MLB playoff picture still unclear

By: Paul Fritschner ~Staff Writer~

Photo courtesy of | Kris Bryant (above) has been the standout player on a phenomenal Cubs team, flashing the leather as well as his bat.

There’s a certain sense of excitement coursing through the veins of the people on the North Side of Chicago this year. Their Chicago Cubs, mired in a World Series drought that has rendered them ring-less since 1908, are on the verge of clinching the best record in baseball this year.

Propelled by young star Kris Bryant, Cubs fans believe this is the year they will overcome the numerous “curses” and “jinxes,” such as the Billy Goat and Steve Bartman, both of which have haunted the team throughout their history.

However, it is an even year, which leads one to remember the San Francisco Giants, who won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014. They have been one of the worst teams in the league since the All-Star break, however, and are in danger of slipping out of the playoff hunt altogether.

Currently, they are clinging to a Wild Card spot, as the Los Angeles Dodgers are leading the NL West.

Could it be the year of The Land? After LeBron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA title, the Indians have surged to the front of the AL Central, leading the division by 4.5 games with a record 22 games over .500.

Then there’s the Texas Rangers, who have exploded out to an 82-56 record, good enough for an 8.5- game lead in first place in the AL West. One has to wonder if their offense will be able to carry them through the month of October.

In the contentious AL East, Toronto currently leads Boston and Baltimore by one and two games, respectively, but with nearly one month left to go, any sort of flip-flopping can occur.

There are so many interesting story lines to follow. Will the Cubs finally break through? Will the Giants continue the pattern? Will the Indians extend this magical year for the city of Cleveland? Or will the Washington Nationals, a perennial contender, emerge at the end? Buckle up everyone, it’s going to be quite a ride.