It’s that time of year again in Major League Baseball.

Division leaders and Wild Card hopefuls dominate the headlines as fans across the nation begin to anticipate the excitement of October pennant chases. 

September is where legends cement their place, managers justify their contracts, role players previously shrouded in obscurity make their names known, MVPs and Cy Young winners bring home their hardware, headlines are stolen and franchise-crippling collapses are immortalized. 

The most exciting month of baseball’s regular season is where the pretenders and the contenders are finally separated as W’s, X’s, Y’s and Z’s begin to finalize the standings, granting a select few ball clubs the ever-so-elusive invitation to the sport’s most exclusive dance.

Lost in the hype, however, as disgruntled fans of hopeless teams begin to switch the channel over to football are their first glances at a brighter future. 

For those of us not lucky enough to construct our hopes around the boys in New York, Milwaukee, Texas, Arizona, Detroit or Philadelphia, September call-ups are all we’ve got left to give the tail end of the schedule some measure of relevance.

This is where the old Brooklyn Dodgers mantra of “wait till next year” becomes a battle cry, because unless your favored club is within a few games of a postseason berth, the future is your last resort.

Now, that’s not to say that next year’s prospects are looking too bright in every corner of Bud Selig’s empire.

In remote ball-playing wastelands, such as Houston, Texas and Baltimore, it’s going to take years of patience and good faith before the home team can even begin to see itself on the same page as the rest of its competition.

For these five clubs, however, grim outlooks need not be applied.

With the savvy dealing, creativity and patience of their front offices alongside the steady development of their promising talent on the farm, brighter days appear to be just on the horizon, merely awaiting a fresh 162 or two.

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