Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that the Los Angeles Dodgers have won the NL West. If I recall correctly, this happy moment occurred shortly after I sent in my column last week, but even though I may be a week late in today’s hectic news cycle, I am unrepentant.
The month of July is about as bad as it gets in the world of sports, especially when your favorite baseball team is seven and a half games out of first place in the division while probably outperforming expectations. About the only thing that could save this time of year is the MLB All-Star Game, but that too is a disappointment.
During the long collegiate offseason (which is both interminable and not nearly long enough), occasionally people may feel free to be as silly as they like. Stanford just traded its Twitter handle “@SUAthletics” to Syracuse for several oranges and a “collection of local goods to be named later,” reminding us yet again that almost nobody refers to Stanford as “SU” anyway. Similarly, after badly hooking an approach shot, the golfer D.H. Lee recently flipped off the crowd at the AT&T National. Why? Who knows?
Several Stanford baseball players are expected to be selected in the Major League Baseball first-year player draft, which runs from Thursday through Saturday.
There is no way to sugarcoat Stanford baseball’s season, no way to describe it as anything other than a resounding disappointment for a roster overflowing with highly touted professional prospects. Neither the return of senior ace Mark Appel, who is on the cusp of setting the school’s strikeout record, nor the rehab of junior slugger Austin Wilson, another near-certain first-round pick, has made the Cardinal a contender in 2013, and with two weeks to play Stanford (26-20, 11-13 Pac-12) has been all but eliminated from consideration for a postseason berth.
After a close win on Friday night, the No. 19 Cardinal dropped the final two games of its home series against the Utes, a team that went just 6-23 in conference play last season and was picked to finish last in the conference in 2013. Instead, Stanford (11-7, 1-2 Pac-12) stumbled into spring quarter for the second consecutive season, bringing back nightmarish memories of a slump last March and April that crushed the team’s hopes of hosting a Super Regional.
One year after the winter quarter finals break derailed a streaking Stanford baseball team, this season’s 12-day layoff proved to be just what the doctor ordered for the No. 19 Cardinal, as it held off Utah 6-4 at Sunken Diamond on Friday night.