Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Baseball this 'n' that

Last weekend was a study in contrasts between the Mets & Yankees.

In the Bronx, the Yankees dropped three of four to Cleveland, and fell out of first place in the AL East. Oh, sure, the Bombers came back and beat Houston, 1-0, on Monday, but suddenly, the pitching staff, aside from Nathan Eovaldi, is starting to resemble a MASH unit. CC Sabathia went on the DL on Monday due to knee issues. Wouldn't shock me if he's done for the year.

Meanwhile, the Mets are suddenly doing their impersonation of the glamour power teams of the 70's, like, for example, Pittsburgh's Lumber Company and Cincinnati's Big Red Machine. It's too soon to think they have a modern day Murderer's Row, even with the return of David Wright, considering that Lucas Duda is on the DL (back), but after completing a season sweep of Colorado with a relatively sedate 5-1 win on Sunday, the Orange & Blue Wrecking Crew rolled into Philadelphia, picking up Wright along the way, and continued their domination of their former arch nemesis, the Phillies, with a 16-7 rout. Bear in mind that reigning Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom looked mortal, unable to get out of the 3rd after giving up 7 runs, 6 earned, on 3 Phillies HR's. The offense had his back. You might say they spotted the Phillies the 7 runs, then ran them out of the yard, scoring the last 14 unanswered runs. They had broken team records for extra base hits (15) and homers (8) in a single game.

The Mets still have three games left in their current series, and then, the Phillies come to Citi Field next week. They still have six games left with Washington, their closest pursuers. They still have six interleague games, 3 each with Boston and the Yankees, all at home. I wrote a week ago about their kryptonite being the NL Central, after going 0-13 vs. the likely wild card entrants, the Cubs & Pirates. Their record vs. the AL East isn't too shabby by comparison, a mere .500 (7-7) with those six games left. The Yankee series at Citi Field will be bigger than usual.

Closer to home, the Tri-City Valleycats needed some late inning magic to beat Connecticut Monday night, 7-6. They have to stave off the Tigers and Lowell in order to secure their 4th straight Stedler division title, and have less than 2 weeks left now in the regular season.

But I do have a nit to pick. I am so tired of the farce that the hot dog race has become. Yes, it's another derivative of Milwaukee's popular sausage races, but the way "Relish" gets screwed every night is getting tiresome and pathetic. Yes, the race is a work, but it is more blatantly so than the Mayors' race, which at least rotates the winners a little more evenly. Of the condiments represented, "Relish" is getting treated like Rodney Dangerfield, or even worse, a bug on a windshield. This ain't Zippy Chippy, the most famous loser in horse racing history, y'know.

So this is what I'm proposing. Drop the worked results, and let these kids in the hot dog suits actually run it out in true athletic competition, not every night, but make it more of a special attraction, something to be brought out a few times out of the season. The 'Cats have dropped other promotions, reducing the birthday race, where kids will outrun team mascot Southpaw from first to third, usually with ease, to a few times a year. The Harlem Globetrotters made the mistake of doing WWE-style gimmicks when they were at Times Union Center 5 years ago, and it turned me off. Haven't been back since. The race is discontinued during the playoffs, so there's now just 8 home dates left. It's time to show "Relish" some love.

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