Well, lookie here. We have a 3-way tie for the AL Wild Card, as the White Sox, Twins, and Yankees are in a dead heat. The Blue Jays are 3 games back and the Red Sox are 2 games ahead, so we have 5 teams within 5 games of each other, battling for just 2 playoff spots. The A's and Angels are tied in the West, with the Rangers just a game out.
Only the Tigers look to be a lock for an AL playoff spot and considering their schedule over the next 5 weeks, I expect they will come back to the crowd. Detroit plays their division foes Chicago, Minnesota, and Cleveland each 6 times in this period, while facing the Rangers (4 times), Yankees (3), Red Sox (3), and Angels (3). Only their 4 games versus the Devil Rays being against a squad not in Scott's Top 10 teams in MLB. As the White Sox demonstrated last year, it doesn't take much to lose a big lead in August, especially when you have a hot team on your tail. I'm not saying they won't make the playoffs, but the heat of August will be felt in the Motor City.
As great as this race looks to be, it still won't be able to match the excitement of 1967. Going into the final week of the season, 4 teams (Twins, Tigers, Red Sox, and White Sox) were all within 2 games of each other. This was before multiple divisions or wildcards, so only 1 team would make it to the post-season from these 4.
The White Sox preceded to lose their last 5 games to fall-out of the race, but going into the final day of the regular season, the Red Sox and Twins were tied at 91-70, while the Tigers were 90-70, with a double-header against the Angels. Boston beat Minnesota and the Tigers lost the second game of their doubleheader versus Los Angeles, so the Red Sox went on to play the Cardinals in one of the great World Series of all-time.
1967 was my favorite season to read about in baseball history, because of all the great stories. The epic AL pennant chase, Yaz's triple crown, Bob Gibson battling Jim Lonborg in the World Series, Tom Seaver and Rod Carew being named rookie of the years in their respective leagues. What a magical season. Here's hoping that 2006 will provide some of the same thrills. It's shaping up to be a lot of fun.