Again, the NL West is making this still a wide open race.
As you know, the Mets and Phils are tied for first in the East. If both teams win or both teams lose, there will be a one-game playoff to see who wins in the East.
If the Padres win
Colorado still has a wild card hope, but in the West, if San Diego wins, they will automatically be the wild card, even if they wind up tied with the Diamondbacks. Colorado has to win today to keep it alive for them.
This is the wildest scenario yet: if Colorado, New York and Philadelphia win their games today, there will be a playoff game AND a three-way tie for the wild card, with the Mets-Phils loser, Arizona and San Diego. The MLB website explains it all.
Thankfully, there's no Sunday night games tonight, so this will all be wrapped up this afternoon.
And a big razz to Paul Hoover, who decided to get cute and dribble an infield hit, robbing John Maine of a great day AND depriving Mets fans of the no-hitter they've craved since 1962. (You sure that David Wright didn't make an error on that play, Mr. Almighty Official Scorer? And why is it always that when a Mets no-hit bid is broken up, it's on a ball batted in Wright's general direction?)
But hey, THE METS WON. And there is now still a myriad of possibilities for the pennant race. It ain't over, as Yogi once said.
In fact, until the games of tonight in the Western Division are finished, we won't have a clear picture of what the Mets need to do. So we'll check back later with you.
Come Sunday, I expect to update the Mets No-Hitter Count for the final time this fall, and by approximately 5:00 p.m., I fully expect to be done with baseball for the year.
The Mets' collapse is pretty much a fait accompli with their loss last night to the Florida Marlenes. And if the Mets aren't involved in the post season, I don't give a flying fig who is in.
Come October 1, GM Omar Minaya has some very tough decisions to make, but I think the easiest one of all would be to fire pitching coach Rick Peterson. The crux of the Mets' downfall this season has been their pitching, particularly their bullpen. Probably the weakest set of arms on a team that ever held on to first place for most of the season, then just pissed it away at every opportunity.
I don't fault the offense. Reyes, Wright, Delgado, Beltran, Alou.... one hot bat after another. All that offense is nice, but the idea is to KEEP THE OTHER TEAM FROM SCORING... which the Mets, this season, have clearly indicated they cannot do. And that's why Peterson has to be shown the door. Fast. Fire him on the 30th if you have to. Announce it during the game when about a tenth of the 5,000 fans who show up on Sunday are left. This is the biggest no-brainer since the Mets had to fire Art Howe.
Unfortunately, it's out of the Mets' hands now, because every scenario implies the Mets have to have help from other teams.
Mets can get in by virtue of winning the East. They would have to win both their remaining games and Philly would have to lose theirs. Mets could still also get in if they and Philly are tied, forcing a one-game playoff on Monday. The loser would probably go home.
Mets could also wind up the wild card IF they win both games. Any other scenario that has a second-place team winning more than 90 games will leave the Mets out in the cold. Gonna be a lot of scoreboard watching this weekend.
First place is now big enough for two teams. The Mets and Phillies are now tied. Never mind that Pedro couldn't throw a no-hitter tonight. Never mind that Moises Alou's hitting streak has ended, which has now probably hastened thoughts of retirement. What matters now is the Mets ABSOLUTELY NEED TO WIN THE FINAL THREE GAMES AGAINST THE FLORIDA MARLENES.
Our school system is doing a special gifted/talented curriculum this year on Terrific Toys. They will be examining the development of toys and games during the 20th century, with particular emphasis on the unique designs of Marvin Glass and the Wham-O company. There will even be side trips to the world of word-based games like Scrabble and even the development of crossword puzzles.
It got me to thinking about toys I owned as a child. I would wager I had every single game on the Marvin Glass list. (Mystery Date actually owned by my sister, of course.) I've found/remembered a couple. This one, by Ideal, was called Logus, and it combined the fun of word games with the horror of sliding picture panels. The groom in this commercial is played by Skip Hinnant of "Electric Company" fame. I don't know who the lucky bride is.
The other one is Booby Trap. Made in 1965 by Parker Brothers, this had a spring-loaded table on which you would put an assortment of various sized playing pieces, then systematically remove them without springing them all over the place. Have a look, courtesy of boardgamegeek.com.
It is almost two years since I lost my wonderful wife, Nancy, to breast cancer, and articles like this one may give hope for the future. But they don't make me feel any better about what I went through two years ago.
I'd also like to take the opportunity to remind some marketers that breast cancer affects men, too, and not just as husbands of victims. Breast cancer is not a women-only disease. Richard Roundtree is a breast cancer survivor - that's right, John Shaft himself. Breast cancer was a contributing factor in the death of "The Price Is Right"'s flamboyantly-clad announcer, Rod Roddy, in 2003. My father in law had it, too. Think about that the next time you hear TV ads hawking medication or product-tie ins for yogurt or some other female-centric product. Thank you for your time.
I've had this overwhelming sense of dread the last few weeks that the New York Mets, who've spent the entire season in first place in the NL East, now may not even make the playoffs.
The Phillies have been playing stellar ball the last month or so, and the Mets simply haven't. The Braves didn't even show up this season, making the Phils the Mets' new nemesis in the East... and as of last night's game, the Mets can really feel the Phils breathing right behind them 1-1/2 games back.
But the battle in the West is worth watching, as the chances are now pretty good of both Arizona and San Diego being in the playoffs. Arizona has Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Colorado left on its schedule, while San Diego will face Colorado, San Francisco, and Milwaukee. Both Arizona and San Diego have the chance to add lots of wins to their record against these weaker teams.
Simply put: The Mets have to WAKE UP and win the division. They MUST hold their lead and hopefully pad it. And then, October rolls around and hopefully I'll still be watching baseball.
Ronnie Belliard of the Washington Nationals broke up the no-hit bid of Atlanta pitcher John Smoltz in the eighth inning. If you will recall earlier this season, Belliard had the only hit in a rain-shortened five inning win for the Mets, dashing John Maine's hopes of becoming the first New York Met to EVER throw a no-hitter.
It was heartening to read that tonight, before the New York Mets-Houston Astros game at Shea Stadium, there will be a ceremony to mark the induction of Gil Hodges into the United States Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame.
I had only known Gil Hodges as the manager of the New York Mets (including the world champion 1969 team); I was too young to enjoy his exploits as a member of the beloved Brooklyn Dodgers. Gil managed the Mets starting in 1968 and up until his death from a heart attack just prior to the start of the 1972 season, at which point Yogi Berra took over as manager. But I knew that Gil was a man of class and dignity and grace and I just thought it was a damn shame that he had to leave us so soon. Even at the age of 11 I knew that. So, it's glad to see that Gil is getting this honor for all he meant to several generations of baseball fans.
We had our first rehearsal with our new director Jason Diaz last evening and Tracy and I were both impressed with how smoothly the rehearsal went. It was a combination ice-breaker and feel-out session. Hey, if you sing, come out and join us!
Well, it's 7:08 a.m. Eastern time as I write this on my home computer in my own home. We had a whirlwind 11 days of fun and laughs and I'd do it again if I could.
Here's what I would tell people about the trip in as few words as possible.
Diamond Lake - friendly people Crater Lake - scenic beauty Eureka - majestic trees Oakland - funderful suburbia (okay, I borrowed that phrase from a Paramount cartoon) San Francisco - bustling town, more like New York than Los Angeles
It was also a time for reaffirming old friendships and also a time for cementing new familial relations.
Now, all that's left to do is to pick up the dog and the cat and everything will be back to normal.
And tomorrow it's back to school for me! So it really is over.
Our time out West is slowly slipping away. Our next little trip will be to the San Francisco-Oakland International Airport, where we'll return our rental car and board the Continental jet that will whisk us away to home. Since we're losing the three hours we gained when we flew West, we'll leave here at about 1 and come home close to 10. By the time our limo drops us off at Tracy's house, it will be after midnight.
This vacation was the best time for all of us. Sure we had the little spats and disagreements, but what family doesn't? I'm proud to have taken the people I now am pleased to call my family on the trip.
We had a lot of fun on Saturday. Breakfast at Denny's, then a little pool time, then a nice ride into San Francisco. We had to table the Golden Gate Bridge trip, due to possible complications due to this weekend's Bay Bridge closure. Our concierge (who prefers to be called "Dirty Harry") recommended a nice little place called Pazzia for dinner tonight, and as you've doubtless read on other blogs/boards, Tracy and I have now become engaged. NO ONE AT THE TABLE KNEW WHAT WAS HAPPENING. (I've gotten so good at keeping secrets.)
We are very happy to have committed to spending the rest of our lives together.
I went into several record stores. There's a Virgin Megastore right down the street from my hotel, and there's Rasputin Music, said to be one of the last indie record shops in the city. They even had some recent vinyl reissues, including a 30th anniversary repressing of Steely Dan's 1977 album "Aja".
We'll most likely post our final pictures from the trip tomorrow or Monday, as we are headed back to New Jersey tomorrow afternoon. And I'm almost literally stepping off the plane onto a parade route.
Years ago, in some forum, I called for the retirement of the song "Nobody But Me" by the Human Beinz because it was overused in ads.
I'm thinking that the song "What I Like About You" by the Romantics has now run its course as well. I just saw it in an ad for a hotel chain.
It gets annoying that our ad wizards just have to pick a song, secure the rights, throw visuals against it and that's your ad. No narration, no copy, no nothing. It's totally disenfranchising to blind television users. They just hear a song for 30 seconds and don't even realize it's an ad for Something.
Barry Bonds watches another one go skyward. Not very far, just skyward. This was one of two pop outs off the bat of the home run king on Wednesday. Looking at Bonds' latest lob shot are Colorado catcher Chris Iannetta and home plate umpire Tony Randazzo.
The Santa Rosa boardwalk was a lot of fun!
Now to today's visits. Monterey is a town just dripping with nice restaurants and little shops and one-way streets and the stench of old canneries and the spirit of John Steinbeck oozing from every pore. The main target of today's visit was the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Now I'm a sucker for aquariums, and this one eschews the cliche that all aquariums must play Saint-Saens' "Aquarium" from "Carnival Of The Animals" somewhere in its soundtrack. The most noteworthy new addition is a baby Great White Shark. We did get some videos and pictures. The sea otters are always good for a few laughs, and we did get to see lots more fine examples of the pescatorial arts.
The other visits included the Dennis The Menace Playground (which has been around for over fifty years). There is a wood sculpture of Dennis and Margaret near the old Southern Pacific steam engine and newer playground equipment has pictures of Dennis and friends (including Margaret, Joey, Ruff and Gina). We also visited Jack's Park to watch a little softball.
So that's it from Day 9 of our vacation. Day 10 will see us returning to San Francisco tomorrow. And then Sunday we go home.
We try desperately to steer away from blogs that take excessive liberties with language as I am, after all, a teacher of very small children who should not be exposed to bad language. A bad word once in a while isn't going to kill an otherwise entertaining blog. However, should one of these blogs ever turn into a filth-fest, it will be removed... and it has happened in some cases. Just be warned, fellow bloggers. Language originating from this blog will be always on the safe side. Thanks... --DM