I am sick and tired of ESPN’s lame-ass east coast bias. I’m sick and tired of ESPN leading with stories about how the Yankees are out of the playoffs and how the Mets are “choking” again or how the Red Sox (who are already a lock for the playoffs) are still fighting an uphill battle.
The best race in baseball all-season long has been in the AL Central where the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox have been trading blows in their battle for first place and a division title. What makes this all the more intriguing is that neither of these teams was given a snowball’s chance in hell when the season started.
The Cleveland Indians, last year’s AL runner-up, and the Detroit Tigers were both slated to be battling it out to the final days of summer. The Tigers were supposed to score twelve billion runs and the Indians were supposed to finish what they started last year when they ran away with the division and were on the brink of a World Series berth.
Instead what happened was the dismantled Twins–after losing their ace in Johan Santana and the face of the franchise in Torii Hunter–proved all of the naysayers wrong with a combination of solid young pitching and timely hitting. Contributions from new faces played a big role in the Twins battle for AL Central supremacy.
On the other side of the coin are the 2005 World Series Champion Chicago White Sox. The Sox had regressed in the two years following their championship and many people had written them off as possible contenders. Pundits viewed them as not having enough rotation depth or enough youth in their aging lineup to compete. Instead, GM Kenny Williams acquired MVP candidate Carlos Quentin, gold glove shortstop Orlando Cabrera, Cuban import Alexei Ramirez, the enigmatic Nick Swisher and bullpen stabilizers Octavio Dotel and Scott Linebrink. Pitchers Gavin Floyd and John Danks stepped up and were major forces in the back-end of the rotation and the offense powered it’s way to the top of the standings.
So now here we sit…the final week of the regular season. The Yankees are done. The Mets are clinging to a shot at the Wild Card. The Red Sox, essentially, clinched two weeks ago given their five game lead over the next team in the AL Wild Card standings. In the AL Central the Twins and White Sox came into a three-game set at the Metrodome with two and a half games separating them and what happens. The Twins sweep the White Sox in three great games. The third game is full of drama as the Twins rally after being down six to one in the fourth inning and force extra innings. The Twins win with a walk-off in the tenth. Good stuff right. Right.
However, on ESPN–as has been the case for weeks–the AL Central gets no love. During Oregon State’s huge upset of USC there is a cut-in, just minutes after the conclusion of the Twins game. I assume it’s going to be about the Twins and how they’ve just taken over first. No, no…it’s a baseball update, but there’s no mention of the Twins/White Sox game at all. Instead they show the Mets’ ninth inning rally and then they show the Brewers’ walk-off grand-slam. Both huge moments, no doubt…and honestly…I’m okay with that. I don’t even care if they play those clips first and for whatever reason put more emphasis on a Wild Card race, but whatever. What I do care about is that after showing clips from the playoff racing involving the Mets…they go back to the game. No mention of the Twins/White Sox…no clips…no nothing.