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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
This may look like just some guy (perhaps a spy) headed for the train. But it's actually the Northstar engineer!
I meant to include this shot the other day. It's the new LRT bridge being built next to the remaining half of the Fifth Street bridge. The new half is almost TWICE the width of the portion torn down. And the other end runs right into a HERC administration building! (Click to see the view from nearly the same spot about 85 years ago.)
Ballpark magic: Infield materializes (click to enlarge)
Usher Anna hands out Homer Hankies
Stairs and escalator down to the platform
Glass going in over the Oliva gate.
Section 125, Row 1
Write your own caption. (Photo by Jeff Ewer)
The main ticketing area beneath the restaurant.
This mural is behind the staircase. The window looks onto the promenade, and the door goes to a kitchen.
A recent view of the Bud deck in progress
TC gets ready to release the hounds. (Kids get to run the bases after Sunday games.)
More of a bird's-eye view of the same area.
This is where you will put out your butts -- I mean enjoy some pretty flowers.
This is the plaza as viewed from the A ramp.
The pink thing is a mascot. (Actually, with a damn fine mascot actor underneath.)
Also warming things up are these planters.
Here's the entrance from the seating bowl. It's down the outer moat, just beyond the last of the Dugout Box sections.
Look familiar? Unfortunately, just adding little balconies with cool angles will not offset the pervading ugliness.
Gate 34 Puckett
Dancing for the cameras
Approach in the A ramp to the skywalk over Seventh
That's Noah and my brother, Chris, checking out the Loge Box amenities
Poles through the gap
Chef stand and menu in the Carew atrium
Champion's Club details (click to enlarge)
The Fun Zone/Rescue Area in Oakland during the second inning
The Guthrie Theater's Wurtele Thrust Stage seating
Ballark Authority members listen to the LEED introduction
Ballpark elevation diagram, viewed from Fifth Street. (Click to enlarge.)
Integrating the administration building was really a great idea. Actually, there will be more things inside than just offices, but that will probably be some sweet space.
Trains now rumble regularly beneath the promenade.
The heretofore unseen north facade (click to enlarge). Does it look like a ballpark? And what's with the bamboo?