Thursday, August 27, 2009

'Our club'

With less than 40 games to go in the regular season - barring some sort of major collapse by either team, I hereby pronounce the Yankees and Cardinals divisional champions in the American League East and National League Central, respectively. Tammy's greatgrandfather can begin churning in his grave right now. Which team will Tammy root for? (Of course, both teams have to get through the divisional and league playoffs first in order to meet in the World Series, but still!)

Since August 3rd, both the Yankees and Cards have been on a torrid winning pace. The Cardinals have won very close to 80% (!) of their games, with the Yanks not far behind at 75% - both records making it next to impossible for other teams in their division to try and play catchup.

At the other end of the scale, both Chuck's Cubbies and Steven's Blue Jays have tried to see who could 'undo' each other in the race to lose the most games. The Jays won this race, but just barely, losing 68% of their games. Chuck's team came in a very close second - 65% - both absolutely disgraceful numbers!

Not that I'm proud of what my Astros have done, you understand. (They're not alone in their just below .500 winning percentage in the last month. My son-in-law's Red Sox have 'distinguished' themselves similarly.) However, I did it to them (the Astros)! It's all my fault, you know. I jinxed them. Ever since I posted "If this is a dream, please ... ...", they have been slowly but surely removing themselves from any thoughts of a divisional championship and now are completely out of the playoff picture, including any possible Wild Card hope.

I don't want to ignore Patrick's Braves, who have been winning over half of their games since the beginning of August, but they're in the same division (National League East) as the Phillies, who are continuing their winning ways. The best that Patrick can hope for, I think, is a Wild Card berth.

It's unlikely, but possible. Currently, they are 5.5 games out. Ahead of his team in that race for the Wild Card in the National League are the Rockies (#1) and the Giants (three games back of the Rockies), both of whom are in the National League West, behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.

There was a time when I thought the Dodgers might be uncatchable. While they're still leading their division, and ranked #5 for power by Aram, the Rockies have been slowing creeping up - little by little. Yesterday they were only two games back of the Dodgers. Today the figure is three. Very close, indeed!

My son-in-law's Red Sox are currently leading the American League pack in the Wild Card race, with the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays not far back, so that will give us something interesting to watch in the coming few weeks.

I told Tammy that I would post something about the Wild Card. Well, Tammy, the 'wild card' is a designated spot (in baseball) where a team (not the divisional champion) in each league (both American and National) with the best winning percentage* advances to the playoffs. As there are three divisions within each league, the 'wild card' would make a fourth team.

*I can just hear you asking the question now and so, in anticipation of your question, here's the answer ... ... In the case of a statistical tie, a one-game playoff between the two teams would determine who the 'wild card' would be.

[In further anticipation of another question of yours, Tammy, which might be, "Has there ever been a 'Wild Card' World Series champion?" Well, yes there has ... four of them, actually, the most recent of which (2004) was the Red Sox. Go here for more detailed info.]

Now, for the divisional playoffs. The 'wild card' team will always play, in the first round, against the team in their league with the best record - unLESS that team happens to be in their same division, in which case they would play against the team with the second best record.

Once that first round of playoffs has been concluded, then the two winners will meet in opposition to see who will represent their league (American or National) in the World Series.

It's impossible for me to conclude this post w/o mentioning the Phillies, whose road record (as of this writing) is an unbelievable 41-22!! What the devil is that percentage, anyway? 65%? Something like that.


Tammy said...

Well.........IF it gets down to the Cardinals and Yankees, honestly I will probably cheer on whichever team is losing each inning. One one hand, my heart is with the Yankees since I went to one of their games and had SO much fun learning about baseball from Peter the year I lived in NYC. On the other hand, my heart is with the Cardinals. Oh, how I'd have love to have known my great grandfather. I've heard so many stories about him attending all the Cardinal games. I've always felt such a connection to him and my great grandmother. In fact, I even have her wedding ring. :)

Wild there is a fun concept. I looked at the link you gave us and (if I'm understanding this correctly) the winners of 2002, 2003, and 2004 were all wild card teams. Now isn't THAT cool??? Love it!

The Bug said...

We live near Cincinnati (I know, pity me now) but we're Braves fans through & through. It would be nice, but we're losing hope. We do NOT like the Cardinals, but if they're in the big show I'll have to pull for them (especially since they have my "boyfriend" John Smoltz). We don't do the American League - & definitely not the D%@# Yankees!

You should see us all summer - we subscribe to MLB TV & watch the Braves on the computer & the Reds on the TV. We have no life LOL.

steven said...

goldenrod, i'm actually proud that i called the fate of the blue jays very early in the season - in fact right when they were climbing high - the top of the entire baseball world!!! i said "fasten your seatbelts folks, we're gonna be experiencing some turbulence!!!" it was always so!!! thank goodness the hockey season is starting up soon!! steven

Craig Peihopa said...

I must admit sadly, that Bridge and Baseball are not two sports or passions I have had much exposure to previously, BUT I love the way you inform us all.

Goldenrod said...

This might have been my last baseball post until the playoffs. It's really disheartening to see your team deteriorate like that. Sure, we've had our share of injuries, but what team has not?

Last year was exciting, right up until the very last game or two. This year is NOT!

Hurricane Ike's destructive fury took its toll on the Astros last year and I'm still ticked at the commissioner's decision to hold those games against the Cubbies (that were supposed to be held HERE!) in Milwaukee, where the mood and atmosphere in the Brewers stadium was FAR from even remotely similar to friendly hometown confines - certainly not at all supportive nor conducive to promoting good will and encouragement for our players.

But most recently (August 17th), I didn't like the trade of "Pudge" Rodriguez (one of our catchers) to the Rangers for a RHP and two players to be named later. I'm happy for Pudge, becuz he has a chance to be in the playoff picture with the Rangers and he's back with a team he played for a few years back, but I didn't like Drayton McLane's (Astros owner) answer when he was questioned about the trade.

The question was one of those "Why now?" type. You know how reporters are. Some of them ask the most stupid questions and then shove the microphone into the interviewee's face for an answer.

Drayton's answer was, (something like ... I say 'something like' becuz I only heard this once - on the radio while I was driving, so I won't be 'for sure' about his exact words) "We'd have done something before 7/3l (a major trading deadline) if we'd thought (something about the playoff picture)."

Well, I never! On July 23rd, only 8 days before that deadline, the Astros were only one game out of 1st place in their division!! That would have been the PERfect time to 'do something', I think!!!

On the "Executives" page for the Houston Astros, this sentence can be found ... ... "(Drayton's) philosophy remains consistent -- bring a World Series championship to Houston, and make a positive difference in the community."

Well, he's certainly achieved the second part of his stated goal. The positive influence of many throughout the Astros organization, including the players and their wives, can be clearly felt. But the first one? Not yet and not looming on the near horizon, either, with THAT kind of an attitude!

All right. Rant concluded.

Hey, Bug! Do you want to join our 'club'? We have six members ... Chuck (Cubs), Patrick (Braves), Steven (Blue Jays), Tammy (Cardinals and Yankees), my son-in-law (Red Sox) and myself (Astros).

If you'd like to, I guess you'd come in as a Braves fan, joining Patrick. Am I right?

Hey! I've got a question for you. As you are an avid follower of the Braves, I want to know which arm you use to do the "tomahawk chop" and, as a followup, is that arm as a result slightly larger than the other? :)

Your Braves, btw, still have a chance for a 'wild card' berth. Bet you knew that, tho. Right now, they're only 4.5 games out in that race.

Enjoy your upcoming hockey season, Steven. I know you just can't wait for it to begin. First pre-season game on 9/16 - not very far away now. The Toronto Maple Leafs, right? That's a sport I follow second-least of all (at the very bottom of my list is soccer).

Tammy, you'd better start wishing that the World Series this year will not see your Cardinals and Yankees playing against each other ... ... otherwise, your family will think you've completely lost your marbles, rooting for first one team and then the other, depending on who's losing at the time. :)

Craig, I love the fact that you even bother to comment on these posts! Do you understand what might happen, tho? You probably will end up learning something about both bridge and baseball!! Wouldn't that be a stitch?

Tammy said...

They already know I lost my marbles years ago...

Goldenrod said...

Too much, Tammy, you're just too much ... rrvit!

The Bug said...

Ooh - I'd love to join the club! What are the duties of the members? I'd like to be a second Brave, but if you'd like more diversity I can be a Red - we actually get to watch more of their games because of where we live so I keep up on the team pretty well.

I use my right arm for the chop, but it's been a number of years since I chopped regularly enough to notice a difference in arm size.

Goldenrod said...

Welcome to the 'club', Bug! I'll put you down as a Braves fan, unless you want to be a 'hedge-bettor', like Tammy - who never really followed baseball much until she started paying closer attention to my baseball posts - and enter as a Reds fan, as well. (?) Your choice.

Of the two leagues and various divisions, I follow the American League East (Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays, specifically) and National League Central (Cards, Cubs and Astros) the most keenly ... obvious 'club' reasons.

The National League East's division is followed by me ONLY due to Patrick's Braves interest. He seldom leaves a comment - unless I have written something particularly vitriolic about his team, such as the chant sounding very much like a young bear up in a tree* moaning and groaning while trying to digest something he shouldn't have eaten in the first place! - but I know he's there, so I try not to be intentionally nasty. :)

*You'd have to check back through all of my previous posts, including the comments, labeled "Sports" to find that one. (I don't have the time right now to look up the exact post, or I'd link it for you.) It would have been sometime last year. (However, there are now 62 of them! How much extra time do you have on your hands?) LOL

No 'duties', Bug. No membership card to fill out nor annual dues to be submitted. This is just a fun thing.

Oh! Before I go, I should mention that Craig (our Australian blogger friend) is an honorary member of our club. I arbitrarily appointed him one within the last month or two when he commented (something like, and I'm pretty sure I'm wildly paraphrasing here w/o taking the time to look it up), "While I know next to nothing about baseball, I feel like I'm almost a part of the club." Well, imo, he IS a member of our club, altho he has no particular club affiliation!

Goldenrod said...

I meant to say that Craig has no particular "TEAM" affiliation! (I need to proofread better before hitting publish, don't I?)