A little break from adult because I know a lot of you are also sports fans.

Back at the end of spring training I made my predictions as to how the 30 teams in major league baseball would finish. You check them out at http://aan.xxx/art-of-adult-our-2017-mlb-predictions/  Now we come to the midway point, the All Star break. Thus far it has been one crazy time in all six divisions. Plenty of surprises and disappointments and a plethora of players from just about every single team going on the Disabled List some lost for long periods creating big problems for their teams.

First let’s begin with the two divisions that are in runaway mode. The NL East has the powerful Washington Nationals with a huge lead over the rest of the pack. Let’s face it, the Nats have little competition with a terrible team like the Mets, and three in rebuild mode, the Phillies, Marlins and Braves. So their big lead, despite some pitching problems is no surprise. In the AL West there is the very powerful Houston Astros who could very well win 110 games or more this year. There are some good teams in the division but their double digit lead is no fluke and they are head and shoulders the best team in all of baseball…..period.

Now onto the other divisions, all of which look to be dogfights right down to the final week and make for a very interesting September for baseball fans. In the AL East, while the Red Sox currently look like they could win it…..not so fast! Like every team in the division they have pitching problems. The one team, if they can get their bullpen squared away, that could be the surprise are the Tampa Bay Rays. The have the offense, no question. Their defense has been shored up with a great acquisition in Adieny Hechavarria at SS. Even with the loss of Kevin Keirmaier the Rays OF has performed extremely well. If the bullpen gets squared away it is going to be fun in Tampa Bay. The Yankees have big pitching problems. Like the Rays they have the offense led by the huge rookie Aaron Judge, who could win a plethora of awards and set some records. But if the Yankees are going to contend they also have to fix their pitching. Baltimore and Toronto may look like they will get buried, but they both will probably be sellers before trade deadline ends on July 31 and look to next year. The division could come down to Boston, New York and Tampa Bay fighting it out for the division title and a wild card.

In the AL Central defending champ Cleveland should be able to come out on top again led by Corey Kluber on the mound and a solid offense and defense. This team just seems to have everything going for them. The upstart Minnesota Twins are proving more and more they are for real and could be the Indians biggest challenge. They have offense, they have decent pitching and they find ways to win games that look lost. They are well rounded and will be in it to the end. Kansas City is another team that could really turn it on in the second half, but can their pitching hold up and help carry them? That is the big question mark. Detroit’s better days are behind them and they, like the White Sox can only look to the future and unload some of their old guard. This division will be a race between Cleveland, Minnesota and Kansas City.

Over in the NL Central, that is where the two biggest surprises are. Everyone expected the Cubs, as world champs, to pick up where they left off in 2016. However, that has not been the case. The one team to throw a monkey wrench into everything are the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers are making believers out of a lot of people with their combo of new faces, plus power and pitching and show no signs of slowing down. Another favorite, the Cardinals, have had their problems as has Pittsburgh, but the Cubs have been playing unlike a championship team. They seems very disjointed and nothing seems to work for a long period. Milwaukee is proving to be the real deal and just might win it, but never count out the Cardinals, Pirates, and yes, even the Cubs.

Then there is NL West and another three team fight going on. Until a month ago, it really looked like my pick for the surprise team of the year, the Colorado Rockies, were really going to be the horse to catch in the race. Then they went on a horrific losing streak, while the Dodgers and D-Backs turned on the heat and both have been winning at an amazing clip. The Dodgers power has been unbelievable, their pitching awesome and their defense superior. The D-Backs have just done a complete 180 and have shown the baseball world they are the real thing. As for the Rockies they have had some serious injury problems but have begun to right the ship. In the second half I can see this still being a three way fight, but in the end I just think the Dodgers may have too much for the D-Backs or Rockies to overcome. So one of them could be a wild card team.

Of course there is one more factor that comes into play that could change everything for a lot of the teams in both leagues. That is the July 31 trade deadline. Teams are going to eager to either be buyers or sellers to help their teams reach the post season or to begin building for the future. So look for teams like the Padres, Giants, Oakland, Toronto, Mets, and a few others to be sellers and part with some players to contending teams that could use a little help. The month of July may turn out to be one of the most interesting in several years considering the players that could be made available to the teams who are contenders and not pretenders. It is going to be a very interesting second half. Here are my final predictions as to how I see the season and post season for 2017.

AL – Division winners – Boston, Cleveland and Houston…….Wild cards – Minnesota and Tampa Bay……..AL Champ – Houston

NL – Division winners – Washington, St. Louis, Los Angeles……..Wild cards – St. Louis and Arizona…………..NL Champ – Los Angeles

World Series – Houston vs. Los Angeles……Houston in seven games.

There you have my thoughts, ideas and insights as to how I see this year’s MLB teams and races going. How close will I be? Who knows? Iam just a big fan of the game and have been for more years than I care to admit. When I am not doing work with adult films or the adult industry, baseball is my other real passion. I enjoy playing with the crystal ball so play along with me, let me have your comments and feedback about who you think will be the winners.

Art Koch, National Features & DVD Editor, NightMoves Magazine and AAN