Mike Bauman has been a national columnist for MLB.com since 2001 and has covered Major League Baseball for more than three decades.
|When observers of the game added up the preseason parity in Major League Baseball's two Central divisions, it appeared that nine out of 10 teams were legitimate postseason contenders. Based on the early returns, that estimate may have been slightly high. With roughly 5.6 percent of the 162 precincts reporting it is way too early to call this election. But a few early trends can be spotted.
More» Soria fans Polanco to lock down the save|
|Why does Major League Baseball persist in celebrating Jackie Robinson Day every April 15? Well, why does America persist in celebrating the Fourth of July every year? Any time strides are taken in the direction of freedom, justice, equality, it is worth a celebration.
More»Rachel Robinson remembers Jackie's Major League debut|
|Lloyd McClendon, set to lead the Mariners in the Civil Rights Game against the Dodgers on Wednesday -- Jackie Robinson Day around Major League Baseball -- is honored to follow in the footsteps Frank Robinson, who became MLB's first African-American manager 40 years ago this month.
|Interleague Play has become a daily staple of the Major League schedule, but that does not mean that it has descended to the level of the routine or the predictable. Monday night at Dodger Stadium we saw proof of the fact that this phenomenon still has the ability to grab the baseball imagination and hold it. This was a fine early-season Interleague match between the Dodgers and the Mariners, two teams with postseason aspirations and the ability to achieve that lofty level.
More» Guerrero ends it in 10th with walk-off hit|
|In the first week of the 2015 season, the Kansas City Royals are not in mid-season form. They are in postseason form. The Royals completed a sweep of the Chicago White Sox in the opening series of the season with a 4-1 victory Thursday at Kauffman Stadium.
More» Perez belts a two-run blast to left field|
|The Royals streaked through the 2014 playoffs on the shoulders of their dominant end-game trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland. This year, Kansas City's bullpen may in fact be even better, as shown in just their second game of the season.
More» Frasor strikes out LaRoche for his first K|
|There are four clubs in the American League Central that must be seen as postseason contenders. There won't be room for all of them in October. This division will be one of the reasons why the game's current competitive balance is so compelling.
More» Rios breaks it open with a three-run homer|
|The way the Royals started their season on Monday showed they maintain a confidence that comes with being the defending American League champs.
More» Rios, Moustakas on Royals' Opening Day win|
|The emergence of the Cubs makes the NL Central the obvious candidate for the best division in baseball. There are no bad teams here. There are, instead, five teams that think of themselves as genuine postseason contenders.
More»An in-depth analysis of the 2015 NL Central battle|
|One of the pluses for baseball in 2015 will be Joe Maddon working on a larger stage. His new role as manager of the Chicago Cubs will draw a crowd, no matter what happens next, whether it be triumph or disappointment.
More»Maddon is not your average Joe|
|MLB.com columnist Mike Bauman picks the brain of Reds manager Bryan Price on the hot topic of whether Major League Baseball should adjust the strike zone as a way to benefit hitters.
More»Price on Votto's health, rotation being key in 2015|
|Kendall Graveman has looked like a very emphatic answer this spring in why the A's were willing to trade Josh Donaldson. Graveman has pitched his way into the A's rotation, where at the moment, he is penciled into the No. 4 spot.
More» Kendall Graveman, RHP, Athletics|
|Which Milwaukee team in 2014 was the real deal; the long-term contender or the club that faded down the stretch? The organization analyzed the season and came to the conclusion that the real Brewers were the 150-days-in-first bunch.
More»Roenicke pleased with Brewers' approach this spring|
|Cubs' offseason prize Jon Lester, who missed a Cactus League start last week with the commonplace "dead-arm" syndrome, is all right. In fact, he us much better than that, writes columnist Mike Bauman.
More»Lester on arm tiredness being part of normal process|
|The Reds' lineup could be one of baseball's best with the return of Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, but the bullpen and rotation aren't quite as settled.
More» Byrd legs out a triple to start the inning|
|After all of the roster turnover, the Oakland Athletics have emerged, once again, as usual, with a lot of Major League-quality pitching.
More»Reddick likes how the new-look A's are gelling|
|In the Texas Rangers' clubhouse at Surprise Stadium, shortstop Elvis Andrus is contemplating the anticipated improvement in his performance. Andrus has been a regular for six seasons, but he is still only 26. He is an established Major Leaguer and yet, there is still room for his career to grow.
More» Andrus makes a diving stop, throws to first|
|The Royals didn't particularly look like a fluke when they won the AL pennant in 2014. Far from being a one-hit wonder, they see in themselves the possibility of taking the one ultimate step they didn't take last October.
More»Stewart and Flanagan relive Royals' 2014 playoff run|
|Kris Bryant is making the kind of mark that Spring Training usually isn't quite big enough to accommodate.
More»Bryant set to make debut after crushing Cactus League|
|This is no time to become alarmed because the San Francisco Giants have an unsightly Cactus League team ERA. Based on the starts the Giants received in the last two games, the crisis, if there was one, may have already passed.
More» Vogelsong pitches 4 2/3 scoreless innings|