NFL officials returned to action last night.  Fans at the game gave then a standing ovation – quite possibly an unprecedented occurrence.  The league came to an agreement with officials just days after a bad call – the latest in a series – cost the Green Bay Packers a win.  The league said they wouldn’t cave to public pressure – but I think they did.  The NFL is a money making machine, and the replacement officials were possibly costing the NFL more (lost revenue due to fans turning off the TV) than the extra money the officials were asking for.

Let’s be careful not to place too much blame on the replacement officials.  If your star quarterback can’t play, and you’re forced to throw a seventh round draft pick into the fire,  the kid isn’t going to throw for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Same situation here – the officials didn’t have the skill level necessary for the job, but they gave it their best effort.

Baseball

In the National League, the Cardinals now have a three game lead in the wild card with six games to go.  They’re in good position, but with the collapses of the Braves and Red Sox last year in their memory banks, they are sure to play hard until they have officially clinched a spot.

In the American League, the White Sox have been fading while the Tigers have been a bit stronger down the stretch.  The Tigers now have a two game lead.

The Rangers are on the brink of a playoff berth, but aren’t quite there yet.  If they lose their final six (three games each against contenders Oakland and Anaheim) they could drop into a tie for the last wild card spot.  It’s getting down the “must win” time for Anaheim and Tampa Bay, down two games in the wild card with six to go.  Personally, I’d like to see Oakland and Anaheim as the two wild cards, but that’s pretty unlikely. 

My Rockies just finished off a sweep of the Chicago Cubs.  The Rockies had been playing poorly in recent weeks and were careening toward their first 100 loss season.  Now the Rockies need just one more win to keep losses in the double digits.

Post-season award predictions:

I’ll make my guesses:

American League

MVP: Mike Trout.  Even if you ignore the fact that he’s 21, Trout is having an absolutely historic season, combining high batting average, power, speed, and defense.  The $200 million question is whether Trout has peaked of whether he can get even better.  Miguel Cabrera has had a great year, but the runs he gives away on defense come into play.

Rookie of the Year: Mike Trout, unanimous selection.  Nobody else is even in the room with Trout.

Cy Young: This may be tight, but I think David Price will edge out Dustin Verlander and Matt Harrison.

National League

MVP: I think Buster Posey will beat out Andrew McCutchen based on the Giants making the playoffs and the Pirates falling out of contention.  Really, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina should also be in the discussion, because of the value he provides with both glove and bat.

Rookie of the Year: I think the hype carries Bruce Harper to the win, even though Wade Miley is probably more deserving.  Who is leading NL rookies in homers and RBI?  The  answer will probably surprise you.  It’s rookie catcher Wilin Rosario of the Rockies with 27 bombs and 70 ribbies.

Cy Young: Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey notched his 20th win, and I think the narrative around his career will help him win the award.  Watch out for Braves closer Craig Kimbrel if Dickey and Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals split the starting pitcher vote.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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