Thursday, June 29, 2006

In Which Rose Defends The NL West

Snicker about the NL West if you want to. While we wait for the final All-Star tallies, I'm going to tell you why it's worth watching.

You know the NL West. It's that division that's following up a season in which only one team finished above .500 with a run in which, as of this writing, a team only needs to be four games above the line to lead the standings.

When so much else around is black and white, it can be good to appreciate the shades of grey.

You know how far out of first place the last-place team is?

Four games.

You know how far out of first place everyone else is right now?

One game.

You know how many teams in the division have been in first place at some point?

All of them.

No, it's not the flashiest division in baseball, but it may turn out to be the one that comes down to an all-teams sprint at the end of the season. If trends continue -- always a big if, I know -- this is a division that could come down to the most minute of decisions. The trade deadline is approaching, and the dealing is picking up; between that and those ever-growing DLs, there's no way of knowing what any team will look like in a couple months' time. For now, though, it's the only five-way race in the major leagues. And as far as I'm concerned, that's something worth watching.