The season is long, forgiving of slumps and demanding of persistence. Of all the sports, the baseball season is the best season not just because it has the most room for ebbs and flows but because it's the most meaningful competition.
The baseball season actually eliminates worthy clubs. A baseball club left out of the playoffs might have been good enough to win the World Series. In any other sport, going to the playoffs just means you're not terrible.
Come October, someone will be heartbroken. Someone's going to say that if they could have just keep it together for a couple more months they would have won it all.
The Reds might have been saying that last October, or the Chicago White Sox. Now one thinks the real Reds and White Sox are the clubs that tanked the second half of last year rather than the clubs with winning records at last year's All-Star break.
The National League is so wide open right now that virtually nothing can be ruled out or predicted. The New York Mets, the National League's best club by many assessments, haven't created meaningful distance between themselves and the Atlanta Braves or the Phillies in the National League East. The San Diego Padres went to the break with the National League's best record (49-38), and they could finish third in their division without slumping.
And how much of what's happening in the NL Central right now is real? A .500 club is a title contender, yet clubs that ought to be .500 clubs aren't cutting it.