It's true. The Tigers, 62-66 and teetering, are within whispering distance of the San Diego Padres, who are 64-65 and also looking like a drunk walking a sobriety test line.
So here's my suggestion: For all of you looking for some reason to stay interested in the Bengals from now thru September, just use a little imagination. Pretend the Tigers are in the NL West. Since the AL Wild Card is now out of reach, if you slide the Tigers into the NL West, then you can have your own little pennant race. You can scoreboard watch with the Padres and the D-Backs and the Dodgers. Think of it as Interleague Play, but with a twist.
Here's what the NL West standings would look like with the Tigers in the mix:
NL WEST W L PCT. GB
TIGERS 62 66 .484 1 1/2
Arizona 60 72 .455 5 1/2
Los Angeles 59 71 .454 5 1/2
San Fran. 57 72 .442 7
Colorado 51 79 .392 13 1/2
Now, after looking at that, didn't the baseball season get a tad more interesting?
Okay, so I'm reaching, but I also wanted to illustrate how poor the NL West is this year. That you could be 12 games under .500 in late August, as the D-Backs and Dodgers are, and still be 5 1/2 games out of first place is pretty amazing -- that is, if you choose to use the word "amazing" in the same way the '62 Mets did.
But if you think whomever wins the division will simply be fodder for their playoff opponents, allow me to remind you of another Mets team -- the 1973 edition. The Yogi Berra-led Mets of '73 finished 83-79, winning the NL East by a smidgen. Actually, they were in last place as late as mid-August. But they defeated Sparky Anderson's Reds in the NLCS, and took the mighty Oakland A's to seven games in the World Series.
So if the Tigers can just sneak into the NL playoffs, we might have something to cheer about around here. But first they have to gain entry into the NL itself, and that may be a tall order.
Wait til next year.....