There tends to be much East Coast bias when it comes to sports. Baseball in particular. I am guilty of it myself. The American League East division is constantly touted as the toughest division in the AL if not the majors. Going into tonight, New York and Tampa Bay are tied for first, with Baltimore bringing up the rear at 3.5 games back. What seems to be lost on us East coasters is this, there is a division in the West. In fact, it’s a tighter race than the East!
While Oakland is currently 3 games out of first, the Angels only trail Texas by .5 game. Seattle, yes that Seattle, is 1.5 games out. Baseball fans across the nation can name players from Boston, Tampa Bay, New York, Baltimore, and a guy by the name of Bautista up North, eh. But what about the AL West? I decided to highlight one name from each team. Some you may recognize, others maybe not. I hope this is a good list.
- Michael Young of the Texas Rangers. This 34-year old DH is batting .348, 2 HR, and 31 RBI. His name is household, or at least should be. With Cruz and Hamilton dealing with injuries this season, Young is the savior incarnate in Texas. We’ll see if he keeps it up.
- Maicer Izturis of the Los Angeles Angels. The 30-year old second baseman is batting .302. He’s driven in 13 runs and sent 3 balls out of the park. Back East, lets keep an eye on him.
- Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners. I couldn’t not put him in this list. Rumors swirl about the Yankees acquiring him by the All-Star break. One problem, the Mariners are a good team and may have a shot at the post season. In plain English, the Mariners may not give him up. His 3.01 ERA and 5-4 record are not an accurate reflection of his talent. Watch out American League, something is brewing the Pacific Northwest.
- Coco Crisp of the Oakland Athletics. I struggled with this one. He’s batting .278 with 16 RBI. I don’t want to say he’s the shining star in Oakland, but I can’t seem to get myself behind anyone else. So I’ll go with Crisp.
The list is imperfect. However, in my attempt to overcome my East Coast bias, I forced myself to look at stats from the West. This is what I found besides names like Dejesus, Hamilton, and Matsui (sorry its tough for us Yankee fans to let go.) Again, it’s a long season, but there is more to the American League than just Yankees-Red Sox.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think!
All statistical data from espn.go.com.