Friday, August 11, 2006

Happy Colored Marbles

Games 112 & 113 – Mets

Mets 4, Padres 3
Mets 7, Padres 3
Record: 69-44

Expressing too much satisfaction over the way the Mets handled the Padres would just be rubbing it in, but Rob’s a glutton for punishment and coaxed me into depositing my pair of pennies. Well, the series that ended last night went about as letter-perfect as it could have gone; the Mets sweep, Piazza is given the royal treatment and then some – and responds, and the starting pitching looks good, albeit against one of the worst-hitting clubs in baseball. And there was much rejoicing.

It’s getting to the point (up 14 games in the division on August 11) where even I am starting to at least glance around the league with an eye on October match-ups and outcomes. And what I see is good news for the Metropolitans and mixed news for my little buddy and his Sox. There seems to be a league-wide lag of late, where almost nobody seems to be playing well. Granted, much of the National League has been playing less-than-stellar ball for most of the season, but even the Junior Circuit is experiencing some recent letdowns.

Rob can take solace in a couple of facts. While Socktown today resembles lower Manhattan in October 1929, the Olde Towne Team isn’t the only squad tumbling of late. The Twins – especially after the Liriano injury – are looking thinner than ever, and the Pale Hose – for the first time since the last few games of the regular season – appear imminently beatable. The AL West seems to be the distinctly mediocre division yet again, mirroring the West of the National League. There’s plenty of pitiful play to point at beyond the Sox’ recent portrayal of Kansas City you-know-whats.

Only two teams have continued to play good baseball and post wins in the American League – the Yankees and the Tigers. Despite the recent tumble, and despite the Boston faithful fully believing that the pit of despair that the Sox have fallen into may have no bottom to it, they’ll likely rebound quickly enough. When they do, they need only top a couple of teams that at worst look even matched to the Beantown nine.

The Yankees’ success drives you bonkers on a number of levels, my man, but forget them. They’re irrelevant at this point. Ah, never mind, with that big series right around the corner, there’s still plenty to froth about on the way.

Another reason for you to rest easy in Cali, young Rob, is that the Yankees seem to be hitting their apex now, rather than in October. Peaking in August does no team any good, so perhaps the Sox have hit that lull before a streak. Of course, Boston may have actually peaked in June. Like I said, mixed news. But I’m not done flipping over to the Rem-dawg between innings, not by a long shot. Enjoy your time away.

Meanwhile, this is supposed to be Met content, but there isn’t too much to say right now. The Mets, some have argued, are also peaking now, but that’s not really the case. They’ve been playing much the same level of “win two, lose one” ball all season long. A bump in the road here, put it all together for a few games there, no streaks of either kind. Frankly, this suits them very well. Something about slow and steady, I guess.

Meanwhile, everyone else in the division or the pennant race seems to have hit a bad stretch. The Cardinals have run into a brick wall, the Reds can’t seem to decide if they really will take the wild card or not, and the West is merely a random lottery for the postseason. It’s a mess among the “contenders” these days.

Right now, the Mets look comparatively great; of course, your team excelling in August guarantees just one thing – that it’s too early to turn your attention to football. But while I’m hoping that the Mets are hitting their stride rather than their peak now, but one thing’s for sure: I couldn’t care any less about the NFL at this moment.

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