I don’t have much to say about this afternoon’s game, other than that we have to win it. I think everybody knows that.
Myself, I’m knocking off work early to head home and watch the game. In case you were wondering, no, I do not feel guilty about this in the slightest. My boss was quite insistent yesterday that I fly back to Minnesota to catch both the Vikings/Packers game and then fly back on Wednesday after having watched the Twins/Tigers. I thought the whole endeavor was pretty absurd, and refused to participate. So yeah, I’m leaving work early. And I’m going to like it.
If you only have it in you to read one thing today, read this Metrodome eulogy by Joe Posnanski. It’s typically brilliant.
But that doesn’t mean the place lacks magic. Haunted houses have magic. When the Dome is filled, it’s the loudest park in baseball. And when it’s loud, crazy stuff happens here. Infielders drop fly balls. Baseballs bounce over outfielder’s heads. High line drives can get caught in the air conditioning and ride the air stream over the fence. Hard ground balls can scoot around fielders [like] Barry Sanders, and bounce off walls, and turn singles into triples. Centerfielders leap high against the wall and make remarkable catches.
Without doubt, the place can get crazy. And with the canvas up and 52000 people rocking in there, I fully expect some craziness this afternoon. And I fully expect it to be enjoyable, exciting baseball.
I wonder, though, how much people outside the Midwest really care about this game. It seems to be a foregone conclusion that whichever team is unlucky enough to win this playoff game will be summarily destroyed by the great Yankees, and isn’t that what’s really important?
Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus essentially sums up the way they feel about this game over on the east coast:
Not to put too fine a point on this, but these aren’t good baseball teams. One of them is going to get into the tournament, and once there they’ll have no worse than the six- or seven-percent chance that is the floor for any team in this format, but I’m hard-pressed to remember two postseason candidates worse than this. I’d take any of the teams that stumbled into the tournament, or even the barely-over-.500 Padres, over the current versions of the Tigers and Twins. The drama has been nice, but it’s entirely an example of the tallest-midget situation you will occasionally get when you carve 30 teams into six sub-groups. Were it not for the unbalanced schedule and interleague play, there’s an excellent chance we’d be looking at a sub-.500 team in the postseason.
I was going to write some sort of tirade about this, but I decided against it. I wrote a couple different versions, and can’t decide if any of them are worth posting. But one of them* might look like this.
* Oh, okay, so if we changed the schedule so the Twins and Tigers no longer get to play against their weaker divisional rivals (presumably the Yankees and Red Sox would still get to play against the Orioles and Blue Jays, and the Angels would still get to play against the A’s and Mariners … what was Sheehan trying to say?), then they might have a different record! And if they didn’t get those free wins against the National League, they’d have fewer wins! Because the Twins and Tigers beating the tar, again, out of the National League is damn good proof that the AL Central is the worst division in baseball and that anyone who plays in it has no god damn chance in the playoffs. Why would anyone waste their time watching a dramatic Game 163 when they can instead scoff and watch, um, The Way The World Turns or whatever the hell else you’d watch on a Tuesday instead of The Only Game That’s On Today.
But yes, I think we can all agree that it’s good that I didn’t go on that ill-advised tirade.
So sure, this game might mean nothing to a fancy New York baseball fan, with his suspenders and shiny leather shoes, and possibly one of those translucent green visors … yes, this is the image I want to project of these pricks whose sensibilities are so finely tuned that they’d turn up their nose at the only pennant race in the league, that have been screaming for a month that they don’t care about this and there’s no race, and that have finally just come out and said that neither the Twins nor Tigers are as good as the fucking Padres. You’re damn right they’re wearing visors.
But, anyway, while it apparently means nothing in New York, it means a whole lot here. It means everything. It’s the Metrodome’s rotted corpse sticking its hand up through the soil, rising from the grave just one last time, its crowd filling your ears and rattling your bones.
Hopefully the Dome isn’t quite ready to go off quietly.1 comment