September baseball not October harbinger for Mets, Yanks



(相關的說法可參考 [翻譯]Kevin Millar says Red Sox play second fiddle to Yankees)

紐約知名專欄作家Mike Lupica卻有了不同的看法

...The wild card has made September a much better show in a lot more baseball cities. And, at the same time, made September nothing more than a footnote when the tournament starts.







September baseball not October harbinger for Mets, Yanks


Published : September 23, 2007 / New York Daily News

The Yankees have done something proud and important for themselves whether they make it all the way back against the Red Sox this week or not. They reminded us once again that you have to play all 162 in baseball the way you have to play all nine innings, they hit the lottery with kid pitchers led by Joba Chamberlain, they got a career year out of A-Rod in a contract year and got the same out of Jorge Posada.

And all it wins them, even as this becomes another Yankee September when everybody starts planning the parade through the Canyon of Heroes, all they have done here - even as far as they've come on the outside - is a spot in the tournament.

Whether they do win the AL East or not.

It has been a great second half and it is a great Yankee September, one of the best they've had, however it plays out against the Blue Jays and Devil Rays and Orioles. But it is not 1978 and wasn't ever going to be 1978, even as the media wants this to be the same story. That was knockout baseball between the Yankees and the Red Sox in '78, and the loser didn't go to the tournament, the loser went home.

And if there is one thing we have learned in wild-card baseball, especially lately, it is that September is not October, whether you come hard in the stretch the way the Yankees have, or get rocked the way the Mets have.

The Mets could continue to stagger to the wire, manage to just hold off the Phillies, blow just about all of the 7½ -game lead they had over the Phillies with just over two weeks left. Then they could end up winning the World Series.

The Yankees could catch the Red Sox and still go out in the first round again, to either the Angels or the Indians, depending how things break.

In 2005, the Chicago White Sox gave back most of a 15-game lead in the AL Central, finally saw that lead shrink from 15 all the way down to a 1½ over the Cleveland Indians. Going into the postseason, everybody decided that even though they ended up winning 99 games, their record was a fluke and they were going to be nothing in the playoffs. Because of the way they finished.

Then they swept the Red Sox, defending world champs, in the first round of the playoffs and swept the Astros in the Series and gave a good beatdown to the Angels in between.

Does that mean that the Red Sox - whose lead was 14½ over the Yankees in May - will do the same this season? Doesn't. It just means that what happened to the White Sox over the second half of '05 meant absolutely nothing in October. It is a lot more relevant than some season played almost 30 years ago.

Last year the Tigers took first place in the Central in May and sometimes looked as dominant as the White Sox had looked the year before. Then they tripped all over themselves in September and got swept by the Royals on the last weekend of the season - at home - and finally lost an excruciating extra-inning game on the last day and fell back into the wild card.

The Tigers at that point were supposed to be done, like dinner. The Yankees were supposed to have nothing more than a first-round bye against them. We all saw how that came out after the Yankees won the first game of their division series against the Tigers at the Stadium.

In the National League? The Cardinals saw an 8½ -game lead against the Astros finally become a one-game lead for a few hours on Sept. 27. The Astros had already won their game that day and the Cardinals were losing, and it looked like the lead would go to a half-game. Only Albert Pujols hit a three-run home run to save his team and the Cardinals, who were 83-78 during the regular season, ended up winning it all.

And the Yankees won it all once under Joe Torre after losing 16 of 19 in one September stretch. And the Braves held off the Giants in September of 1993, the last regular-season knockout race before the wild card, and couldn't beat the Phillies in the NLCS.

Of course the Mets could still blow the whole thing, blow the division and miss out on the wild card. Only then would September mean everything to them, and they go in with the Dodgers of '51 and the Phillies of '64 and the Red Sox of '78 and all other famous September collapses.

Or the Mets could get into the postseason and get right and win it all. The baseball postseason is about as easy to handicap now as the Stanley Cup playoffs. If you had seeded the eight playoff teams one year ago, the Tigers and Cardinals would have been the two lowest, and ended up in the Series.

The wild card has made September a much better show in a lot more baseball cities. And, at the same time, made September nothing more than a footnote when the tournament starts.