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MLB Power Rankings Heading Into the Second Half

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While die-hard baseball fans enjoy their 162-game schedule, the All-Star break can be considered by some as the real start to the baseball season.

We now have a great understanding of which team’s are real contenders and the excitement of a pennant race finally begins to pickup.

With the trade deadline mere weeks away, the MLB season is in full swing, making it a great time to take a look at where each team stands. Here is the power rankings for all 30 teams as we enter the second half of the season.

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Baseball Needs to Embrace This ‘Belli and Yeli’ Home Run Race

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In 1998, interest in baseball was at an all-time high, when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa chased an unbreakable record with the whole nation watching.

Roger Maris’ record for 61 home runs in a season, stood for nearly 40 years. Then with a little pharmaceutical help, the record was broken by both McGwire and Sosa in the same season.

The pair combined to hit a whopping 136 home runs in 1998, with McGwire’s 70 making him the new home run king.

Unfortunately all of those records were made illegitimate, when we learned that McGwire and Sosa were using steroids. Barry Bonds is also believed to have been steroids as well when he set the new mark for most homers in a season with 73 in 2001.

With that being said, there are people who believe that Maris’ 61 home runs are still the record. Which is a record that could be broken this season.

National league sluggers Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich are both tied right now with 34 home runs on the season. Bellinger is one pace to hit 56 home runs and with two extra games to play, Yelich is on pace to hit 57.

Still, with the way the baseballs have been flying this season, it would only take one real hot streak to put either slugger on pace for the first 60-home run season since 2001. And the first steroid-free one since, 1961.

While the player’s aren’t juiced this time, the balls certainly appears to be, but that isn’t bothering these guys one bit.

Putting the baseball element aside, these guys have a real chance to take back a piece of history that was stolen by the steroid-era. In a day and end where baseball does not seem to matter nationally, this a great chance to market the game to the next generation, just like Sosa and McGwire did in 1998.

And just like in 1998, home runs are up across the board the same way they were in the steroid era. That season, Greg Vaughn was a dark horse to break Maris’ record as well, going into the All-Star break with 30 homers.

This year, there is even a dark horse to be the home run champ as well and he already has that title on his resume.

That massive 474-foot home run was Pete Alonso’s 31st of the season, as a slow start out of the All-Star break has him trailing Bellinger and Yelich.

You have to understand those arms being a little tired though, as Alonso was working hard over the break, winning the home run derby.

While they have denied any part in juicing the baseballs this year, if more home runs were the intention, the MLB’s plan has absolutely succeeded.

Now it is time for the league to capitalize off these home runs and turn the bad press about the baseball around by getting behind this chase to break Maris’ record once again.

It also helps that these guys today are great all-around ballplayers that are leading there teams and going after the MVP along with the home runs.

For the first time in awhile, Major League Baseball has a great national story under their nose. All they have to do is sniff.

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Baseball

Top 20 Greatest Sports Movies of All-Time

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Sports movies are the perfect personification of everything that we love about sports. They give the audience the same thrilling emotion that goes into the competition of sports, but with a dash of movie magic.

Stories of perseverance such Rudy or Rocky teach you to never give you up. While movies like Replacements and Bad News Bears show how any group of misfits can come together as a team to overcome all odds.

Now before we get into this list one thing needs to be made clear, there is spoilers that lie ahead as we look back at the Best Sports Movies of all-time. 

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Travis d’Arnaud Makes History While Single-Handedly Beating the Yankees

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Baseball is a team game in every sense of the word, as one player can only impact winning so much in that sport.

Yet, on certain days when everything lines up in the right way, a player can put together a game so great that he wins it himself for his team.

That was the case on Monday night, with catcher Travis d’Arnaud leading the Tampa Bay Rays to victory on the road against the New York Yankees.

d’Arnaud batted lead-off for the Rays, which proved to be a great decision as it gave him five turns to do damage at the dish. In his first at-bat, d’Arnaud led off the game with a home run.

d’Arnaud actually hit a walk-off homer against the Yankees before the All-Star break, so this marked his second-straight at-bat going yard against New York.

Then in the third inning, d’Arnaud did it again.

From that point on, the Yankees tried to be careful pitching to d’Arnaud and walked him in his next two plate appearances.

Then in the ninth inning, after the Yankees had come back and taken a 4-2 lead, d’Arnaud came up to the plate again. This time with two men on, two outs and one of the best closers in baseball on the mound in Aroldis Chapman.

In this at-bat, the Yankees would pitch to him and d’Arnaud made them pay.

d’Arnaud gave the Rays a 5-4 lead with his third home run of the night, as he picked up all five RBIs of the game and Tampa closed out the victory.

It is not often that a team gets that kind of production from their leadoff hitter or their catcher, much less the same guy taking on both roles in the same game. In doing so, d’Arnaud secured his own little place in MLB history.

The Yankees may be upset to lose to their division rival, but sometimes you just have to tip your hat to a guy that had likely the best game of his career.

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