Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge

Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge
by Bryan Harvey

Truth & lies in Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'

Truth & lies in Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'
by Bryan Harvey

A world of child soldiers & cowboys

A world of child soldiers & cowboys
by Bryan Harvey

To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'

To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'
by Bryan Harvey

MLB 2010 Preview: Expansion Era

March 26, 2010

For our 2010 MLB preview, we're lumping teams into the eras we feel they most resemble. This will cause our rankings to look more like Power Rankings than Divisional rankings, but, like most things at LCB, I wouldn't take any of it too literally. Enjoy, comment, critique, lambast.


Happens all the time.  Tombstones fall over, erode, disappear in the night, and yesterday's sacred hunting ground becomes just another footpath.  The Appalachian Mountains slumped just far enough for no one to notice them and Daniel Boone went walking.  In the darkness, he stubbed his toe on a railroad tie, cursed Rip Van Winkle, and gave the middle finger to New Amsterdam.  He didn't know what to do with himself after he and Lewis and Clark took turns spitting into the Pacific, so he opened up a barber shop and gave Injunes haircuts.  Sometimes he cut too much, and scalped the poor bastards--the blood ran into the soil, becoming corn, wheat, and oats.  Cap'n Crunch couldn't sail, but he made like a Quaker and sprinkled the sugary promises of Manifest Destiny into America's bread basket and boxed it all up with a plastic prize.  We ate it and watched cartoons, until boredom moved us like the Holy Spirit to step outside and shout at the top of our lungs: "I'm Duke Snyder!  You can be Gil Hodges or Pee Wee Reese!"

"Man, you can have all of 'em.  I'm gonna be Jackie.  He's faster than all of 'em.  Watch me run!"

We did this every Saturday, pretending to be real Major Leaguers while our fathers began building Interstates that ran like veins across North America, over the Appalachians, and on through the Rockies.  Then we boxed up the house in cardboard and packing tape, put those boxes in the family station wagon, and headed West.  I told my Dad I didn't want to go, that I was from Brooklyn, and that I'd never seen anyone play stickball in a John Wayne movie.  When we reached Chicago, we had to stop for gas.  I still remember my Dad running out of the store waving pages of newspaper like a flag of truce, yelling, "Mikey!  The Dodgers are coming with us!  They're movin' to LA!"  As we drove down Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles, I thought the Lord works in mysterious ways, and the yellow lines on the asphalt looked like a golden ladder to heaven.  

I was at the first baseball game in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.  I also attended the first game at Dodger Stadium.  The weather was perfect for both, the Dodgers won both, and my new best friend Robbie taught me how to spit sun flower seeds.  The move wasn't that bad; it was actually good, until on February 24, 1960, when my Dad showed me a picture of Ebbets Field being demolished.  In the still image of the walls falling into smoke, I saw that for anything to begin something must end.  When I went to opening day that year, I passed through the turnstile, that clicked as I passed, and thought about old Ebbets Field lying like a scalp at the feet of John Wayne and Hollywood.  

Eight years later, I was a student at Berkeley, with a head of hair so long I could braid it.  That summer, I went to the first A's game in Oakland (ever): they lost 4-1 to Baltimore, one of America's oldest baseball cities. Youth is not always served.  The '68 A's finished essentially gridlocked at 82-80, and the Left Wing movement of youth and virility turned into a toddler's temper tantrum at the Democratic Convention in Daly's Chicago, complete with tear gas and everything.  We unintentionally chanted, pleaded, and cried Nixon into the White House.  By season's end, the vivacity of Route 66 and its neon glow can grow as dim as a candle on a grave, or as quiet as a saloon in a ghost town.  

When a franchise forgoes the status quo and looks West, don't be surprised if the new morning isn't quite as bright as advertised; after all, the sun rises on the Atlantic and sets on the Pacific.   In other words, don't scalp your tickets too soon because now is the time to buy in cheap if you're a fan of the following franchises:            

Baltimore Orioles
Key Additions: Kevin Millwood (SP), Mike Gonzalez (RP), Miguel Tejada (3B)
Key Losses: Melvin Mora (3B) Chris Ray (RP)
Storyline to follow: The Tejada story is almost prodigal son like, except he's one of the guys that no one seems to care did steroids.  Other than that, the O's will try and make the AL East a four-team division race for the first time in years...maybe.

Cincinnati Reds
Key Additions: Aroldis Chapman (SP) Orlando Cabrera (SS)
Key Losses: Willy Taveras (OF)
Storyline to follow: First baseman Joey Votto.  Get familiar: .322 and 25 home runs last season.

Cleveland Indians
Key Additions: Russell Branyan (1B) Mark Grudzielanek (INF)
Key Losses: Jamey Carrol (INF) Kelley Shoppach (C)
Storyline to follow: Manny Acta gets a chance to rebuild with a team that's actually done it before...sort of.  The Indians, since winning a World Series in 1948, have been back only three times (once in '54 and twice in the '90s).  What's even more mind boggling is that after 1954 the Indians did not win another Division title until Albert Belle and company won the AL Central in '95.  The team's won six more Division titles since '95, but it's difficult to claim that Manny's up for a cakewalk as manager.  Also, Grady Sizemore only hit .248 last season, his lowest since being a rookie in 2004.

Florida Marlins
Key Additions: N/A
Key Losses: Nick Johnson (1B)
Storyline to follow: Does any other team in MLB quite resemble the cyclical nature of a turnstile as much as the Marlins?  Seriously, it's like Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass became a baseball team.  

Kansas City Royals
Key Additions: Rick Ankiel (OF) Scott Podsednik (OF) Jason Kendall (C)
Key Losses: Miguel Olivo (C) Coco Crisp (OF) Mark Teahen (UT)
Storyline to follow: In a year where the AL Central is about as wide open as a division can possibly be, the Royals will learn everything there is to know about Manifest Destiny.  Knowing her is either glorious or absolutely devastating. 

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