September 21, 2006

Because, Not To Go All John Rocker On You, The 7 Train Is Flawed

My apologies for the long delay between posts. I’ve been busy –in part, in fact, because I’ve been at Shea Stadium the last few days, working on a freelance story for the Village Voice. Much more to come about that in a couple of weeks, I hope. But in the meantime, I’ll do better… because your life was empty and joyless these last five days, wasn’t it? It felt like the sun had gone behind a cloud, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

So it’s official: the Yankees clinched! Okay, so maybe that didn’t deserve an exclamation point -- not only has it been inevitable for the last few weeks, but they were on the road and, in fact, lost their game against the Blue Jays; they clinched when the Sox lost to the ever-more-impressive Twins. If the Yankees had started three rookies in a row in early August I would’ve had to be medicated, whereas now it’s merely an interesting look at new arms (Rasner being the only one who inspires any real confidence).

Still, it’s impossible to watch the ensuing good cheer without grinning. People watched the Mets’ joyful and truly raucous celebration Monday night (featuring cigars, fire hoses, oceans of booze, signs, and goggles, and lacking only a ride on a police horse) and contrasted it with the Yankees’ imagined restraint, saying Joe Torre’s team wouldn’t bother exuberantly partying over a mere division title, their ninth in a row after all and only what everyone expected; but hey, they looked pretty happy to me. Appropriately enough it was the young guys -- Melky, Cano and company -- who really seemed to go all out, jumping up and down and yelling cheerfully, presumably as a continuation of their master plan to make me feel increasingly stupid for having taken French in high school.

Meanwhile, there’s a fresh controversy regarding Tom Verducci’s SI piece about that third baseman, but as no felonies or bizarre illicit affairs are involved I’m afraid it doesn’t meet my criteria for discussion. Though I have to say, it’s actually a very well-written article, and much more interesting than much of the tabloid hostility that blanketed the city this summer. Somebody needs to get Richard Ben Cramer on this guy's biography... but not for at least 10 years, at which point I might be able to care again.

All in all, it’s been a remarkably stress-free few weeks for New York baseball. You can fret all you want about the Mets’ sudden inability to hit left-handers or Jason Giambi's wrist, but at this point everyone's just waiting for the real action to start. The challenge will be playing out the last few games without anyone getting injured or falling asleep on camera. Of course anything might happen in the first few weeks of October, but what the hell -- all the usual disclaimers aside, I smell a subway series. And it smells much better than the actual subway.

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