Hopeless Joe Predicts The Pennant Races (American League) by Jeremy Blachman August 28, 2014 It’s just about that time of year, when teams start calling it quits, Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder starts to rear its droopy head, and glum Internet baseball columnists are forced to turn to Kickstarter in a Hail Mary effort to keep on going, because the section of website they write for is soon to disappear. In the meantime, I thought I’d predict this year’s pennant races, not that anyone really wins anything as long as 9-year-olds are still shooting people to death while their parents film it on their cell phones. AL EAST Well, the Orioles can’t actually still be in first place, so something has clearly gone wrong. Which it has, for every other team in the division. If someone had told me before the season that Chris Davis would be hitting .190 on August 27th and the Orioles would still be in first place, I would have wondered who’s talking to me, and did it mean I have a friend, a real, honest-to-goodness friend? I would have listened to all of his predictions about the Orioles– and wouldn’t have even interrupted him to tell him that Mike Boddicker is not in fact still on the team, and definitely isn’t the ace of the pitching staff. Oh, the Yankees are still clinging to hope too, despite the team’s average age of 62 and Martin Prado leading the team in OPS, despite a .308 on base percentage (not a misprint). I think I could probably play for the Yankees, and I’m blind in one leg. AL CENTRAL Another topsy-turvy division, where the Kansas City Devil-Dealers are trying to hold off the Detroit Oopsie-Daisies. Would anyone on the Royals even crack the Tigers’ starting lineup? You’d think Alex Gordon might, but Victor Martinez’s son J.D. is having an incredible season at the plate, so do you really take him out of left field? I remember when I was removed from left field during a Little League game, when I was 14 years old playing on the 9-11 team (I was small as a child — even smaller than I am now, as an adult). I had gotten confused when a ball was hit my way. I thought I was supposed to cover my face and run away from it, screaming. That’s how I learned to play baseball. Be afraid of the ball. Keep your eyes on your feet. Swing like you’re hitting a pinata. And never let the other players urinate in your pants– do it yourself, like a big boy. The Indians are still hanging in there too, kind of like the Native Americans. Sure, they can have a few wins. Not too many though. AL WEST A classic pennant race, between the Angels and A’s. As first place swings back and forth, the teams battling it out, who will get that playoff spot and who will go home to their million-dollar mansions where all the toilets probably flush and you almost certainly can’t hear the neighbors practicing the bassoon in the middle of the night (oh, but they’re lovely people aside from the bassoons — they only steal some of my mail, not all of it!). Oh, wait, they’re both going to make the playoffs. Because that’s how it works in the socialist world of Major League Baseball in 2014. In the real world, it’s winner-takes-all, fight-to-the-death, we-only-need-one-person-to-clean-the-toilets-so-you’re-fired-Joe. But in baseball, pretty much everyone makes the playoffs, and pretty much everyone is rich beyond their wildest dreams. So who the heck cares whether the A’s win more games than the Angels or the Angels win more games than the A’s? It doesn’t matter, any more than it matters what the gunk coming out of my ears actually is. It’s gunk. As long as I don’t touch it, or eat it, or show it to a doctor I’ll be fine. And that’s the American League and where it stands.