Hey! You totally just copied my intro! How dare you?!
I don't really care. This whole thing seems kind of meaningless to me, but off the top of my head I'd say it means the division with the best, most exciting teams.
Let's face it, instant popularity is king in a world of short attention spans, which is why the NL West gets our vote. It's hot, at least right now, because it's the new home of the game's richest free-agent pitcher (Barry Zito), the most celebrated homecoming king (Randy Johnson) and the collective migrations of Jason Schmidt, Greg Maddux, and David Wells.
Oh. I guess "hot" means..."old?"
Zito, I guess, lends some "hotness" to the NL West. But Randy Johnson? He's 43, has no cartilage in his knees, and wasn't a very good pitcher last year. Jason Schmidt is pretty good, but Greg Maddux? "Hot?" And Wells? Really? He makes the NL West "hot?" That's like saying that "Mork and Mindy" got "hot" when Jonathan Winters came aboard to play Mearth.
It's enough to make you think the lure of the East is finally on the decline; Zito turned his back on what should've been an layup courtship for the Mets, just as Schmidt blew off the Yankees and everyone else to the right of the Mississippi. Had it not been for the Red Sox's snaring of Daisuke Matsuzaka, the East would've had its worst recruiting winter in years, although it can still be argued that the Sox and Yankees are still on the shortest path to October.
Yeah...I guess the only thing that might make the AL East "hot" by your definition is... the $100m+ signing of the biggest international superstar not already in MLB. Also, Vernon Wells re-signed with Toronto early. And JD Drew is coming. And Bobby Abreu last year, for the Yankees. So:
AL EAST: Major new additions or re-ups since last July 31:
Fat D. Wells
In the meantime, however, the NL West likely will post the majors' lowest overall ERA -- or as Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told Peter Gammons recently, "[the division] is clearly a pitching-oriented division."
PetCo is huge. Dodger Stadium is huge. It's like 534 feet to left center in PacBell. The former BOB is huge. Congrats on having the lowest ERAs, NL West.
What made the West so tempting? For some, it was money. Zito obviously couldn't resist the $126 million he'll be earning over the next seven seasons. While it's true the Giants essentially were bidding against themselves -- one AL general manager called it "madness in a market that'd already gone mad" -- Zito opted for San Francisco's familiarity over, say, New York's energy.
Scott Boras: You ready to talk decision, Barry m'boy?
The NL West is H-O-T hot! How hot? So hot that Randy Johnson, a 43 year-old jerk with no cartilage in his knee and a very bad ERA and a lot of HR given up last year, mentioned in passing to someone that he:"wouldn't mind" coming back! Feelin' hot hot hot!
The NL West: Old People Wouldn't Mind Comin' Back! If you can't take the heat, then you should mind coming back!
And why, you might ask, does an old person not mind coming back? Because he couldn't hack in in NY because of the pressure and excitement! And he got mildly grumpy and said to himself, "Hey, I know who is desperate enough to give me another year on my contract -- those desperately-in-debt folks in Arizona who need to sell tickets!"
Ouch! The scalding hot NL West strikes again!
Johnson might or might not be the strikeout machine who averaged nearly 11 K's a game in 2004, his last year in the National League. Logic says no chance, considering he's 43, coming off back surgery and was working with a diminished fastball in his two years with the Yankees. But working in a friendly environment will make a real difference to Johnson, who was a virtual outcast in pinstripes, distancing himself from teammates and fans alike.
The NL West: So Hot We Got a 43 Year-Old Grumblepuss Who Just Had Back Surgery and Has No Cartilage In His Knees to Come Back Here and Pitch for a Mediocre Team Where He Will Likely Make Very Little Difference! Feel the Heat!!!!
Soriano, Pinella, the presence of Carlos Zambrano and the resigning of Derrek Lee a year+ ago makes the Cubs alone more interesting and "hot" than any team in the NL West. Also, Klorprishh, guess where Clemens is going to sign? Can't guess? The team is in a big city on the East Coast. Derek Jeter plays for them. (Hint: Not Arizona.)
The AL Central isn't quite the bruising division it was two years ago. The Twins will be hard-pressed to replace starters Brad Radke (retired) and Francisco Liriano (Tommy John surgery). Actually, the division race will be determined by just how much leftover momentum the Tigers will have in '07. Their acquisition of Gary Sheffield was an intriguing one; his loyalty to Jim Leyland, his former manager in Florida, might be the tipping point in sending the Tigers back to the playoffs.
I just crunched the numbers, and the AL Central, especially if Liriano comes back, is way hotter than the NL West. Liriano, Sheff, the Tigers' Young Guns, Sizemore, Hafner...the Hotness Index is off the charts!
How can Kirkplecch say that the NL West is the hottest division?! If I didn't know better, I'd almost say that "hotness" is a dumb adjective to use when you think about baseball.Wait a second...you guys don't think...
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