Wednesday, August 02, 2006

 

Where Have I Seen This Before??

It's funny when you think about how the 2006 Baseball season has played out (and is continuing to play out). Following the season closely and looking at the AL and NL standings, one thing came to mind: I've seen this before, right?

And I have. In fact, we all have. The 2006 MLB season is playing out exactly like the 2001-2002 NBA season. You remember that year: the Lakers won their 3rd title in a row, Tim Duncan was the MVP, NBA greats Felton Spencer AND Michael Jordan were still in the league, the Golden State Warriors drafted Jason Richardson, Troy Murphy and Gilbert Arenas, and Isiah Thomas coached Bruno Sundov and the Pacers to a 42-40 record. Yeah, that was the year.

But how does that equate to the 2006 MLB season? I tell you how: Western Conference dominance! That's right, much like the American League this year, in 2006 the Western Conference had argueably the top 6 teams in the NBA. You can bet that the Lakers, Kings, Spurs, Mavs, Timberwolves were all better than anything the Eastern Conference had to offer (namely the NJ Nets). Then I could even argue with you that the Portland Trailblazers were probably on the same level, if not better, than the Nets (but that's a whole other debate).

The 01-02 NBA Finals turned out to be a joke when the Lakers swept the Nets in four games. That year the "true" NBA Finals turned out to be the Western Conference Finals where the Lakers and Kings went to OT in Game 7 to decide who would get the chance to walk all over the Nets. Can we see this heppening this year in baseball?

In the 2006 MLB season, one can argue that the top 5 teams in baseball all come from the American League. The Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, White Sox, and Twins are all top contenders to win the World Series. On the National League side of things, the Mets are clearly the top team in the league, with the Cardinals to follow, and then the "rest" of the NL will fall where they may. One can also argue that a healthy Oakland team with a full season of Milty Bradley and Rich Harden, and the "Real" Bobby Crosby, would put them right on the same level as the NY Mets. The Mets, much like the Nets, have become the "fun team to watch," and the "brightside" of National League baseball. In Wright and Reyes, they have a talented core and a foundation to build on. The Nets had the "big three" in Kidd, RJ, and K-Mart to build around. But, is it, or was it, enough to compete with the "big dogs" of the Western Conference and the American League?

The Mets, much like the Nets did in the Eastern Conference, will most likely cruise into the NLCS and possibly the World Series. But, when they hit that brick wall of an American League, will they have enough to contend? Will we look back on the 2006 MLB season, much like we did with the 2001-2002 NBA season, and call the ALCS the "real" World Series? Let's hope not.... for Bud's sake!

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