Monday, August 30, 2004

Games 127 through 129 - Mets
Mining for Meaning

Mets 9, Dodgers 2
Dodgers 4, Mets 2
Dodgers 6, Mets 2
Record: 60-69

Way back on August 15th, life was far more blissful than it seemed at the time. Even now, I wouldn't call those times the salad days – maybe the egg salad days, but the fortnight since then has shredded the few positive notes that existed on 8/15. Joni Mitchell warned us that you don't know what you've got till it's gone, but perhaps I was too caught up in lamenting another lost season for the Mets to heed it. 15 days gone and things just got worse – about 576 fluid ounces worse.

On the 15th, the standings in Case Bets I & II were, respectively:
Boston 64-52
New York 56-60
Games left: 46
Games to give: 14

Baltimore 57-59
Need them to go: 18-28
On August 30th, the standings are:

Boston 76-53
New York 60-69
Games left: 33
Games to give: 6

Baltimore 58-71
Need them to go: 17-16

What we saw was a startling turn of events in the wrong direction for my pecuniary purposes. I was coasting to victories in both my "Mets finish less than 22 games behind the Sox" and O's win 75 games" wagers, and now I am looking a pricey trip to the package store, to put it in the Sox-guy vernacular. I claimed I wasn't counting my chickens, but I think perhaps I was. I know, though, that I was busy bemoaning the status of the standings you'll find in the sports section and failed to appreciate the standings I posted above. I will not make this mistake twice.

The excitement of these two races is alive and well, despite the dent the past two weeks dinged into my chances. The Mets still have a six-game cushion, and though common sense says that the white-hot Red Sox will likely be cruising past the 22-win milestone by Labor Day, I think the Mets can make this interesting for me. Meanwhile, the Orioles have 20 games against the Yankees, Red Sox, and Twins (4-16 would be a moral victory) and 13 against the D-Rays, Blue Jays, and Tigers (so you're telling me there's a chance). Hideously bleak, and yet I know that the Orioles are just a month or two removed from going 20-11 to start the second half, including an eight-game winning streak.

Of course, we all have Rob Russell to thank for the Birds going in the tank, as he egregiously failed to appreciate the resurgent Orioles' succession of knock-offs of Boston's foes in the wild card race. After lying down and dying against the Sox' divisional opponents in the early part of the season (and yet scrapping out a few against Boston), the new and improved O's took 2 of 3 from Minnesota, swept a 4-gamer against Texas, and won 2 of 3 versus Anaheim. Then Baltimore won another series against Toronto just for good measure. About this time, Mr. Russell threw out the aside "Jesus, can I hate that team any more?" while mentioning Pedro's struggles against them. At no point did he thank the Orioles for helping his boys out, or even acknowledge the boost. The O's, tired of this thankless work, determined to show Rob just how bad they could be, dropping seven games to the A's, plus three to Toronto for good measure. They were on their way to a sweep at the hands of the Rangers when I chastised Rob for his comments and lack of gratitude for what the Birds accomplished earlier. Sensing that his grievous error might really cost his club, what with two BAL v. NYY series on the immediate horizon, Rob admitted his mistake and asked forgiveness from everyone in Baltimore "except that jackelope Peter Angelos." And lo: Orioles 7, Rangers 6. Lee Mazzilli, having salvaged his job and then chucked it back into the fire, may just make it through if Russell's damage can be undone.

This multi-layered drama, plus the Mets/Sox showdown, should provide the last vestige of compelling excitement for the royal blue-titled postings here. Some might say I am hyping the unhype-able, grasping at very thin straws, and pulling a cheesy network TV maneuver of adding faux tension where none truly exists. That is complete bunk, and to those imbeciles who would cast such misguided aspersions upon me, I would simply advise them that we don't need their kind tuning into A Very Special Month of Baseball here on MLC.

No comments: