Thursday, September 28, 2006

It's Really Happening.

1964. Sam Cooke shot by hotel manager. A Hard Days Night and The Times They Are A-Changin' released. Peter Lorre and Harpo Marx die. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wins Pulitzer Prize. Gulf of Tonkin resolution passes. Philadelphia Phillies lose 10 games in a row in September and lose the pennant to St. Louis.

Earlier today, Houston beat Pittsburgh 3-0 behind seven scoreless from Roy Oswalt and despite only getting three hits. The win is their ninth in a row. In St. Louis, Jason Marquis lasted two innings, and the team is down 9-1 in the fourth. Assuming a loss in this game, the Cardinal division lead will be all the way down to 1/2 game(s?). The Astros will go to Atlanta for three, while the Cardinals will host the Brewers. (Presumably, there's an extra game they'll have to make up if the thing is still in doubt at the end).
Now this has really been a hell of a baseball season. Consider all the candidates for 'The Best Story of the Year', or 'The Talk of Baseball', those wonderful hyperbolic summation terms people are so fond of. The Tigers came out of nowhere to lead the AL for most of the year and end up going to the playoffs for the first time since 1987. The Twins spent the first half playing Tony Bautista and Rondell White, and yet have blocked the offseason favorite White Sox and Indians out of the playoffs despite losing Liriano. The Marlins will finish nearly at .500 despite a firesale and a rookie-laden $15 million payroll. The Braves finally missed the playoffs. But somehow I find the Cardinals situation - a possible failure of historic proportions, to be the most compelling.

For the last week, or few days actually, I've been rooting for this to happen, for the only-just-recently unthinkable collapse to occur. It's not out of spite or hate for the Cardinals - I don't know any Cardinals fans, and I'm certainly not some bitter would-be rival North Sider. Although I've been enjoying Leitch's early morning pain, that's no reason to want an unaffiliated team to lose. It's just that the mystique of such a collapse is incredibly compelling. I find that I want to be a witness to a historyic failure, and I suspect that the Brewers and Astros will have many similarily motivated fans in the next few days. People congregate around a car crash or an argument, and root for a faraway gunman or convict to escape the authorities. The Cardinals are very nearly just such a disaster, and it is compulsively fascinating.


Blogger Craig said...

Apparently, Eric Neel agrees with you. I'm on record as stating that Neel is totally underrated, especially considering what a sinking ship Page 2 is. Remember when David Schoenfeld was the cool editor who allowed sabermetrics a forum on Now he's Edward J. Smith.

Also, it's interesting that the only story that anyone wanted to talk about before the season (Barry Bonds - how many home runs will he hit? Will he be indicted? Will his head spontaneously explode) is now the story that no one gives a shit about.

Fri Sep 29, 03:50:00 PM EDT  
Blogger David Bowie said...

Ah hell.

And just like that, it's back to 1 1/2. America needs a little more help from the failure gods.

Fri Sep 29, 11:24:00 PM EDT  

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