I once interned at a TV station and, after reminding one of the editors it was my last day, they held an impromptu ceremony where five staffers–four of which knew who I was!–gathered in a circle and awarded me with a travel mug that spills scalding hot coffee all over your knuckles. It was just enough to feel remembered, but so not enough to re-compensate my efforts all summer.
So, you know. I know how Bobby feels.
“Now that we’re in the playoffs, let’s see if we can get to the World Series.”
Bobby Cox, after 14 consecutive playoff appearances at one point, has apparently just discovered just what in the hell a playoff team is supposed to do.
Congratulations Atlanta! You collapsed just shy of not making the post season, a truly honorable feat to reward your manager with in his final year of Major League Baseball.
Braves 8, Phillies 7
Folks, baseball is a crazy game. Sometimes, you suck. Sometimes, you rule. Sometimes, you leave baseball entirely to fly across an ocean and kill Nazis, like the 1942-44 St. Louis Cardinals, who you will hear endlessly referenced in the coming weeks, but for an entirely different reason (They’re the last team to win three straight NL pennants, as we are poised to do).
We’ve played 162 games so far, and as the post seasons of the past three years have taught us, the tension of all previous 162 games is balled up and shoved into your head for the remainder of the year. Now, every single thing that happens is the most important thing that’s ever happened to us. There will not be “Oh, it’s only July,” or “Hey, Kyle will come around,” or “Unless the Mets suffer some sort of epic, humiliating collapse here, we may not even make the playoffs.”
Everybody’s back to 0-0, and this time, that doesn’t just symbolize a pair of glasses or nipple-less boobs. It means… it means what I just said in that last paragraph. This isn’t going to be one of those impassioned, fiery columns about glory and shit that repeats itself, caked with nostalgia and hopefulness. I’m not trying to get read at anybody’s eulogy here.
You couldn’t have asked for much more to roll into the playoffs, momentum-wise. Except a win today, of course. But that would have been more of a sick joke on the Braves than anything else. Given the majority play of Phillies benchers in this series, it says a lot that we took two of three and lost the third by Danys Baez, who gave up four runs, snatched up the loss, and gave a shout-out to that 5.48 ERA we’ve come to know and yell about at children’s birthday parties.
At least John Mayberry Jr. hopped in there and put on a two-run hitting display, and the murderous bat of Jayson Werth claimed a pair of victims. Also, Charlie Manuel put almost twice the amount of baseball players onto the field that Bobby Cox did, like an ancient military general displaying the sheer volume of his forces outside a city’s walls. Too bad the traditional blood-spilling and baby-eating of such a scenario failed to commence.
But, this is hardly a time to hang our heads in frustration–what with the BEST RECORD IN BASEBALL and all. No need in turning into that guy in high school who offered to blow the teacher in exchange for his A to be an A+. I think he’s an airline pilot now.
Now, it’s home to face the Reds, for whose fans the concept of “winning” is so foreign, when they clinched the Central title, some of them freaked out and called the cops.
Psh. Some people just don’t know how to handle the post season. This Wednesday, at 5:07 EST, they’ll be playing us in Philly, where when we call the cops, it better be for some totally terrifying thing (I didn’t even plan on using that particular link, I just assumed there’d be some atrocious crime in Philly to link to).
In front of a sellout crowd, no doubt, the Phils begin a 2010 playoff campaign to build their legend even further. Unless, of course, Michael Vick wants to do anything that day.