Ugh…whenever I find myself waiting in a line or at an airport and I need something to do to keep my mind occupied for a little while, I try to name all the sports teams. This isn’t all that difficult for me at this point; I usually get them all. But my strategy is always to go division by division. And the NL Central always screws me up. Six teams? Every other division in major professional sports now contains five teams or fewer…except the NL Central. And so I always end up taking longer than usual to run through them: Let’s see…Cardinals, Cubs, umm, ugh, Pirates, who else? Having six teams in the NL Central throws off the whole attempt at scheduling in the NL. I know the Mets play their division foes 18 times, but how many times do Central teams play other Central teams? It’s not still 18, right? Is it only 12? Twelve seems too few, doesn’t it? Well, you know how many it is? There’s no standard. The Cubs, for instance, play the Cardinals, Brewers, and Pirates 15 times, the Reds 16 times, and the Astros 18 times. This is the worst division in sports.
It wasn’t the worst division in the National League until recently, though. The Central had more representatives in the NLCS (eight) than the East or West in the Aughts. But only one of those teams–and ironically, the worst of them, the 2006 Cardinals–went on to win the World Series, and the Central hasn’t gotten a team out of the Division Series in the last three years. St. Louis is the favorite to repeat in 2010, but I’ve got other ideas. Continue reading »