Unlike Past, AL East Anybody's to Win

Unlike Past, AL East Anybody's to Win

The division that set the standard for sameness is virtually unrecognizable these days.

Just a decade ago, the American League East race was the most predictable competition in sports. From 1998 through 2003, the five East teams finished in exactly the same order, every single year. Six straight seasons with the Yankees on top, the (Devil) Rays on the bottom, and the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Orioles in order in between. It was baseball's version of a caste system.

Even over the past decade, there wasn't a lot of upward (or downward) mobility. Last year marked the first time since 1998 realignment that Boston and New York weren't both in the Top 3 at the end of the year. From 1998-2011, the Orioles finished in fourth or fifth every year but one. The Blue Jays finished in third or fourth in all but two of those seasons.

As the 2013 campaign approaches, though, that predictability is gone.

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