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March 26, 1991 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-03-26

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Page 10-The Michigan Daily -Tuesday, March 26,1991

EAST

American

League

Preview

WEST

Off-season moves
propel Jays to top
by Mitch Rubenstein

SPORTING VIEWS

A's swing, Sox sink!
Twins will still stink-

Daily Sports Writer
This year the AL East is filled
with contenders, pretenders, and the
perennial rear-enders.
The division will be a three team
race from start to finish between
the Toronto Blue Jays, the
Baltimore Orioles and the Boston
Red Sox. The reason is quite simple.
Each of these teams went into the
off-season looking for a few good
men, and each found them. But none
of these teams did the "Marine ap-
proach" better than 'oronto, and
that is why the.Blue Jays will walk
away with the division title.
1. Blue Jays. For what ever rea-
son, it took Blue Jays GM Pat
Gillick (nicknamed "Stand Pat")
years to realize that major person-
nel changes were needed in his ball
club. Stand Pat must have been
watching some old cowboy movies
for he took the saying, "Go west
young man to find gold," to heart.
By going west, he went in search of
some golden ball players. Gillick
didn't actually get gold, but he did
get some "Padres" and "Angels,"
who should work some miracles for
his team.
Fred "Crime Dog" McGriff is
gone, and so are his fellow trouble-
makers George Bell, Junior Felix
and Tony Fernandez, all of whom
barked in the clubhouse. If playing
bad defense was a crime, they'd have
locked up Bell and Felix and
thrown away the key. The new-look
Jays now have Devon White; the
best defensive outfielder in all of
baseball, as well as All-Stars
Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter. The
Jays also added Ken Dayley, the best
left-handed set-up man in the busi-
ness to a bullpen that is already
among the best in the game.
2. Baltimore Orioles. The
Orioles will win a close battle with
the Red Sox for second place. The
edge goes to Baltimore because of
its strong young pitching staff that
has an average age of 27. The ace of

the Oriole staff is 23 year old Ben
McDonald, who is pegged as the
next Roger Clemens. The towering
right-hander from LSU is a favorite
to win 20 plus games in only his
second season. The Orioles are
equally impressive in the bullpen
where they have relievers Gregg
Olson and Marc Williams to call
upon when needed.
The Orioles helped themselves a
great deal in the off-season by ac-
quiring slugger Glen Davis from the
Astros. However, even with Davis,
their offense still has far too many
lightweights to make a run at the
Jays. Nonetheless, with McDonald
leading the way, the Orioles should
be able to cook up a challenge for
the division.
3. Boston Red Sox. Third place
goes to the Boston "Dead" Sox.
Boston will finally realize this year
that the bad teams do not win divi-
sion titles. The Sox will once and
for all learn that they are dead
without pitching. The departure of
Mike Boddicker to free agency will
be a crushing blow to an already
weak staff.
What did the Sox do to ease the
pain of Boddicker leaving? Well,
let's see. They rocketed Roger
Clemens yearly salary to over $5
million and they spent another $18
million on two run of the mill
starters named Danny Darwin and
Matt "Don't Call Me Cy" Young.
Don't worry Matt, no one will.
What makes the Red Sox a slight
contender besides Clemens is their
powerful offense. Wade Boggs
heads a team that batted a major
league leading .272.
4. Milwaukee Brewers. The
leader of the pretenders will be the
Milwaukee Brewers. Fourth place
will be nothing new for the Brew
Crew. The Brewers were once a team
of the future. Now the Brewers are a
bunch of has-beens who could be
players. Brewers fans better bring
the suds to the ballpark because

by Josh Dubow
Daily Sports Writer
The American League West may
result in a tight four-team pennant
race for the first time since 1987.
But unlike 1987, it will take more
than 85 victories to win baseball's
top division. Here is a brief look at
each team's chances for the 1991 sea-
son.
1. Oakland Athletics. While the
A's are clearly slipping, look for
them to pull off one final division
title with this current team. They
will need to overcome a knee injury
to Carney Lansford at third base, the
loss of Willie Randolph at second,
and the Rickey Henderson contract
problems in left field.
The losses in the infield will eat
away at the A's depth, as utilitymen
Mike Gallego and Lance
Blankenship will probably be
thrown into starting roles.
Henderson creates a different
problem, but the addition of Tim
Raines to the White Sox should fuel
Rickey to prove once and for all he
is the premier leadoff hitter in the
game.
2. Seattle Mariners. You are
probably laughing right now, but
take a serious look at the Mariners.
Led by Erik Hansen, the Mariners
may have the best pitching in the di-
vision. Starters Brian Holman and
Scott Bankhead are both healthy af-
ter operations, and Mike Schooler is
one of the AL's top closers.
Offensively, everything begins
with Ken Griffey, Jr., but it no
longer ends there. Pete O'Brein suf-
fered from a sore thumb last year,
but after bulking up this winter,
Manager Jim Lefebvre looks for
O' Brein to be the comeback player
of the year.
3. California Angels. While the
Angels were one of baseball's
biggest disappointments last year,
they should rebound this year to ri-

val the A's. The additions of Dave
Parker and Gary Gaetti should add
power and experience to a weak
lineup. Outfield defense will be the
Achilles heal for the Angels as n4
ther Luis Polonia or Junior Felix
will strike up memories of a young
Dave Winfield. Actually, neither
will the Angels' third outfielder -
Dave Winfield. This should open up
playing time for reserve Dave
Gallagher.
The Angels' rotation should be
anchored by Mark Langston, Jim
Abbot, and Kirk McCaskill. In th
bullpen, Floyd Bannister is finale
pitching well again, and probably
has one or two years left in his arm.
4. Chicago White Sox. Teams
that show dramatic improvement
one year tend to regress the follow-
ing year. While the Sox will fall,
the improvements they have made
will limit their plunge. The trade
for Tim Raines combined with hav-
ing Frank Thomas for the entire y
should shore up the offense f
Chicago. Also, look for catcher Ron
Karkovice to finally start to reach
his potential. The way Karkovice
fields, if he can cross the infamous
Mendoza line, he should be a valu-
able asset.
5. Kansas City Royals. The
Royals are a team full of question
marks. Who will play left field? Is
Mark Gubicza healthy? Who is t
real Mark Davis? Until they firi-
some answers, the Royals can not
compete in baseball's best division.
6. Texas Rangers. The Rangers
are probably the worst fielding
team in the majors and they issued
more unintentional walks than any
other team last season. This is a
lethal combination.
7. Minnesota Twins. I was al-
ways told if I did not have anythirg
nice to say, to say nothing at all. So
this is what I have to say about the
Twins ...

AP Photo
Things are looking up for the Toronto Blue Jays now that outfielder
George Bell (1) and shortstop Tony Fernandez (r) are no longer with the
team. Fernandez was sent to the Padres and Bell left for the Cubs.

fourth place for the team is being
very generous; they could easily be
last.
5. Cleveland Indians. Number
five will be the Cleveland Indians.
For those fans who do not know, the
Indians' last American League title
did not come via Ricky Vaughn in
the major motion picture Major
League. As a matter of fact, the
Indians haven't finished above
fourth in 22 years, so why go against

history? The Indians enter the year
with one positive note: they have no
expectations.
6. Detroit Tigers. Sixth place
goes to the lowly Tigers. The Tigers
boast an old pitching staff and a
very, very fat Cecil Fielder. The
only thing that keeps the Tigers out
of last place is Sparky Anderson.
However, this year the sparks will
be few and far between.
7. New York Yankees. The

.1

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