If you’re like me and have been distracted by the World Cup and LeBron-gate over these past few weeks, you were probably shocked to learn that baseball’s midway point is already upon us.

So to help you get into the swing of things as we head toward the playoffs, here are 50 Reasons To Be Excited For The Second Half of the season…

1. Major League Baseball Home Run Leader, Jose Bautista:
So, are we sure George Mitchell caught everyone who was using steroids? Just asking.

2. The Hope That The Cardinals Make An Unexpected Run To The World Series: Just to see Tony LaRussa managing the 2011 All-Star game in Phoenix.

3. The Ongoing Texas Rangers Bankruptcy Trial: You knew things were bad when reports came out last week that Nolan Ryan was opening a lemonade stand.

4. David Wright and “The Situation”: I don’t care if the Mets end up making the playoffs or not. This video clip will always be the highlight of their 2010 season.

5. The White Sox Resurgence: Question: We always hear about Brian Cashman and Theo Epstein, but why doesn’t Kenny Williams ever get credit for being one of the elite GM’s in baseball? This roster has been made over more times than Joan Rivers’ face, yet here come the White Sox again, closing in on another division title.

6. The Pittsburgh Pirates: Going on 14 straight sub-.500 seasons and counting. Well, at least Pittsburgh still has that Roethlisberger guy… Umm, never mind.

7. The Summer of Strasburg: Strasburg has sold more jersey’s in six months than anyone ever has as a rookie. I don’t care what the experts say, he should have been on the All-Star team.

8. Cubs Pitcher Carlos Zambrano: I mean, at this point, I feel like it’d be cruel to pile on. So instead, just insert your own joke here.

9. Josh Johnson: No joke to make here, the dude is just filthy. My only wish is that I got to watch him pitch more often.

(Because of length, this is only PART of Aaron’s 50 Reasons To Be Excited For the Second Half of the Baseball Season. To read the REMAINDER, visit www.aarontorres-sports.com)

10. My First Trip to Camden Yards: Which is scheduled for next week. Anyone have any suggestions?

11. My First Trip to the New Yankee Stadium: Which is scheduled for sometime before the end of the summer. Anyone have tickets they want to give away?

12. The Bobby Cox Farewell Tour: Anyone want to chip in on a fruit basket?

13. Miguel Cabrera: If he wins the Triple Crown, does that mean we can’t make anymore jokes about last year’s .23 blood/alcohol content?

14. Baseball’s Continued Pitching Revolution: Which, just for the record, I pointed out about a full month before the rest of the national media.

15. Jon Lester’s Starts: He throws hard, throws strikes, is efficient, and that cutter is deadly. Watching him pitch has been my favorite part of this Red Sox season so far.

16. Daisuke Matsuzaka’s Starts: Take everything I just said about Lester’s starts and flip it around. I don’t care if he’s pitching relatively well this year. He’s slow, boring, and has set the game of baseball back 20 years. I hate the guy.

17. My Preseason Prop Bet That Mark Reynolds Would Lead the Majors in Home Runs: Let’s just say I got good odds. Let’s just say if he comes through, I’m buying everyone their own Mark Reynolds bobble head. Let’s just say nothing, since gambling isn’t really legal in this country.

18. The San Diego Padres Run Toward a Division Crown: Look on the bright side Padres fans: Even if they don’t make the playoffs, well, you still live in San Diego. Which means you’ve already got the rest of us beat.

19. Chan Ho Park’s Bowel Movements: Will he survive the entire second half without another case of explosive diarrhea? Stay tuned to find out.

20. Kendry Morales’ Broken Leg: I still haven’t decided who that broken leg was more damaging to: The Angels, or my fantasy team.

21. New Blue Jays Shortstop Yunel Escobar: Gotta love Buster Olney’s story from Thursday of when Escobar wished one of his Braves teammates a Happy Birthday, and the guy responded by saying that the only gift he wanted was for Escobar to play hard that night. Hmm…I wonder why he got traded?

22. The Patterson Brothers: Corey plays outfield for the Orioles. Eric was called up to the Red Sox before the All-Star break. Now we finally know what it would have been like if Chris Gwynn and Craig Griffey had been brothers.

23. Because Thanks To Baseball: We can finally stop talking about LeBron.

24. Corey Hart: I don’t care about the home runs. Doesn’t he just look like a fun guy to hang out with?

25. The All-Star Game’s Record-Low Ratings: Once again proving my theory that the only thing dying at a faster rate than baseball is the porn industry.

(This is just PART of Aaron’s 50 Reasons To Be Excited For the Remainder of the Baseball Season. To read the rest, please click here or visit him at www.aarontorres-sports.com.

Also, for Aaron’s take on all things sports, be sure to follow him on Twitter @Aaron_Torres or at Facebook.com/AaronTorresSports and download his APP for your iPhone or Android)

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