Astros a half-game back! Cards choking it all away! Playoff races that go down to the final weekend are cool enough.
To have one of them involve one of the great standings choke-jobs in recent team-sports history makes it all the more compelling.
Fans nationally can be ambivalent about the Astros but still find themselves rooting like hell for them (and against the Cards), if only to see this choke happen. To review:
The Cards led the Astros by 8.5 games...
Only 9 games ago!
The Cards are on the verge of shattering the baseball record for chokery: No team in history has ever blown a September lead of more than 6.5 games.
I just read that it's possible that the Cards might have to play a sort of "playoff-playoff-playoff." What the hell does THAT mean?
A playoff would be the LDS, of course. Standard stuff.
A "playoff-playoff" would be one game against the Astros to decide the NL Central division winner, head-to-head.
A "playoff-playoff-playoff" (or "playoff-cubed") would be a make-up game against the Giants on Monday, to force a playoff (or win the division outright?).
If the Cards are a half-game ahead (or behind) the Astros after Sunday,
Can you imagine being the Giants in that scenario? You could play the ultimate spoiler – or, alternatively, wonder what your motivation could possibly be? (I'm guessing the latter.)
Either way: Cards fans must be f-r-e-a-k-i-n-g.
Twins tie Tigers for AL Central lead: I'd say that it doesn't matter, because both teams are already in the playoffs, so who cares?
(Well, how about that
T.O. fires his personal trainer: Wouldn't you, if your trainer yapped to the media about all of your personal business?
So either the trainer WANTED to get out, getting a little glory for himself along the way, or he lacks such judgment that it's questionable why T.O. would have such a dope on his payroll anyway.
Hell, I think it's the most sensible thing that T.O. has done all week.
Pedro out for entire postseason: I'm almost ready to say that the Mets are done as NL contenders.
Not just because Pedro would have been such a huge advantage in the playoffs by being on the mound – he's just such a presence.
Maybe he can still be that team leader from the dugout, but it's not the same as having him out there actually pitching.
The Mets' playoff pitching rotation is pretty sketchy. They're going to have to score a ton of runs to be competitive.
Was Frank Robinson fired by the Nats? He was the right guy for the inaugural season, but a new owner means a new direction.
(Like I said yesterday: They should make a play for Joe Girardi.)
Larry Brown vs. Knicks battle: If I was David Stern, how much would I give Larry Brown in his grievance vs. the Knicks?
I think I came up with a novel plan in the Quickie when this story first broke:
*Give Larry Brown nothing.
(Not a freaking nickel.)
*Fine the Knicks the $40 million remaining on Brown's contract.
(For being so stupid to hire him.)
I fully expect all of you to throw that back in my face when I'm criticizing
TCU (finally) loses: Well, now THAT was a little unexpected. I know BYU was considered a "tough" game, but it WAS at TCU. And wasn't TCU supposed to be underrated?
The biggest impact? The most likely non-BCS team to go unbeaten (and crash the party) is now out of contention. (Was TCU looking ahead all the way to bowl season? Perhaps.)
The hope was that the new "5th" BCS bowl -- specifically created to placate non-BCS conferences -- would have at least one unbeaten non-BCS "Cinderella" (that was MY Big Idea for it, at least).
Now, TCU might be the best of the non-BCS-league teams, but by Monday, they'll be lucky to find a spot in the tenuous "20-25" range of the Top 25 poll.
Coming later today: Complete college football weekend preview!
NFL Notes: Is the NFL going to play more regular-season games outside the
Trent Green out another two weeks? How many KC fans are with me that the best strategy is to tank the rest of this inevitably abysmal season to get a QB of the future, like Brady Quinn?
I love that Bill Belichick was able to lighten up and talk a little playful trash about Chad Johnson. Johnson is the anti-T.O. – an egomaniacal superstar WR who still manages to come across as a fun-loving guy.
You know what? I think I'm ready to nominate Chad Johnson as the "Face of Football."Today's Must-Read: David Roth worked at Topps, and tells all about the experience. I met David at a party this spring. He's a great guy, and this is a great piece, written for Slate.
Did anyone else catch Deadspin Hall of Famer Carl Monday being profiled on the Daily Show last night? I was kind of hoping they'd interview Will Leitch for it, or at least name-check Deadspin. Ah well. I have to be satisfied with them humiliating Monday himself. -- D.S.