifferent. In all likelihood, Bonds will walk and the
Giants will lose their race to the Diamondbacks in the West.
With that said, it is very likely that the Braves and Cardinals
will go on to win their respective divisions, with the Astros picking
up the wild card slot. The postseason series could prove to be rather
boring in comparison to the American League games, but then again,
that opinion is coming from a rather American League-biased writer.
Take it for what you will, but I would much rather see the Yankess
take on the Oakland Athletics and the Indians face arguably the
best team in history, Seattle, than see the Astros play Arizona
and the Cardinals face the Braves.
For the second half of the season, the leading teams in the American
League dominated opponents as a whole, whereas in the National League,
the battles for playoff spots have seemingly been more a fight to
stay above mediocrity. Nonetheless, these next few days could be
quite a battle for these teams to make the giant step from being
mediocre to becoming a postseason organization.
to take anything away from these National League races, but let
me mention a few other stories to keep your eye on in Major League
Baseball this last weekend of regular season play. Of course, its
Cal The Iron Man Ripkens last season of baseball,
and tomorrow, the Orioles will host the Boston Red Sox at Camden
Yards for his last game. Ricky Henderson, who as previously mentioned
is only two hits shy of 3,000, will play in three games for San
Diego as they host the Colorado Rockies this weekend.
Whether or not Bonds will be able to break McGwires home run
record will be seen this seen this weekend as the Giants play the
Dodgers. The Seattle Mariners still have a chance to break the single-season
wins record if they can win their series against the Texas Rangers
Taking all of these great stories and tight division races into
consideration, it has been a hell of a year for baseball, and the
postseason, baseballs biggest event of all, is still right
around the corner.
Note: Next weeks Outside Oberlin will document
two weekend games, as Review co-Editor-in-Chief Jacob Kramer-Duffield
will visit Camden Yards on Saturday to witness Cal Ripkens
last game in the majors and yours truly pays homage to the bleachers
at the Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field. Expect stories full of
history in the making, perhaps a few tears, drunken fans and above
all, those $8 hot dogs that you just cant resist.
Flutie Proving He is More Than Just a Flake
Flutie is the man. Because he is the man he has his own cereal,
Flutie Flakes. Why is Doug Flutie the man? Better yet, why isnt
he? This man should be revered as a god on the football field.
For those of you who dont know Doug Flutie, quit reading.
Im in a bad mood tonight and dont really feel like explaining
to someone why this man is a god. He just is. There are no questions
Well, since that doesnt make for a very good article, I guess
I might as well explain to all you imbeciles why Doug Flutie is
few years ago Doug Flutie was a nobody. He was a backup quarterback
on a struggling Buffalo Bills team. The starting quarterback, whoever
the hell he was, got hurt big surprise. Flutie comes into
the game, releases the magic that is Doug Flutie and all of a sudden
the Bills are playing well. Some say he just gave the team the spark
they needed to jump start their season, but if that was the case
Flutie would have been removed from the scenario once the starting
quarterback was recovered. I dont really remember the exacts
of the situation, but all I know is Flutie won the starting job
and well, the rest is history. The Bills signed him to a huge contract
and the next year signed another no-time to showtime quarterback,
Rob Johnson, to a huge contract.
With the signing of Johnson, Flutie resumed the role of backup,
and the Flutie magic had once again left the field. Johnson definitely
has some special gift of his own. Its called tenaciousness.
This man plays harder than most, laying his body on the line numerous
times every game. The only problem is his body cant play as
hard as his heart does. Johnson, the last few seasons, has found
himself on the sidelines with injuries. When healthy, he is a proven
team leader who has the ability to win games, but not like Flutie.
Johnson takes it upon himself to win a game, whereas Flutie, the
ever thinking quarterback, manages to get his surrounding cast to
play above their ability.
Flutie is an outstanding quarterback, he proved himself as a starter,
then took the backseat in Buffalo because thats what the team
felt would be best. He knows above all that winning is the ultimate
goal of a team, and if they feel he cant get it done then
he is willing to accept that. We all know that Flutie can win, and
even when he took a backseat to Johnson he got his opportunity and
proved himself yet again. Johnson once again went down due to an
injury and Flutie took charge of the team, elevating everyones
At the end of last season, Flutie left Buffalo for the sunny beaches
of San Diego, with the ever exciting task of taking the reins of
a 1-15 San Diego Charger team. For many, they felt this would be
the end of Flutie. He had become yet another great stuck on a pitiful
into this season, critics and fans of Flutie had the distinct feeling
that the Flutie magic wasnt nearly enough to help this team.
Even with the addition of rookie running back LaDanian Tomlinson,
super-fast stone-handed veteran Curtis Conway and the great white
disappointment Tim Dwight, most felt that this team would win maybe
one or two games this year. I mean, they do play the Browns and
the Bengals, right? Everyone knows the Browns havent been
the same since that evil, evil man, whose name is a sin to mention
in Ohio, moved the team to Baltimore. The new Browns are an expansion
team and will get on their feet sooner or later; most likely later,
though. And the Bengals, well, the Bengals should just forfeit the
rest of their season and rent the stadium to Billy Graham, because
at least he could fill it.
But back to Flutie. The Chargers are 3-0 to start the season, and
the Flutie magic is back. For Flutie, going to the Chargers has
proved that he truly can elevate the game of people playing around
Flutie is a natural winner, a leader and well, as I said before,
he is the man. Flutie, when compared to any other quarterback, comes
up short in almost every category. He has a weak arm, isnt
very fast or terribly tall. But none of that matters when it comes
down to it because he knows how to win and having that quality is
more important than all the athletic ability in the world. When
it comes down to it, there is no better man to have leading your
team on the field than Doug Flutie.
Flutie, once thought too small to play quarterback in the National
Football League, spent years in Canada doing who knows what. Supposedly
he was playing football up there, but does that really exist in
Canada? There is arena football, but we all know that just isnt
the same. Whoever thought Flutie couldnt do it should be shot.
His career record is 33-14 and thus far this season the bumbling
Chargers, picked to go nowhere, have scored 77 points inside the
20 yard line this season.
Doug Flutie is a champion on and off the field. For this, he has
been given his own cereal, the aforementioned Flutie Flakes, and
an MCI 10-10-220 commercial. This is quite an honor, not only because
he is kick-ass on the field, but also because the money raised by
the cereal sales and the commercial goes to the Doug Flutie Jr.
Foundation. The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation is in honor of Fluties
son, who is afflicted with autism.
mission of the Flutie Foundation is to aid financially disadvantaged
families in the care of their children with autism and to provide
money for research. Since 1998, the Flutie Foundation has raised
over three million dollars through fundraisers and corporate donations
and has given out $850,000 in New York, Massachusetts and other
parts of the country.
is the true reason why Doug Flutie is the man.