I have the polish and rags out for cleaning dust off a recent take in Northern Lakes Conference (NLC) and a summer take on the potential of six 100-game winning teams in MLB.

Last night’s high school football action was not in the books at this column’s composition time. Even so, the NLC tiers are falling into their expected places at a macro level. Each team among each tier now eagerly awaits its “second season” pairings, broadcast late Sunday afternoon October 9.

I’ll offer my postseason projections for our five Times-Union area teams soon including an early guess of the twelve state finalists among the six IHSAA football classes.

Let’s get back on topic to the NLC and MLB takes this morning.

Tier 1 – Warsaw remains in the top tier despite being outscored by its tier mates Mishawaka and NorthWood 85-40. They’ll close the season returning their winning ways. The Tigers remain in the upper tier with differences within this tier being player health/availability, turnovers, and keeping multiple weapons at bay such as the ones Mishawaka and NorthWood showcased in their wins over the Tigers.

The Cavemen, who moved to the top of both state polls in Class 5A, certainly won’t look past their sectional field, showing potential for a deep postseason run. The Panthers (#3 media poll, #5 coaches’ poll) are likely eager to see where they land in the sectional pairings taking place in the late afternoon Sunday October 9.

Tier 2 – Concord and Northridge maintain their place in this caveat. The two met last night. The Minutemen finish the regular season against Mishawaka, and Plymouth. Northridge is a tough out. They’ll begin the first of twelve straight seasons of closing out their regular season campaign against Warsaw.

Tier 3 – The Goshen RedHawks will come to Fisher Field hell-bent on spoiling Warsaw’s Senior Night festivities, but numbers on the field and the sidelines are taking their toll, and their regular season ends at NorthWood’s Andrews Field for the next twelve seasons.

Records are thrown aside each year the Tigers and Wawasee vie for the highly coveted “W” trophy, especially when the Warriors bring even more grit to the gridiron. Plymouth is determined to begin rebuilding their program with some promise shown in their middle school program.

My Major League Baseball viewing was predictably, and drastically, reduced by the onset of football season. I checked the standings for the first time since my summer column extolling the potential of five or six 100-win teams.

It appears four MLB teams will LOSE 100 games along with the four teams on pace to WIN 100 games.


I’ve wondered – then regained my sanity and stopped wondering – if an English Premiere League soccer style of relegation and promotion would improve the bottom finishers in MLB.  I reminded myself, based on this year’s possibility of four 100-loss teams, how much bad baseball would be on our TV sets if there were an expanded lower tier.

I’m glad my focus shifted to football in the meantime, but I’m happy to see what is taking shape in the MLB playoff picture.

The Dodgers are the cream of the crop, and I find myself rooting for them in any season when they make a postseason appearance even though I’m a Cleveland fan. The Guardians clinched a postseason berth, but October action will start and stop quickly for them.

I’m glad to see three American Leagues teams in the mix who were once “modern” expansion squads. Seattle and Toronto (est. 1977) will likely join Tampa Bay (1998 - those Rays who are no longer devilish) in the playoffs.

Other MLB postseason pluses include both New York teams in the playoffs accompanied by Atlanta, St. Louis, and a San Diego Padres squad who made some interesting acquisitions before the trading deadline.

I’ve been so busy this past week, and the week - which starts in my world with my news-show car wash each Sunday followed by NFL action – had demands mandating the abandonment of my customary Sunday NFL viewing after the pregame shows finished. There was no way I could get anything done with an NFL-centered Sunday.

It’s OK for me because I subscribed to NFL+ so I could watch full or condensed versions of completed ballgames because there are at least a handful of NFL Sundays I must stay away from the television. Such days, at best, I’ll have NFL RedZone channel going as I move throughout the house, grocery shop, or spend most of my time at the computer.

This last week I had ESPN’s Manning-cast going Monday night, but it barely received my undivided attention as the week’s demands never relented. In fact,  the games I usually watch during the week on NFL+ remain neglected as week four gets into full swing Sunday morning.

Week 3’s NFL action is now the week that never was. I’ll catch up in tranches until the next accounting close cycle returns me to catch-up mode compounded by a busy athletic event schedule.

Finally, I wish the best for each soccer side beginning their second season among their respective sectionals beginning Monday.

I’ll be on the public address mic at the Tiger Soccer Complex for the Class 3A sectional featuring sides from Fort Wayne Northrup, Columbia City, and our own Warsaw Tigers in a field where the one of those three teams will likely hoist sectional championship hardware. The journey among each of those three sides, however, will not be easy. Homestead and Huntington North look forward to their roles as tournament spoilers.