With All Star festivities behind us, it's time to take a gander at the HRL division standings in Eagan and Hopkins. All indications are what appeared to be insurmountable leads in some races have tightened up.
While considering these races, I encourage you to listen to "Tighten Up" by the James Brown Orchestra
or The Black Keys
In Eagan East, it wasn't long ago the Cubs were so far up it looked like they might coast to their first (?) HRL division title. There were rumblings of the Indians being disinterested and bored despite a roster full of elite talent. But lookie lookie, the Indians are now 16-8 and only two games behind the 18-6 Cubbies.
Look out Cubs, the Indians are coming into your kitchen and they're hungry.
Forecast: Give a slight not to the Indians unless Dee can return to inspire the Cubs.
What can you say about Eagan West? The Astros, a team many thought would push the Reds this year, have not been as effective as league pundits expected. With Hal leading the Astros in nearly every category, full blame for the Astros poor showing to this point must fall on Legendary Princess.
The Reds look to be in prime position to take the division with a healthy 4.5-game lead and pitching continues to carry them. With the absence of Spoon, it's up to Seuss to carry the team offensively.
While all the chatter has been about the Orioles newcomers, the Braves have quietly (quietly? is that possible?) worked their way into a division lead and currently have the best record in the HRL at 19-4. The Braves' competitive natures, mashability factor, and history prove they are one of the toughest teams in HRL history. The Orioles have an outstanding distribution of hitting and pitching and have a weaker schedule remaining. With the Braves having series with the Red Sox, Reds, Dodgers, Orioles, and Phillies remaining on their docket, they will have to prove themselves against some of the HRL's best.
If they can do that, look for a newfound Braves confidence (seriously? MORE confidence?) that could propel them to their first HRL title.
Forecast: The schedule is in the Orioles' favor. Pick: Orioles.
There was a time when it looked like the Phillies were cruising and the Red Sox and White Sox appeared to be struggling to find their way. Recently, however, the Red Sox have gone 6-1, the White Sox have won four straight, and the Phillies have played .500 Wiffleball while splitting with the Mets, Indians, and Cubs.
The White Sox may have the toughest of the three schedules, facing off against the Indians, Cubs, and Dodgers. With all three teams facing off at the end of the season, it may very well come down to the Phillies-Red Sox three-game series to determine the division winner. But don't count out the White Sox.
Forecast: History shows the Red Sox have special powers but I'm going with the Phillies. Sorry, Whiteys.