Did I wake up this morning in some sort of alternate baseball universe? Check today's Major League Baseball standings and you will see what I'm talking about.
The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are tied in the American League East at the season's quarter-pole. For LAST PLACE! The Baltimore Orioles are leading the division, and have the American League's best record.
Things are pretty much the same over in the National League.
The Philadelphia Phillies are last in the NL East, with the Washington Nationals in second place only a half-game behind the Atlanta Braves. The New York Mets (22-20) are closer to first place than the Yankees, just 3.5 games out in the NL East.
The St. Louis Cardinals are winning the NL Central despite Albert Pujols defecting to Anaheim.
About the only normal thing in all of baseball? The Chicago Cubs have the worst record in the National League. Thank you, Cubbies. At least somebody around baseball seems to have remembered their place.
So, what the heck is going on here? The Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies are getting long in the tooth, sure, but this could not have been expected.
Truth is, it looks like Commissioner Bud Selig has -- or is close to having -- what he has always wanted. Parity. More playoff teams. A system that penalizes the rich teams for spending too much, and revenue sharing that has put enough money is the pockets of small-market teams to make them more able to compete with the big boys.
Will things turn around and look 'normal' again at the end of the season? Odds are that the Phillies, Red Sox and Yankees won't stay at the bottom of the standings forever. In the new reality of baseball, however, it really should not be that stunning to see them there now.