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Does first place now mean anything?

What's the value in being in first place on May 1? I'm sure the Angels and Blue Jays will say -- with hope -- that it doesn't mean much of anything, that baseball is a marathon and not a sprint.

Katie Sharp of ESPN Stats & Info looked up the 102 division champions since 1996 and found that 53 of them were in first place on May 1 (51 percent). Last year, however, only the Nationals were leading on May 1 and went on to win their division. You remember Cleveland, right?

In fact, since 2009 only eight of 24 eventual division winners were leading on May 1, so while a fast start is important, the six teams leading now probably should print their playoff tickets just yet.