The AL West has been an interesting division in years past. And since the Mariners ruled the West in 2001, the division has seen a lot of variety.
The A’s had a couple years of West glory in the early 2000’s. Once the Angels splashed Vladimir Guerrero, they wore the crown with pride for five of the next six seasons.
After Vlad departed for Texas, he took the division crown energy with him. Texas not only won the West the next couple seasons, but the pennant as well. Shortly after, the A’s stormed back from out of nowhere to finish off an unreal AL West crown and rob the Rangers of their third straight.
The AL West became a bit interesting when it welcomed in the Houston Astros after years of being in the NL Central. Their first couple years were a rebuilding, laughing stock. Since 2015, the Astros haven’t won the West every year but have become a constant threat and thorn in the side to every division foe, especially the Mariners. They find every way to win (if you know what I mean) and most of the time they pull it off.
Whether by following the MLB rules or not, their late game heroics became a broken record. So much so that when the Nats came from behind in Houston to win this year’s World Series, they pretty much beat the Astros at their own game of clutch.
So looking ahead to the 2020 AL West, what if this division was a family of real people like you and me? Why don’t we start from the 2019 standings, top to bottom?
The West brothers:
The West family has five sons. They most likely live in the suburbs somewhere. They have a decent-sized driveway and a multi-bedroom house. The reigning division champion Astros are the oldest brother, named Craig Berkman. Craig always struggled with self-esteem issues as a kid. But after receiving some therapy, he became more confident and received better grades in school.
Craig was a very involved and busy high schooler. He did everything from swimming to varsity baseball. He was a 4.0 student up until junior year. He told his parents how hard he was studying for his upcoming SAT exam. He knew that if he conquered this, he would get into a great college. After taking the SAT and getting his results back, Craig found out that he passed. As a celebration, his parents took him out for dinner.
But right before finishing junior year, he received a call from the head of school. A disgruntled former classmate reportedly saw Craig yawning a lot. The problem is that this classmate was sitting right next to him and noticed that whenever Craig yawned, he would glance at his hand for the correct answer. Now this classmate was a former friend of Craig’s and hated his guts due to a falling out.
Craig was eventually acquitted of any potential cheating due to the ex-friend’s word against Craig and no evidence. Even though Craig eventually landed the prestigious college he wanted, his reputation was forever tainted and the school put whiteout over every team photo he was in.
The second-oldest sibling is named Rickey Eckersley, who prefers to go by Catfish. He is very different from Craig. While others would say he lives in Craig’s shadow, Catfish would say that they are just different. Although Catfish never put up the same GPA as his older brother, he is more down-to-earth and has less of an ego than Craig.
Catfish is currently a freshman in high school and wants to help people for a living. His ultimate goal is an Master’s in Social Service. He never thrives more than when giving people less fortunate than him a chance at a better life. His reputation in school is a hard-worker who never quits and is “all heart.” Despite never being the most athletic kid in sports, he always did his best and practiced his heart out.
Next up is our middle child, Pudge Ryan. Pudge is an interesting fellow. He is six and three years younger than Craig and Catfish respectively. Pudge has an extremely “booming” presence, physically and verbally. He has a deep voice and tends to talk loudly out of habit. Though it rubs people the wrong way, he has his share of friends.
Pudge had an insane growth spurt in middle school, making him almost as tall as his oldest brother, Craig. He was always the biggest kid in his class and has plenty of skills. His parents signed him up for pee-wee baseball at age twelve. Opposing coaches asked for a birth certificate due to how old he looked. One week into his first season, Pudge broke the pee-wee record for most home runs during that span.
Though he just plays baseball for fun, he likes his reputation as a power hitter. He likes it so much that he wants to pursue a degree in construction management. He loves to build and can lift most things himself where it normally takes two or three helpers.
We come to the second-youngest West brother, named Garret Trout. Garret has disappointed people in his life for years and is known as an underachiever. He is probably the smartest West brother in terms of natural intellect and his favorite subject is the STEM field. He loves numbers and all the different ways you can use them. All four of Garret’s brothers see him starting his own tech company when he’s older.
But Garret has a big problem. Intelligence doesn’t always translate into strong effort or good grades. In fact, Garret is on academic probation again. Not out of bad behavior or a serious crime; Garret simply doesn’t do the work! Well, he does but he barely tries at all. None of this adds up to the other West brothers since he tutors them all in every school subject.
But when it comes to his own success, his foot is off the gas. Garret has been in multiple arguments with his parents about their frustration with a huge, capable brain choosing to spend all day in his room playing computer games instead of showing the world what he’s made of.
Last but not least, we come to the baby of the family in Ken Martinez, Jr. Ken has self-esteem issues along with severe anxiety. You can then see how being named after his dad makes him feel. Ken Sr. is a successful divorce attorney and has been since straight out of law school. Senior continuously pushes law school on Junior but he insists he wants to be a doctor.
There is only one problem: Junior hates bio-chem and fails all of his math and science classes. He stays up all night and has several tutors helping but zero improvement. Junior is one of the more frustrating West brothers. He is great at starting a new hobby or activity.
Once he puts his mind to something, he can’t be stopped. But he can’t seem to maintain anything. Whether with middle school girlfriends or key club, he “chokes” at multiple opportunities that come his way. His parents even signed him up for the school play to manage his anxiety and socialize him more.
He was cast in the lead of his school play, before throwing up all over the music director during opening night. He immediately quit theatre and to this day is still trying to find his niche in life.
What will the West brothers be like in 2020? Only two-and-a-half months away.