NL East Infection: Nobody’s Watching


Washington Nationals

The Nationals are doing what a first place, basically-clinched team is supposed to be doing:  beating up on bad teams.  It seems the spoilers have no role against the Nats; stifled and suffocated by the superior team, Washington’s inaugural march to the post season remains ritualistically undeterred.  Their personal player stats match a bravado and distasteful sense of entitlement that remains unmatched in the division.  Why, Bryce Harper leads the team in home runs.  From last night.  He had two.  The team had six.  They really fucked up the Cubs.  It was messy.

With that scenario gleefully unfolding, masses of Washington-area baseball fans are pouring into Nationals Park, destroying the unfortunate stereotype that all of their fans are wishy-washy, uncommitted none-ballers.

Well, they may not have the interest of their target local demographic, but at least the surging Nats have the respect of the game’s most respected figures.


Atlanta Braves

You remember the playoffs, don’t you?  The crisp autumn air kicking up, the smell of illegally burning leaves in the yards of your shifty neighbor, the shocking revelations of your shifty neighbor after he drinks too much during the tailgate in K Lot and breathes his darkest secrets in your ear, as well as an unwelcome wave of Keystone Light-breath.

The Braves, as they try to become the other NL East team to squeeze through MLB’s expanded playoff-hole, will not be short on any of it.  Maybe the crisp autumn air, because the south is thick with endless heat and the stale rants of college football’s talking heads.

But everything else will be there!  And given Atlanta’s weaknesses–there are several–there’s no reason not to get started early.

Miami Marlins

Not a lot went right for the Marlins–an aspect of their season they’ve undoubtedly reflected upon going into every month this season.  But this is September, that month that comes after all the other months of baseball season.  So.  We all get to have thoughts about the Marlins again.

But this time, let’s not focus on what in the unholy fuck happened down there or how much money they laughed and set on fire or what’s going to happen when that home run sculpture becomes sentient.

No, instead, let us hop off our high horses, relax our pointing fingers, and sit back and relish in what the Marlins do have:  Giancarlo Stanton and his loving relationship with the Denver air.  The slugger has clubbed six home runs in six straight games in Colorado, going all the way back to 2011.

But no matter how hard we squint past the horribleness, some ugly crap leaks in.  The Marlins are going to start limiting innings of people–not Stanton or Jose Reyes–but the starting rotation.  In fact, with the addition of Wade LeBlanc, the rotation has blossomed into a six-man operation, pulsating with too-late desire.

You know what let’s just watch Stanton sock dingers again.

New York Mets

The Mets will miss the playoffs in 2012.  Sadly, they also missed something else:  First base.

In a recent loss to the Cardinals, Andres Torres rounded first, thinking he touched the base with his heel.  Umpire Dave Rackley thought differently, conferred with the rest of the crew, used some foreign instrument called “instant replay,” and called Torres out.  It’s the kind of thing that you know will cost a team a slim margin of offense.  The Mets lost 5-4.

The Shakespearean dagger in all of this was that former Met and noted conspirator Carlos Beltran was the Cardinal who told St. Louis manager Mike Matheny to appeal.

In a less Shakespearean and far more biblical Mets story, Keith Hernandez’s mustache–recently described in the New York Times as “…the thicker, longer cousin to his eyebrows,” is turning grey and may soon be completely shaved off.  

Will he lose his powers?  Does he have any powers?  We don’t know.  But it is one of the most recognized patches of human hair in the history of sports, so if this goes down, then a new era of Mets baseball will be upon us.  And not a good one.  Vengeful, murderous mustaches are notorious for reassembling their bristles and being detrimental to the franchise.