Newly Shaped A.L. East
April 10, 2012
The beginning of the 2012 Major League Baseball season saw some teams carry on business as usual like it was still last year. Like the Tigers, who began the season with a three game sweep of the Red Sox. The Red Sox, a storied franchise since the early days of baseball, on the other hand started off with an 0-3 record, continuing on with their historic collapse during the final month of last season.
The American League East has always been looked upon as the most difficult division in the whole league, with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox dominating the first and seconds spots of the East for almost two decades. The Yankees, appropriately nicknamed The Evil Empire have appeared in seven World Series in the past fifteen years, the most out of any other team in history. They won the fall classic in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009 and lost in 2001 and 2003. When it seemed like the Yankees were destined to dominate the division for years to come, the Red Sox toppled the Empire when they beat them in seven games in the 2004 ALCS and went on to win the World Series against the Cardinals. The Sox would win again in 2007 beating the Rockies, making many to believe the Red Sox had earned the right to call themselves king of the eastern division.
In 2008, the tide turned when the historically atrocious Tampa Bay Devil Rays got a makeover in their uniform design, name (Tampa Bay Rays), and players. The Rays would fight tough against the Yankees and Red Sox in 2008, winning the division and pushing the Red Sox into 2nd place with the Wild Card. The Rays would go on to the World Series, losing in 5 games to the Phillies.
The East has been much more competitive since the “makeover” of the Rays. In years since the Rays’ rebirth the Yankees and Red Sox have failed to make the playoffs, the Sox in 2010 and 2011 and Yankees in 2008. Even the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles are putting up a fight in the East. The Blue Jays have one of the most feared hitters in the game in Jose Bautista while the Orioles have their own in Adam Jones. To begin the 2012 season, the Sox and Yanks began 0-3 while the Rays and Orioles started off 3-0. The Jays are currently 2-3, and sitting at the bottom of the division are the once dominating New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The times have certainly changed over the course of the past decade, and with the way things are panning out right now the division should stay interesting for years to come.