Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Braves get bounced, Yanks get boosted and Jeter gets posted
The Atlanta Braves’ string of post-season appearances likely comes to an end today. And I suspect I am joined by many National League fans in saying, "It’s about time."
Seriously, has any team ever done so little with so much? Let’s look.
First, it’s an asterisk-laden streak. The Braves will tell you it’s a 14-year run, I say it’s 11 years. The Braves were six games behind the Expos in 1994 when labor strife wiped out the season. Standings were kept and MVP and Cy Young awards were given, so I have to assume it was a real season, just a tragically shortened one.
Of those years — and I’ll use all 14 for these purposes and to give as much benefit of the doubt as possible — the team has a sole World Series trophy. That’s from 1995 when Tom Glavine had to take matters into his own hands and toss a one-hot shutout to beat the Indians. The Marlins have won more championships in that time.
Look at the futility:
1991: Squeeked past the Pirates in the playoffs, beaten by the Twins in the series.
1992: Again squeeked past the Pirates, beaten by the Blue Jays in the series.
1993: Spanked by the Phillies in the first — and at that time, only — round of the playoffs.
1994: Finished second to the Expos.
1995: Beat the Tribe in six, the only Championship.
1996: Folded to the Yanks in the series.
1997: Spanked by the Fish in the NLCS.
1998: Lost to the Padres in six in the NLCS.
1999: Embarrassed by the Skanks in four in the series — and they got that far only because Kenny Bleeping Rogers can’t throw a strike to a guy who wasn’t even thinking about swinging..
2000: Swept by the Cards in the Division Series.
2001: Dumped by the D-Backs in the NCLS in five games.
2002: Bounced in five by the Giants in the Division Series, this time Barry Bonds didn’t have to try to throw out Sid Bream at the plate with a throw from, ahem, deep short.
2003: Beaten by the Cubs — the Cubs! — in the Division Series
2004: Tossed by the Astros in the Division Series
2005: Tossed by the Astros again in the Division Series.
So as division champions, the Braves made nice speed bumps for teams heading for greater glory.
And for all those years, the Braves have subjected us to:
— Half-full stadiums for playoff games. Heck, the Fish might draw 6,000 fans a game in the season, but at least they sell tickets for the playoffs.
— Foul-mouthed relievers, Hooters-hustling third-basemen, trial-testifying and strip-club attending centerfielders, third-base-missing and Halle Berry-divorcing outfielders and — worst of all — tomahawk-chopping fans spurred on to their acts of insensitivity by lame organ commands.
I’m glad their run is over. I’m even gladder the Mets were the ones to issue the cease and desist order.
Yankee hacks assumed control
Sports Illustrated is at it again. The Yankee hacks are so embedded there that it’s comical.
The magazine’s Website has the annual stadium ranking according to a "fan value index," which takes into account things like the surrounding neighborhood, parking, atmosphere, access to public transportation as well as the product on the field.
Shea’s ranked No. 29 of 30, but you knew that would happen since these guys love to dump all over the Mets.
But explain to me how Fenway Park, a virtual museum, is ranked No. 28, beautiful Dodger Stadium No. 26 and classic Wrigley Field is No. 24?
Disappointing Comerica Park is No. 6, which is a joke, and the top spot is handed to the Angels for their reconfigured yard.
Now, let’s look at Yankee Stadium objectively. It’s in the South Bronx so you don’t dare venture a block from the yard, parking is fair at best, the fans are rude and the food is horrible. And the staff? I once witnessed a security guard taking a batting practice home run ball away from a fan, just because he could.
You’d think that if Shea is No. 29, this dump must be No. 30, or No. 35 with six blank spots above it just to show how horrible Yankee Stadium is.
Nope, SI ranks it No. 19, and you know it must have killed them to rank it that low. The justification for ranking it that high? I’ll let you read for yourself: "Despite all of the negatives, it’s still one of the best places to see a ball game ... because it’s Yankee Stadium."
The trouble with tenure
Speaking of Bronx boosterism.
I attended curriculum night for my son’s school this week. The idea is to follow your child’s schedule, spending 10 minutes in each room, with the teacher talking about what goes on in the room. You get to know the teacher, and they get an idea of where the kids are coming from, too.
So I was sitting there in one of my son’s rooms, looking around. Some Notre Dame football posters were on the wall, along with a Purdue University schedule poster...and a Derek F. Jeter poster.
Does that constitute a hostile classroom environment? I suppose it might work if the poster had a sign reading: Don't let this happen to you.