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Monday, August 27, 2007

How to Enjoy a Pennant Race

posted by on August 27 at 19:57 PM

The key is to prolong your pain by looking ahead and examining every possible nuance of the situation. You cannot just take the casual band-wagon-jumping fan’s easy path, and think, “Hey, if we sweep these goddamn Angels, we’re in first place by a game!” No: you must remember that if you get swept, you’re five games out. That would suck. And winning one or two while losing two or one isn’t so hot either, though it’s better than being swept, although not as good as sweeping.

Got that?

After this series, the M’s could be one game up, one out, three out, or five out. Barring rainouts–-which I’m told are unlikely here, given the roof and all—they cannot end up tied or an even number of games up or out. But maybe there’ll be an earthquake. Lots of possibilities…

And that’s just the beginning. Being in contention this late in the season is rare, and you owe it to yourself to suck the marrow out of this situation.

But this isn’t sweet marrow: it’s bitter. Being a sports fan is really about pain–since only one team’s fans are ever happy at the end of the season. So, you have to expand the realm of worries: What opponents do you have coming up, also-rans or front-runners? What does the schedule of the team you are chasing look like? How many of their games are at home v. on the road? What are their home and away records? How good are the teams they are playing? Is another team sneaking up on you while you focus on the team you’re chasing?

This extension of other things to worry about is like picking at a scab, or trying to scratch under a cast. You gotta do it, even though it just makes things worse…

Answers to some of the above questions after the jump…

So, coming into tonight's game, the Angels have 17 games remaining at home, and 15 on the road. Their home record is 44-20, and their away is 32-34, which means the schedule favors the Angels.

The M's have 16 or 17 games at home (depending on what happens with that Cleveland snow-out from April, scheduled TBA here), and 17 on the road. This is a push for them.

The Angels have 11 games against teams with winning records--including 7 against the M's--, and 21 against teams with losing records, including 6 against the woeful White Sox and Devil Rays.

The M's have 21 or 22 games left against teams with winning or even records, including the Yankees, Detroit, and Cleveland, all engaged in tight races of their own and so highly motivated. This also favors the Angels. The M's have only 12 games remaining against also-rans.

But the M's still have their own fate in their hands: their 7 games against LA, including tonight, means that they just gotta beat the team in front of them. Right now some bad base-running and sloppy tags are making it look unlikely that they'll win tonight, but it's only the fourth inning. Lots of baseball left to play tonight, and through September.

RSS icon Comments


what was with those umps tonight?!?!?!?

get some fucking glasses assholes!

Posted by terry miller | August 27, 2007 9:48 PM

Your team is 16.5 games back; query whether this should inspire poetry, envy, or silence. We think you a hater.

Posted by robespierre & maurice | August 27, 2007 10:04 PM

Wait, i thought enjoyment and baseball were oxymorons.

Posted by vooodooo84 | August 27, 2007 10:12 PM

@ 2

My team is currently proud to lead the weakest division in baseball by 1.5 games over the Brewers, and I'm doing for my Cubs exactly what I advise you to do for your Mariners. "Chicago Fan" does not mean "White Sox fan."


Posted by Chicago Fan | August 27, 2007 10:21 PM

my mistake. noted you're for the cubbies. but then what was all that bobby jenks nonesense a week or two ago?

you are here to taunt us; naturally, we do our level best to taunt you back.

Posted by robespierre & maurice | August 27, 2007 10:32 PM

Ah, R and M:

The Bobby Jenks business is about the difference between being a baseball fan and a fan of a particular team. If I were at a Cubs-Cardinals or Cubs-Sox game, and the Cards or Sox pitcher threw a no-hitter, I'd stand and applaud at the end, recognizing an unlikely and beautiful accomplishment. I'd root against it happening while my team was being no-hit, but the Game itself deserves its respect. So while I hate and root against the White Sox, I must give Jenks his props--though I may have jinxed him, since after the Mariners swept the Pale Hose, he returned to Chicago and gave up a hit to the first batter he faced, ending up with a tie for the record instead of setting a new record.

Taunting back in your court. . .


Posted by Chicago Fan | August 27, 2007 10:55 PM

Agreed about the game. And Jenks, as we've said, jinxed himself when he doffed his cap at tying the record.

Posted by robespierre & maurice | August 27, 2007 10:58 PM

Dargh, I was at the M's / Angels game last night. The M's continued to look flat and double-stuffed by another good outing by Lachey. I'm in again tonight and let this not be the midway game to another 7-game losing streak.

M's fans (and Chicago Fan) gotta see and enjoy shades of Lou in McLaren when he gets all up in the ump's face and plugs in the profanity-spewing chicken neck.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | August 28, 2007 7:57 AM

I'm going to the Cubs game tomorrow. What should I do?

Posted by cliff rancho | August 28, 2007 9:03 AM

Now, why is Steve Goodman's "A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request" running through my head?

Do they still play the blues in Chicago
When baseball season rolls around
When the snow melts away,
Do the Cubbies still play
In their ivy covered burial ground
When I was a boy they were my pride and joy
But now they only bring fatigue
To the home of the brave
The land of the free
And the doormat of the National League

Posted by Geni | August 28, 2007 10:47 AM

@ 9:

Avoid the bars directly around Wrigley. Go to the Ginger Man (on Clark, one block north of Waveland) or the L & L (on Clark, about a half mile south of the Park, just north of Belmont), or Guthries (four blocks west on Addison).

For the best hot dog, walk four blocks north on Sheffield/Sheridan to Irving Park Road, then a quarter block west (right) to Byorn's (yes, that little shack with a picnic table out front). Best hot dog in the city.

Hope this helps.

Posted by Chicago Fan | August 28, 2007 12:25 PM

I feel like Jeff Weaver is going to make it an inning and a third tonight...His four game winstreak is about to be demolished...I actually miss Jamie Moyer!

Posted by ichi-chan | August 28, 2007 3:34 PM

Nah, Ichi. I'm going again tonight so I say that Weaver will stay tough, spark up the team, and overcome last night's pick-apart.

Either he makes it through 5 or he doesn't. Shit, let's just bet 20 bucks.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | August 28, 2007 4:21 PM

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