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Baseball on the 4th of July

This probably won’t come as any great shock, but the A’s and the Giants might as well forget about winning the World Series this season. If the standings on the Fourth of July tell us anything, it’s that.

Used to be that the standings on the Fourth were quite telling. Where your team was on America’s birthday, the pundits always said, was a pretty good indicator of where they’d be come October.

Of course, that was long before there were six divisions and one wild-card. Still, I was a little curious to find out if the 4th is as much an indicator as it was once said to be. So I looked up the standings of the 4th for each of the 12 seasons (1995-2006) baseball’s divisions have been in their current forma (I discounted 1994 because of the strike that canceled the season).

In doing so, I found that 62 of the 99 teams either in or tied for first place or in a wild-card spot on the Fourth of July made the playoffs. The World Series champion was not among them four times, but the biggest deficit overcome to get to the playoffs by an eventual champ was five games by the 2003 Florida Marlins.

That’s not great news for the locals. The A’s were five games out entering play and facing a six-game deficit, thanks to a horrible outing by Joe Kennedy. The Giants, on the other hand, were 11 1/2 games out.

In other words, it will another parade-less October in the Bay Area. Count on it. And to look at my tallies, proceed into the “expanded entry” area of this blog.

2006 (4th of July)
AL WEST: A’s
AL CENTRAL: Tigers
AL EAST: Red Sox
AL Wild-Card: White Sox
NL WEST: Dodgers, Padres, Rockies (3-way tie)
NL CENTRAL: Cardinals
NL EAST: Mets
NL Wild-Card: Reds
World Series Champion: Cardinals

Eventual division champs: 4 (A’s, Padres, Cardinals, Mets)
Eventual wild-cards: 2 (Tigers, Dodgers)
Total playoff teams: 6 of 10 (60 percent)

2005 (4th of July)
AL WEST: Angels
AL CENTRAL: White Sox
AL EAST: Red Sox
AL Wild-Card: Twins
NL WEST: Padres
NL CENTRAL: Cardinals
NL EAST: Nationals
NL Wild-Card: Braves
World Series Champion: White Sox
Eventual division champs: 5 (Angels, White Sox, Cardinals, Braves, Padres)
Eventual wild-cards: 1 (Red Sox)
Total playoff teams: 6 of 8 (75 percent)

2004
AL WEST: A’s
AL CENTRAL: White Sox
AL EAST: Yankees
AL Wild-Card: Rangers
NL WEST: Giants
NL CENTRAL: Cardinals
NL EAST: Phillies
NL Wild-Card: Cubs
World Series Champion: Red Sox
Eventual division champs: 2 (Yankees, Cardinals)
Eventual wild-cards: 0
Total playoff teams: 2 of 8 (25 percent)

2003
AL WEST: Mariners
AL CENTRAL: Royals
AL EAST: Yankees
AL Wild-Card: Red Sox
NL WEST: Giants
NL CENTRAL: Cardinals
NL EAST: Braves
NL Wild-Card: Phillies
World Series Champion: Marlins

Eventual division champs: 3 (Yankees, Giants, Braves)
Eventual wild-cards: 1 (Red Sox)
Total playoff teams: 4 of 8 (50 percent)

2002
AL WEST: Mariners
AL CENTRAL: Twins
AL EAST: Yankees
AL Wild-Card: Red Sox
NL WEST: Dodgers
NL CENTRAL: Cardinals
NL EAST: Braves
NL Wild-Card: Diamondbacks
World Series Champion: Angels

Eventual division champs: 5 (Twins, Yankees, Cardinals, Braves, Diamondbacks)
Eventual wild-cards: 1 (Red Sox)
Total playoff teams: 6 of 8 (75 percent)

2001
AL WEST: Mariners
AL CENTRAL: Twins
AL EAST: Yankees
AL Wild-Card: Red Sox
NL WEST: D’backs
NL CENTRAL: Cubs
NL EAST: Phillies
NL Wild-Card: Dodgers
World Series Champion: D’backs

Eventual division champs: 3 (Mariners, Yankees, D’backs)
Eventual wild-cards: 0
Total playoff teams: 3 of 8 (37.5 percent)

2000
AL WEST: Mariners
AL CENTRAL: White Sox
AL EAST: Blue Jays
AL Wild-Card: A’s
NL WEST: D’backs
NL CENTRAL: Cardinals
NL EAST: Braves
NL Wild-Card: Mets
World Series Champion: Yankees

Eventual division champs: 4 (A’s, White Sox, Braves, Cardinals)
Eventual wild-cards: 2 (Mariners, Mets
Total playoff teams: 6 of 8 (75 percent)

1999
AL WEST: Rangers
AL CENTRAL: Indians
AL EAST: Yankees
AL Wild-Card: Red Sox
NL WEST: Giants
NL CENTRAL: Astros
NL EAST: Braves
NL Wild-Card: Reds
World Series Champion: Yankees

Eventual division champs: 5 (Rangers, Indians, Yankees, Braves, Astros)
Eventual wild-cards: 1 (Indians
Total playoff teams: 6 of 8 (75 percent)

1998
AL WEST: Angels
AL CENTRAL: Indians
AL EAST: Yankees
AL Wild-Card: Red Sox
NL WEST: Padres
NL CENTRAL: Astros
NL EAST: Braves
NL Wild-Card: Giants
World Series Champion: Yankees

Eventual division champs: 5 (Yankees, Indians, Padres, Astros, Braves)
Eventual wild-cards: 1 (Red Sox
Total playoff teams: 6 of 8 (75 percent)

1997
AL WEST: Mariners
AL CENTRAL: Indians
AL EAST: Orioles
AL Wild-Card: Yankees
NL WEST: Giants
NL CENTRAL: Pirates, Cardinals (tie)
NL EAST: Braves
NL Wild-Card: Marlins
World Series Champion: Marlins

Eventual division champs: 5 (Mariners, Indians, Orioles, Braves, Giants)
Eventual wild-cards: 2 (Yankees, Marlins
Total playoff teams: 7 of 9 (77.8 percent)

1996
AL WEST: Rangers
AL CENTRAL: Indians
AL EAST: Yankees
AL Wild-Card: White Sox
NL WEST: Dodgers
NL CENTRAL: Astros
NL EAST: Braves
NL Wild-Card: Expos
World Series Champion: Yankees

Eventual division champs: 4 (Rangers, Indians, Yankees, Braves)
Eventual wild-cards: 1 (Dodgers)
Total playoff teams: 5 of 8 (62.5 percent)

1995
AL WEST: Angels
AL CENTRAL: Indians
AL EAST: Red Sox
AL Wild-Card: Rangers
NL WEST: Rockies
NL CENTRAL: Reds
NL EAST: Braves
NL Wild-Card: Phillies
World Series Champion: Braves

Eventual division champs: 4 (Indians, Red Sox, Braves, Reds)
Eventual wild-cards: 1 (Rockies)
Total playoff teams: 5 of 8 (62.5 percent)

rhurd