There's been a lot of discussion this year about how the NL Central is a weak division, how 83 wins might be enough to get first place, how whoever wins the division will get chewed up in the playoffs, etc. Personally, I've already gotten a lot of pleasure out of this season's Cubs - but if they do manage to win the Central, I'll be very proud, because it is the toughest division in Major League Baseball.
I know you're thinking that I'm still giddy from last night's late rally. But let's look at a very basic fact about the NL Central - it has SIX TEAMS in it, while most others have five, and the AL West has a measly four.
This means that the Cubs (and their division rivals) have more teams to beat.
It means that in any given season, the Cubs have a greater chance of being in the same division as a "team of destiny" that just goes nuts and roars to a division championship.
It means that in a year like this one, when three divisional rivals are non-competitive, there are still three who ARE competitive, and that they will play a lot of games against one another. Heck, in the AL West, if you had three non-competitive teams, the other team would have a cakewalk - the Cubs will never, ever have a shot at this, as long as the current divisional lineup stays in place (and I think it oughta be changed ASAP).
None of this changes the facts on the ground, of course. Whichever of the Cubs/Brewers/Cards of 2007 wins, they're never going to be mentioned in the same breath at the '27 Yankees. But if you look at the big picture, any win of the NL Central is something to be proud of. And I, for one, have been enjoying the ride, and intend to continue doing so!