The Baseball Desert

Thursday, August 14, 2003

I'm going to need to take some time off work (or maybe become a full-time Baseball Consultant) if I'm going to try to keep up with what's happening in the pennant / Wild Card races.

Baseball, both on the field and off, is a sport of endless possibilities, but I sometimes do find myself yearning for the much simpler joys of, say, English Premiership soccer - one single division, where teams play each other just twice a season (once at home and once away). Major League has two leagues, six divisions, games between all the different divisions, six division winners and two Wild Card winners - it takes some keeping up with!

Don't get me wrong - I love baseball and its endless permutations, but you only need to take a look at yesterday's boxscores and today's standings to realise that things sometimes get complicated. As Spinal Tap's lead guitarist once said of his composition "Lick My Love Pump": "it's simple lines intertwining". The problem is that if you have too many simple lines intertwining, you end up with a mess of spaghetti!

So, back to yesterday. Oakland lost a game in the AL Wild Card standings because the Red Sox won (against the A's, as a matter of fact). They also lost a game in their divisional standings because Seattle beat Toronto. The Red Sox obviously gained ground in the Wild Card race, but they also gained ground in the divisional standings, since the Yankees got the crap kicked out of them in New York by the Royals, who in turn moved further ahead of division rivals the Chicago White Sox, whose loss to the Anaheim Angels meant that they also lost ground to Boston and Oakland in the AL Wild Card race, which is, I think, where we came in. The only team in all of that for whom things are clear is the Angels - they're 17 games behind Seattle in their division and 13 games behind the AL Wild Card leaders. I think we can safely say that they won't be repeating as World Series champions this year...

I have a ton of work to do, so I'm not even going to start on the situation in the National League - it'll have to wait until another day, when my brain's had a chance to have a little rest. Hats off to the Marlins, though, who had an extra-inning walk-off homer for the second consecutive night. It looks like the Fish are really cookin' down in Miami ...