The Stream: NL Central is King, NFL Geniuses and More

Want to know why I love St. Louis? Because the minute we crack the mics open on a Monday morning show, wanna know the very first text (not kidding) that comes through our machine in our studio?

“…please have someone tell oquendo and maloney about high sock Sunday. The guy in sec 428 row 1 seat 13 had his on. They looked ridicoulus out there with no high socks.”

Must be nice when the team has the best record in the National League (28-15) and the only thing left to complain about is “High Sock Sunday.”

I mean, for crying out loud, if you had concerns about anything, it could’ve been that, ya know, the “Baby Birds” now have three rookies in the starting rotation (credit my co-host, Bob Ramsey, for re-coining the term).

Let us move along.

I’m starting to read a lot of national pundits start to say that the NL Central is the best division in baseball (so, I guess 43 games is enough to erase “small sample size” from all the pundits’ season vocabulary). To be the best division, teams from that division must obviously be playing well against teams outside of their own division. That is certainly the case with the NL Central, where the three best records in the NL reside.

Each division’s record against teams outside their respective division (going into Monday):

NL Central – 64-49

NL West – 54-51

NL East – 55-75

Okay, okay, NL East fans. I know that’s not fair to you. The Miami Marlins are worse than terrible, and they weigh down that record. Fair enough. Let’s take them out of the equation: The division is still eight games under .500 against teams outside of their division.

Taking that a step further, the best of the NL Central still has the upper hand on the best of the other NL divisions. St. Louis, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have a cumulative record of 15-11 over Washington, Atlanta and San Francisco — three teams that many pundits picked as playoff teams before the season began.

Right now, it is almost impossible to argue that the NL Central hasn’t played the best to this point.

For the first time in my life, that I can remember, I bought a pen and used it until it ran out of ink. I’ve always lost pens. It was always a given. But this, folks, THIS is a new me.

By the way, I keep on hearing pundits say that the Pirates have a great chance of avoiding their seemingly annual second-half slide down the standings and making the playoffs this season.

“This year, they have a better chance of hanging in there,” they’ll say.

And it’s the same people who said it last year and the year before.  Hey, one of these years, if they keep it up, they’ll be right…

And they’ll let you know about it, I’m sure.

The National Football League is massive not just because of the gladiator-style theater that they produce on a weekly basis. The powers-at-be on Park Avenue are also just smart.

In a likely attempt to disarm illegal free-agent tampering at the NFL scouting combine (which is in February, before the new league year and free-agent negotiations are legally allowed to begin each March), the NFL and NFLPA, according to Adam Schefter and others, are going to move the NFL draft to May.

That’s a fantastic idea. One of the side effects of such a move would be that there would be yet more offseason interest in the NFL. There will be talk, talk and more talk about the NFL Draft — an extra month of it. More breakdown, more talking heads, more fandom … in the offseason!

If the NFL wasn’t a year-round sport already, it will be if this change goes through. Although, my guess is my head may explode with all of the extra NFL draft talk. Hell, it comes close to exploding already.

Oh, speaking of head exploding, I’m all caught up on “Mad Men,” and they just keep outdoing themselves. Mercy, what a wild place to work and what a different world the 1960s were. The show is fascinating, and although Don Draper is turning into a mild loon, I can’t look away. He is always an inch away from a disaster or a woman … or both. Love it.