The Accident Never Waiting to Happen By: Matt R. Acly

The Accident Never Waiting to Happen By: Matt R. Acly

By Floyd Miller

 

 

 

In 1992, a young, New-Jersey- born shortstop that played for Kalamazoo Central High School was taken with the sixth overall pick of the MLB First Year Player Draft by the New York Yankees. A future member of the 3,000 hit-club and eventual poster-child –during his era- of Major League Baseball; we bid fare-well to a trademark forever in the making.23 years later, that shortstop is calling it a career as the Yankees all-time leader in hits, games played, at bats, and stolen bases as well as being a five- time World Champion, 14 time all-star, WS MVP, and the “Face of Major League Baseball”. While the accolades are almost too many to count, he made one name very clear. Derek Jeter, known among ‘Yankee Nation’ as the team captain and perhaps even the reincarnation of “Mr. October”, -with all due respect to the great Reggie Jackson, Jeter’s quick emergence became the face of the Yankees franchise and the sport of Major League Baseball since the mid 90’s through now.The 2014 season could best be described as a passing of the torch and the hunt for a new “Number 2”. One might even say it’s already begun. In a sea of talented and hungry young players shining on the big stage; two particular diamonds stand out. Mike Trout and Buster Posey. Two players with collectively less than a decade’s worth of experience at the big league level, while they are indeed very talented; it will take much more than a pair of elite seasons before the ‘Face of Baseball’ title can be properly punctuated, much less the tag from America’s Past-Time’s Role Model.Posey, besides already being a two-time world champion is also a former Rookie of the Year , NL MVP , and two-time NL Batting Champion . A first round pick by the Giants in 2008, he can potentially lay claim to a career batting average of over .300, and is just shy of 1,000 hits, 100 home runs and 400 RBI’s in what’s only been a five year career. Pretty impressive for a catcher whose leadership and defensive skills may –or may not have- initially outweighed his bat. Meanwhile, Trout has been dubbed by a majority of MLB analysts as the current “best player in baseball”. Since his debut with the Angels in 2012, parallel with Posey as a Rookie of the Year complimented by the runner- up to Miguel Cabrera over the last two seasons in the MVP race, the 25th overall pick of the 2009 draft as a compensation selection by the New York Yankees following their signing of Mark Teixeira, the ‘Halos’” slugger’s stats say it all. In Trout’s first three seasons in the big leagues; he’s hitting over .300 with close to 100 home runs, over 300 RBI’s, and 100 stolen bases. That’s more than just impressive. He’s on his way to accomplish much more than he already has.Both Posey and Trout, like Jeter, are stand-up individuals, role-models, and leaders for their respected ball clubs. Most notably and very much like Jeter, Trout and Posey can be considered champions. Both have huge shoes to fill if one or both players aspire to successfully take Jeter’s place as the face of baseball. One particular advantage is that both have the same amount of talent, drive and vision [as Jeter] plus many more years to surpass the decorated Bronx Bomber’s accomplishments.With that being mentioned, since I went out on a limb in terms of players, I’ll go out on a limb in terms of teams….MLB end of the season recap and October preview and predictions. Cruising to the finish line, looking for the top seed:The Angels, Orioles, and Nationals made it look relatively easy once they started getting it going in route to all three winning their divisions . Battling it out to the end:St. Louis and Pittsburgh are in a dog fight for the NL Central title, with the loser likely clinching a spot in the NL Wildcard Game. St. Louis is the defending division and league champion and has Adam Wainwright; Pittsburgh has last year’s NL MVP Andrew McCutchen. Prediction: Cardinals Out West, the Dodgers and Giants are fighting for the division, with whoever finishes second most likely also playing in the Wildcard game. LA has Clayton Kershaw. San Francisco has Buster Posey. Prediction: DodgersThe Wild-Card race has been wild all year, which is typical in the NL. San Fran and Pittsburgh are holding down the two spots with Milwaukee trying to stay alive. Prediction: Giants and Pirates clinch both Wildcard spots. Over in the American League, Detroit and Kansas City are slugging it out for the AL Central title. Detroit has the experience and a mega-weapon in Miguel Cabrera while the Royals are looking to get into the playoffs for the first time since 1985. Both teams are not guaranteed a Wildcard spot for finishing in second. Prediction: TigersAs far as the Fall Classic:Baltimore stuns the Angels in the ALCS to win their first AL Pennant since 1983, whileWashington upsets the Dodgers in the NLCS to claim the franchise’s first-ever NL PennantWorld Series: ‘Nets’ over the O’s in Six…Despite my seemingly bold predictions, one vision is very clear… This season a torch was passed. But then again, don’t take my word for it, take Jeter’s…“You don’t just accidentally show up in the World Series.”