October 2, 2006
The regular season ended in clearcut fashion, obviating the need for any playoff games. For the rest of the year, the bottom of the baseball blog page will include a table of scores for the 2006 postseason, which is also displayed on the historical Postseason scores page. Of course, most people are focused on the possibility of a repeat of the 2000 "Subway Series" between the Yanks and the Mets, but as noted at MLB.com, there are three other plausible repeat World Series matchups:
Now that Jeter, Matsui, and Sheffield are all healthy again, the Yankees stand an excellent chance of going to the World Series for the first time in three years. Randy Johnson probably doesn't matter, and neither does Pedro Martinez, for that matter. Both had been relatively ineffective for most of the year anyway. I'm going with the conventional wisdom that it will be another "New York, New York" series, and guessing that Bronx will beat Queens in seven games, but I wouldn't rule out a surprise or two. The Twins have built a huge wave of momentum over the past three months, and it is possible that the Tigers will rediscover whatever that magic spark they had in the first half of the season.
I managed to get into Washington on Saturday and see the Nationals get walloped by the New York Mets 13-0. At least I think it was the Nationals; I hardly recognized most of the names of the lineup. In contrast, I certainly recognized Tom Glavine, Carlos Beltran, David Wright, and Jose Reyes. Profound lesson of the day: a first-string postseason-bound team is likely to beat a second-string last-place team. Getting swept in a home series was not exactly the way Frank Robinson wanted to end his career as a manager.
To my immense disappointment, Alfonso Soriano was not in the lineup at the Saturday game I attended, only his third absence all season long. He did not play at the other game I attended at RFK Stadium this year (July 2), either. Given that he played in 159 out of 162 games this year, the probability that a fan would not see him play in any randomly selected game would be 1.85 percent, or 54 to 1 odds. The probablity that a fan would not see him play in either of two randomly selected games would be .03 percent, or 2916 to 1 odds. Is this bad karma, or what? Odds are, I will never see Soriano in a Washington Nationals uniform. Even though Frank Robinson shifted him to bat third last week in hopes of boosting his RBI total into the three-digit range, Soriano went hitless in the last six games he played for the Nationals. For the month of September, he only hit three home runs and had a batting average of .204, dropping his cumulative batting average to .277 -- not exactly the best way to gain negotiating leverage as a free agent.
Famed Negro League player Buck O'Neil, age 94, has been hospitalized and has lost his voice. See yahoo.com. (Hat tip to Bruce Orser.)