Last season was a relatively insane season. You had a team winning the wild card by a hair, and then going on to win the championship, a team that returns to the World Series with a better team and still loses, a Pirates team that peaked in June, and a year without a real noteworthy rookie class, save for two certain overachieving closers.
You can say that last season itself was pretty crazy. But you put the 2011 season beside the 2012 one, and the 2011 season looks flawless, and sane.
A season where a team expected to finish third in its division ended up winning the whole thing- SANE?
Yet, that's how this current season is looking. Of the ten postseason spots, seven of them have been filled by teams that I never would have expected to get there. The three exceptions are the Yankees, Rangers and Cardinals, because they win all the time.
Let me explain why the other seven spots shock me so much.
- Giants- Around June or July, when the whole LA boom was going on, I was convinced that this was the Dodgers's season. Kemp was hitting, the pitching staff was strong, and soon they'd be traded every star they could get. And they still didn't win. The Giants, while still a strong team, I never expected to get there. And yet they did.
- Tigers- I was kinda stuck on thinking the White Sox would take it, as was every AL central fan. The Sox were playing excellent baseball, thanks to people like AJ Pierzynski, Chris Sale and Kevin Youkilis. And it all sorta fell apart at the end, which is terrible. The Tigers, like the Giants, are a strong team, but it surprises me that another team got there.
- Braves- At the point when I realized that my Phillies weren't going to win the wild card, that was the point where I knew the Braves had the wild card. However, there was nothing before that this season that hinted that way. They began the season in third, like usual, only the placings were flipped. Then the Nationals started winning, and then I thought the Dodgers would get the Wild Card. They didn't. Then I thought the Phillies would get the Wild Card. They didn't. The Braves won simply by not falling apart.
- Reds- I will blame the Pirates for this one, for getting so good, and choking so quickly. I thought they had it, and for a while they were toggling back and forth with the Reds for first place. Then the Reds had their epic winning streak. Welp. So much for that.
- Nationals- At the beginning of the season, I was intent on the fact that the Phillies would take it, not knowing that the team was aging and the stars were injured. The team plummeted to last place. Meanwhile, the team usually sitting in that spot elevated to first. Silliest thing I've ever heard. And they held it, too. I thought it was going to wear out. The fact that this is #3 on the list is an example of how crazy the year was.
- Orioles- I've always been a shallow Orioles fan, so when they started winning, I was really happy. I applauded them, I saw them rise the second, and I made a simple plea: "Don't get too good". And they didn't listen to me. The last two months they've been going toe to toe with my Yankees because they wanted to get competative. And that's a great team, too, but it would have been really embarrassing if they floored the Yankees.
- A's. This came as an absolute shock to me, and to everyone. Beginning of the season we all thought the Rangers would repeat as AL West champs. (Buzzer Noise). The A's came out of absolutely nowhere and started winning games, which I thought was remarkable for a team with no star power. Now the Rangers might get knocked out by whoever loses the AL East race, which is an interesting prospect.