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.
Some fun field facts. (Click to enlarge.)
I suppose that one day my son will graduate from Mrs. Fields to Hooters. At least he won't have to travel too far. *Shudder*
I do love the upper concourse. Feels like home already.
Love the lighted, translucent panel
Section 101, Row 27
Approach in the A ramp to the skywalk over Seventh
Stepping inside the circulation building
Section 139, Row 8
The Metropolitan Club (click to enlarge)
A desolate Marquette Ave
Footings for the Seventh Street walkway from the A ramp.
TC meets the Mayor (Photo by Jeff Ewer)
Site plan for the new Nationals ballpark, with the size of the Rapid Park site overlaid
Bird's-eye view of the trees
I took this picture from the Overlook at great personal risk, because everything Thome was hitting was landing out that direction.
Peering through Gate 34
A sign that your mall is all but dead: roped off escalators. (This is at about 4:00 PM on a weekday.)
June 29,1936 - May 17, 2011
The HERC side, viewed from Fifth Street.
Who Owns What (Click for larger version. Source: Ballpark Authority)
The limestone now wraps around onto the HERC side.
That's Fifth Street (and a tattooed arm) in the foreground.
Millers fans leaving Nicollet Park after a game in 1923, where a trolley was waiting. (Click to enlarge.)
Very nice Admin glass.
Here's a first view of the surprisingly spacious walkway on Fifth between the ballpark and the LRT platform.
These stairs will go up to the centerfield pavilion.
The Fun Zone/Rescue Area in Oakland during the second inning
This would have been the HERC side, though it's unclear just how far over the plant the retracted roof would have gone. My fear was always that they would have to shorten the track and more of the roof would have stayed over the ballpark. The only good retractable roof is one which disappears when not in use. I don't think they could have realistically created such a thing.
The finished product. Note that, at the very bottom of this image, you can just barely see the tops of the windows which look into the Champion's Club. (Home Plate Box)
B ramp at left, ballpark at right (and visible far away through the tiny crack)
No griping here.
A glimpse of the rather plain west facade (the side which faces the HERC plant).
The shade of the canopy gives way to a brief shaft of light. It would do the same again a short while later when the sun passed through that tiny open sliver between the View and Terrace levels.
Apparently, there will be public restrooms accessible directly from the plaza.