To triumph or not to triumph? That is the question.
This afternoon I started to calculate just how depressed I should be. And you know what? I got a little bit undepressed.
Like you, I hate that moment when the hometown team becomes irrelevant. Usually it happens in October (how great is that?), which makes it a little bit better. But it still sucks when the moment arrives, no matter what.
Ever since the trading deadline passed without so much as a whisper from the Twins, it's started to feel like you could stick a fork in them already.
But after crunching a few numbers, I've come to realize that the next two weeks will clear up whether there is even the slightest shred of hope left. And from that statement, you may be able to detect that I've concluded that, as of this minute, there actually is a glimmer of hope remaining.
Here's how I got to that.
It's clear that the AL Central is going to be won by a team who has somewhere in the high 80s for wins. Right now, at 59-52, the Tigers are on a pace to win 86 games. That figure holds true even if you look at their record since the All Star break. But there are mitigations ahead.
But the next issue is whether any other team in the AL Central looks like it can beat that. The short answer is, "No, but..."
The Indians (54-54) have been scuffling since the break (7-12) and are currently on a pace to win only 74 games. New pitching could change that, but they been playing over their heads for a long time (and traded away good-luck-charm Orlando Cabrera). Their current pace is more likely a perfectly expected return to earth.
Their 74 wins would actually only be good for 4th place because both the White Sox (52-57) and the Twins (51-59) have maintained their seasonal pace since the break and look to win 77 and 76 games, respectively, unless something changes.
Frankly, those numbers don't look like providers of hope. And by themselves, they are not.
But if you blow off the Twins' wretched first third of the season (which is, admittedly, a lot to blow off), they have been winning at a .596 pace since June 1. That projects to 82 wins when you add back the April-May dreck, and it brings them within 4 of the Tigers.
At 10-11 since the break, the trend line is not moving in the right direction for the Twins, but we're talking about hope here, not certainty or even likelihood. Four wins above that pace is certainly not out of the question, especially when you consider that the Twins have only 19 of 51 games remaining against teams who are over .500 at this moment.
More importantly, Jim Leyland is famous for tiring his rotation down the stretch. A four-game sag by the Tigers is also very much not out of the question, at least until you realize that only four of their remaining games are against winning teams.
Here's the bottom line: If the Twins can win every series left (going 36-15), that would give them 87 wins on the year, and a real shot at eeking out the division. Anything less and they either lose the division, or win it in a fashion which will surely lead to swift ejection from the playoffs.
In a little over two weeks, when the Yankees leave town, the die will have been cast. The 17 games between now and then will probably seal their fate. If they go 9-8, they'll need to go an improbable 27-7 (.794) for the remainder of the season. If they can go 12-5, they're on pace, with only easier teams to come.
I didn't say there was a lot of hope right now. But there's enough to stave off depression, and that's all I'm looking for.
Contention or no, it's still a blast to get out to the ballpark, especially when you can do it with fellow BPMers.
Some of your fellow BPMers at a game in May of 2010 (we had almost the whole section)
I've secured a large block of tickets for the Tuesday night game against the Orioles on August 23, with special thanks to a fan of this site. Right now, there's a limit of four tickets per order, and I'll keep you posted if quantities start to run short.
BallparkMagic at Target Field: Tuesday, August 23, 7:10 PM (Baltimore Orioles)
These are seats out in the Right Field Bleachers, Section 140. These tickets are being sold here exclusively at face value with no fees (shipping only)! It's my way of saying thanks for making this site your source of TF news.
Only $21 per ticket!
I'll definitely be there with some friends, and it would be great to meet any of you that I still haven't. If you haven't come out for a BPM night before, now's the time. Hope to see you there!
This summer turned out to be a tease -- promising lemonade and hammocks, and delivering, well, more of exactly the same as the rest of the year (work, life, work, sleep, aging, work).
Just wanted you all to know that I'm not ignoring requests for new content. In fact, I've got a whole lot of new content hanging around waiting to be finished. Would that I could spend my days thinking and writing about baseball, and editing my still bulging photo collection (18K photos in the BPM archives right now).
Lots of pix waiting to be seen from Bert's memorable night.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
LRT throngs after the game
Discovered on the upper concourse!
Who Owns What (Click for larger version. Source: Ballpark Authority)
Now, THIS is just some guy who appears to be hanging out on the LRT tracks talking to himself.
The brick has been tinted where the circulation ramp meets the admin building.
These outfield stands will likely remain visible to passersby.
Did I mention that the cheerleaders looked pretty sharp?
Scoreboard installation in progress
The overhang as seen through the unnumbered gate
Yep, that's real grass down there, son.
End of the line.
What has been actually built so far is only a tiny subset of this vision.
Door to the visitor's clubhouse.
A timeline of design and construction of the ballpark. (Click to enlarge. Photo by Tyler Wycoff)
Click to enlarge.
Concept drawing for the fan/player appreciation wall. (Click to enlarge.)
Two concepts here remain in the final design. First is the oddly-shaped pavilion in center. Second is the section just above the right field fence. In the current design this section will hang over the field by a few feet. The original doesn't do that, but you can see that the concept goes way back in the planning.
I realized I've never shown how the walkway over Seventh Street meets the A ramp
Ballpark elevation viewed from the promenade (HERC plant) side. (Click to enlarge.)
Another view of the escalator, which apparently comes preassembled!
Such promise. (Click to enlarge.)
Click to enlarge
Bird's-eye view of the trees
Trampled, repaired, and re-trampled grass
Lots of speakers, but in some places, no sound.
Signature elements. (And they wonder why we think the real trees look so small...)
In the foreground you can see the supports for the plaza as it will meet the corner of North Seventh Street and Third Avenue North.