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They Canít Fire Willie Twice
2008-09-21 22:20
by Mike Carminati

As the Phils start looking farther in their rearview mirrors, I am left wondering if this mini collapse is even worse for the Mets than the monumental, historic collapse of 2007.

Sure, the Mets are watching the floundering Ned Yost-bereft Brewers fade in their own Wild Card rearview mirrors. But I cannot help but wonder if the Mets are wasting the collective talent like Bill James said the Milwaukee Braves did in the late Fifties and early Sixties. Now, I don't think this will lead to the Mets relocating as the Braves did (breaking the "heart" of a young Bud Selig prior to his metamorphosis into Gallum). However, they are not exactly building momentum as they move to a new stadium.

The Phils will have won two straight division titles while having nary a major-league starting catcher or third baseman either year. The 2007-08 Phils will rank among the worst back-to-back division winners ever:

TeamTot WTot LPCTYr1Yr2
Cleveland Indians175148.54219971998
Kansas City Royals147118.55519801981
Philadelphia Phillies (projected)180144.55620072008
Philadelphia Phillies150119.55819801981
New York Yankees182139.56720002001
Oakland Athletics184140.56819731974
New York Yankees185138.57319992000
Oakland Athletics188136.58019741975
Arizona Diamondbacks190134.58620012002
Toronto Blue Jays191133.59019921993

Meanwhile, the Phils have again passed the Mets, albeit in not as dramatic fashion as in 2007. However, should they hold the lead again, it will be just the second time baseball history that a division or league rival has passed the same team two straight years in September.

The only other time this occurred was in 1965-66 when the Dodgers passed the Giants two straight years in September. And they passed the Giants Sept. 2 in 1966 so that barely qualifies.

The Phils are really doing something historic, which makes it all the more poignant when they end up losing to the Dodgers in the first round and the Mets meet the Rays in the World Series.

Comments
2008-09-21 23:19:03
1.   scareduck
I find it odd that you would say this --

Sure, the Mets are watching the floundering Ned Yost-bereft Brewers fade in their own Wild Card rearview mirrors.

just as the Brewers found a way to beat the hapless Reds, and the Mets lost to the Braves to get Milwaukee to a game and a half back of the Mets.

2008-09-22 06:50:39
2.   Elliot
Hey Mike, how are your chickens doing? Alive and well? Nice and healthy?

Oh, they're not hatched yet?

2008-09-23 05:35:20
3.   StolenMonkey86
Why no Padres in 05-06? They should top the list, going 170-154 in those two years.
2008-09-23 11:33:21
4.   Noam Sane
There was no reason to fire Willie. The problem was always the bullpen. They didn't reach the World Series in '06 because of D. Sanchez car accident injury. The '07 collapse-- a mediocre bullpen would have allowed them to avoid it. The only reason the Mets might make the playoffs this year is Milwaukee is playing just as poorly as they are.
2008-09-23 13:39:57
5.   mbtn01
Yeah, I'm going to disagree with No. 4 here. Had the Mets continued playing under Manuel as poorly as they did behind Randolph they'd have been eliminated weeks ago, and the Willie version had the advantage of a healthy Ryan Church, Billy Wagner and John Maine. The bullpen has been lousy for both guys.

And not for nothing but the Milwaukee slide more or less began with a decisive 3-game sweep at the hands of the Mets.

The real game-changer in this race was the Phils' sweep of Milwaukee: I think the Mets and their fans were prepared for the Brewers to take at least 1 or 2 of those, which would have made it difficult for Philly to take either the division or the Wild Card.

2008-09-27 17:23:26
6.   overkill94
Does any movie look more generic and cliched than "The Express"?

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