Saturday, September 22, 2007

Take Me Out to the Bawl Game

With yet another Philadelphia Phillies win last night -- their ninth in 10 games -- the last week of the National League season is shaping up to be a wild ride.
This is because the Phillies, whom I have given up for dead several times in recent months, now have as good a chance to edge out the New York Mets for the National League East title as getting past the San Diego Padres for the NL wild-card berth.

The Phillies are 1 1/2 games behind the Mets with eight games to play in the NL East and 1 1/2 games behind the Padres. Hard to say which team has the tougher remaining schedule, but I would have to say the Pads.

The Phillies play two more against the Nationals in D.C. and then go home for three against the Atlanta Braves and a final three against the Nats, while the Mets play two more against the Marlins in Florida and then go home for three against the Nats and four (one a makeup game) against the Marlins. The Padres play two more against the Colorado Rockies at home and then go on the road for three in San Francisco against the hapless Giants and what is shaping up to be a decisive final four against the hard charging Brewers in Milwaukee.
I knew that the screw had turned for the Mets when The New York Times ran a story yesterday headlined "Met's Fans Brace, Wincing, for a Familiar Old Feeling: A New York City Flameout."

I'm dating myself here, but this in turn brought to mind the reason that I am bald. I'll let my Philly blogging buddy Will Bunch at Attytood take it from here:
"It was on a different Sept. 21, in 1964, that then-rookie journeyman-turned-legend named Chico Ruiz inexplicably but successfully stole home for the Cincinnati Reds in a scoreless game at Connie Mack Stadium, with two outs and one of the best hitters in baseball, Frank Robinson, at the plate (see photo).

"The Phillies were up by 6 1/2 games with just 12 to play, clearly on their way to their first World Series in 14 years. But they lost that night, 1-0, because of the Ruiz steal -- triggering an astounding 10-game losing streak that not only cost the 1964 Phillies that pennant but is still recalled, nearly two generations later, as the greatest collapse in the history of American professional sports. We're honored here . . . really."
FYI, the Phillies would not get another shot at the World Series until 1980, which they won.

More here.

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