The baseball season is really, really long. Beautifully long, but really long. Long enough that, come late July or early August, it starts to feel like it’s always been baseball season, and always will be. So then we get to this part of the year, and suddenly there are about twenty games left, and the fact that the season will end eventually (and pretty soon, at that) is a bit hard to get the ol’ head around. And then I realize that as closely and regularly as I follow baseball, and as much as I read about it, there’s been a ton of stuff going on in the game that I just haven’t paid any attention to at all.
That might be especially true this season. It feels to me as though this year, more than any others I can remember, has revolved around a small handful of individual players. Trout and Pujols in Anaheim; Harper and Strasburg in Washington; Cabrera, Fielder and Verlander in Detroit. Hamilton, Felix, Braun, Cain. Your mileage may vary, and there are probably several I’m forgetting who belong there, but the national stories I’ve seen have tended to focus on one or two of the guys in that group.
Conversely, and naturally, there are plenty of players having great, good or merely interesting seasons who, as far as I can tell, have received essentially no national attention. Here are my favorite five: