U2 is messing with the baseball schedule

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Bono.jpgI’m sure Bono didn’t mean to bug ya, but he’s doing it all the same:

Don’t know whether or not Bono favors the designated hitter rule, but
based on U2’s summer concert tour, they’re definitely American
Leaguers.

The band is playing Angels Stadium
(June 6-7), the Oakland Coliseum (June 16) and Toronto’s Rogers Center
(July 3) before, finally, landing in NL Florida’s Landshark Stadium (or
whatever they’re calling it now, on July 9). And it wreaked havoc with the 2010 schedule.

The reason it’s wreaking havoc: U2 needs a park for 10 days to simply build and tear-down the stage setup for a single night’s concert. As a result, the Angels have a fourteen-game road trip in their future come June.

All of which would be fine if U2 was any good anymore, but ever since they decided that nostalgia was more important than being interesting [cough!] “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” [cough!] they’ve been adrift on a sea of awfulness. I mean, “Pop” was no great shakes, but at least they were trying something.

Where was I? Oh yeah, baseball. 

This is not unprecedented of course. As the linked article notes, the Astros went on the road for a month in 1992 when the Republican National Convention was held in the Astrodome. That was a 26-game road trip, during which the Astros went 12-14.

But the 1992 Astros weren’t exactly contenders like the Angels are. They finished the year 17 games out, and even if you’re generous to the point of ridiculousness, you can’t pin anything that happened to the baseball team on the convention apart from annoyance.

If the Angels finish a game or two out of the money this year, though, fans have my permission to burn copies of “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” in the streets.

That is, if they hadn’t done so already on general principle.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves