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Time to dig in or get out in baseball - Justin Boron

It is that time of the year – a couple of weeks before or after the Major League Baseball All-star break – and your team is either in or out.

The next couple of weeks will either be spent two ways by fans: in exhilaration at all the great moves your team is making to gear up for the playoffs or in dismay at all the high-salaried players a team has no use for now that it has no signs of life for October.

On what side you fall is often apparent in how soon you abandon the baseball game on television above the bar for something else to occupy your time.

In any group of baseball loving friends, one side will be glued to the television. The other will be trying to show off their pinball machine skills in the corner.

Imagine having a team in such dire straits that watching a metal ball bounce around is more exciting than the game. That is almost where I am.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have hit the brink. Either get healthy or start dumping players and regrouping for next year. At least I don't have it as bad as a Cincinnati Reds fan, whose season was blown two months ago.

Since the Braves typically stay in the race the entire year, few people in Atlanta have had to experience the feeling of being done only halfway through the season.

In fact, the loss of interest usually happens for the exact opposite reason in Braves fans. Atlanta is so far out in front in the race that many fans stop watching until October.

Regardless of how your team is doing by July, fans have already endured a grueling season.

I wish that at this point teams could either decide to stay in the pennant race or drop down to a consolation tournament.

Kind of like how when you bust of a poker tournament, they might have a losers group that sits around and plays. All the losing clubs in baseball could get together and finish out the season, leaving the winning teams to duke it out.

Granted, there is going to be some scheduling problems. But it would be fun. They could even let the fans vote.

Does your team still belong in the league with other teams competing for first? Check yes or no.

It would be a fresh beginning in the middle of the season.

Or baseball could put to rest all the wild card ideas. Eliminate four or five teams. And shorten the season by two months.

That is the real solution. For fans that watch losing teams every year, baseball is just too long.

Justin Boron is the government reporter for the News Daily. His column appears Monday. He can be reached at 770-478-5753 or jboron@news-daily.com .