Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Sorry, blame it on me...

Rockies fans might not want to get too excited just yet. I heard Michael Barrett is on his way to Philly to tag out Matt Holliday since he still hasn't touched home plate...

Taking a step back from being the Mets fan that I am, I feel like the Padres missing out on the playoffs was equally devastating. But, since they play in San Diego, their fans aren't as crazy, and the Mets are the Mets, we won't hear as much about the way the Padres went down.

The Mets collapse was certainly epic and one for the record books. It was more drawn out and excruciating over the final three weeks or so of the season, but let's compare it to the Padres.

Aside from losing out on the division to a team who let up more runs than they scored, they have to deal with how they blew their playoff chance.

First, it's the Rockies who come out of nowhere to tie them, going on a run that was even more improbable than the slide the Mets went on. As much as the Phillies played well and did their job in going 17-11 against mostly sub par teams, it was nothing compared to the Rockies winning 20 games in the month (13 of their last 14) and 10 of which came against the Phils, Pads, D'backs. Both teams played the opponents that overtook them in the standings the final month and shot blanks (Mets went 0-3 against the Phils, Pads went 1-5 against the Rockies).

Even so, the Pads had destiny in their own hands when one of the best closers ever needed just 1 out in Milwaukee to clinch the wild card. Of course, Trevor Hoffman blew the save. It happens, right? Not often with him, but here's the kicker.

It was TONY GWYNN JR. (originally from? that's right, Tony Gwynn's penis) that drove in the tying run with a two out triple. Not only did they fail to clinch that night, but it was at the hands of the son of their greatest player ever. That's rough.

Then, they lost another lead the following night and, after a Rockies win over division leader Arizona, they were forced to head to Colorado for the tie breaker.

No worries though, they go into Colorado and again found themselves three outs away from the playoffs with Hoffman on the mound.

To put this in perspective - Trevor Hoffman had converted 90% of his save opportunities in his career with 524 saves and 61 blown saves prior to his last two appearances. He had a WHIP around 1 and an ERA around 2.70. Over his 882 game career, he's averaged 1 base runner per inning pitched, and even less this year. Giving up, two, or three runs after blowing the save in Milwaukee seemed far-fetched to say the least.

Sure enough, the Rockies put together a rally and scored three off Hoffman... sort of.

As I mentioned earlier, Holliday still hasn't touched home plate and at the time it appeared the umpire knew it, and called him safe anyway. Just a bizarre end to the baseball season.

So, what's a worse way to miss out on the playoffs? Feel free to vote in the poll at the left, here are the closing arguments...

You could certainly argue the Mets for all the different ways they could have wrapped up a playoff spot, how big a lead they had, and how talented the team was. You could also argue it's more difficult since they'll hear about it every year for the rest of their lives, no matter how big a lead they have. Also, it was the division that was lost, not just the wild card. Moreover, their fan base will be much more devastated than that of the Padres as evident by the cries to fire Willie, trade Reyes, cut Delgado, and do everything you can to land Johan Santana (and this was before they missed the playoffs).

But, the Mets never came as close to actually wrapping up a playoff spot as the Padres did. Blowing three leads in the last three games of the season and their best reliever, one of the greatest ever, blowing two saves: one involving the son of the franchises biggest hero and one where the winning run didn't even touch home plate. If the Mets had gone out the way the Padres did, would the uproar not have been just as bad? Could you imagine if a New York team missed the post-season on a run that never actually happened?!

Either way, both are gut wrenching ways to go down. As a former Mets season ticket holder who recently relocated to San Diego in June, all I can say is...

Sorry, blame it on me

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