“You come at the king you best not miss.” — Omar, The Wire
In addition to being one of the Top 10 greatest television characters in history (not a misprint), Omar’s wisdom resonates in a profound way in today’s world of sports.
I got to thinking of my man Omar this morning when I awoke to a text from Dennis The Dodgers Fan up in Oregon. Dennis pointed out that his boys in blue are 26-9 over their last 35 games. He correctly added that’s good enough for “best in MLB” status during that timeframe. Well, Dennis, that text elicited many different reactions as I began my day.
First, to shed some light on how important that statistic is, may I remind you that the New York Mets were 11-1 in their first 12 games this year. Easily the best in MLB during that time frame. So for your sake, here’s hoping your Dodgers handle their recent run of success better than my Metropolitans did.
And here is a second reaction to your pennant waving text, courtesy of the Peanuts gang:
Not to be outdone by Charles Schulz, Dennis also noted (he was riding the high of last night’s 2-0 Dodgers shutout of the Cubbies, by the way) that the last nine runs scored by the Dodgers had all come via solo home runs. Okay, that’s a cool stat.
Dennis, should you ever tire of being a Wall Street titan, I see a bright future for you here at SportsAttic. If only you didn’t have that Dodgers-fan stigma holding you back, that is. Good grief!
However a more relevant reaction to Dennis’s text brought me back to Omar’s words. It seems to me that the entire N.L. West (sans San Diego, of course) had their shot during the season’s first three months to take out the reigning king. And they all missed.
Yeah, I know the D’backs are still in first place by a game and a half, but does anyone really expect that to last? Not if you saw the bungling Mets sweep them out of NYC a month or so ago, you don’t. Arizona is a decent squad and will likely remain in the Wild Card hunt, but it’s late-June and the big kids are out of school. Say goodnight, Gracie.
The Giants and their three World Series titles in five years (that seem like a lifetime ago) continue to hang around .500, and marginally in the division race. I attribute that more to Bruce Bochy somehow coaxing one last surge of muscle memory from his aging, pitching-deprived squad than realistic contention. They should be sellers next month (Mad-Bum anyone?), but my money’s on them deluding themselves into thinking they can make a run and standing pat.
More than any franchise, the Giants hierarchy is committed to never disappointing their loyal fan base by waving the white flag. It is an admirable trait, but in this case it will prove problematic. There is no young talent in the minors to utilize for a meaningful roster add, so standing pat is their best case. Sorry SF fans, you’ll just have to keep riding the Dubs title-wave for these summer months. Look for the Giants to finish 75-87.
The Rockies are busy killing more pitchers’s careers (somewhere Mike Hampton is laughing hysterically) and can’t be taken seriously despite their usual altitude-enriched slugging numbers. And the Padres…well, let’s just say that any franchise that has steadfastly clung to mustard-yellow as one of their cornerstone uniform colors for nearly 50 years deserves their annual cellar dweller positioning and this year will be no different.
They all had their chance at the king while the Dodgers fought injuries and indifference until Justin Turner returned from the DL. Now the king has survived the coup (oh yeah, and Kershaw’s back). Look for heads to roll. Dodgers take the division by at least 10 games.
Other much appreciated feedback from the mailbag these past couple of weeks included:
*Dolphins67 conjuring up the memory of Robert Newhouse and those thunderous thighs pounding away at the middle of defenses leading the way for young Tony Dorsett in the late-’70’s. Newhouse actually rushed for 930 yards (in a 14 game season, no less) in his first year as a starter and featured back for the Cowboys back in ’75. Then the Boys wisely asked him to play a supporting role when Tony D. arrived in town a couple of years later. Newhouse — punishing, prototype, badass fullback.
Also duly noted was Dolphins67’s not-so-subtle disclaimer that he is NOT a Cowboys fan. Never would have guessed that from the email handle! But it’s funny that all of us who grew up in that era (except for those front-running fans of “America’s Team”) feel the need to pointedly distance ourselves from even the slightest chance we could be suspected of being a Dallas Cowboy sympathizer. I understand. Really, I do.
*AC in NorCal inquired as to whether SportsAttic accepted requests and followed that by asking for a future post on racket sports. Answers in order would be “yes” and “no.” Sorry, but I will not add any fuel to this whole pickle ball phenomenon that seems to be slowly gripping my hometown.
*Lawrence in Mountain Lakes offered a “Who cares?” shoutout to my post on LeBron James being destined to join the Lakers in the fall. If I remember correctly, Lawrence, you and I sat next to each other at The Garden back in the early-’90’s watching Anthony Mason break the Indiana Pacers hearts by single-handedly avoiding their lame attempt at a full court press to preserve a playoff game win. You cared. I cared. All 19,000+ of us cared that day. A lot. I know today’s Knicks can rip the heart out of even the most passionate of their faithful, but I stand by my (unanswered) question back to you: “Would you care if LeBron came to NY?”
I will, however, accept Lawrence’s condolences passed along to Mets fans everywhere on the plight of our moribund franchise. Nothing quite like the magnanimous Yankees fan throwing a little sunshine our way while boasting a .667 winning percentage.
*Let me thank Ron in D.C. for his recent SportsAttic follow, and also for him refraining from attacking me for my denigration of what surely must be his second favorite song (after Bruce’s Born to Run, I’m guessing) — Hail To The Redskins.
Ron is undoubtedly still celebrating the removal of the term “long-suffering” from the first name of Capitals fans everywhere (you’re still welcome, D.C. fans). I’m just thankful the afterglow of capturing The Cup is powerful enough to distract Redskins fans from my attack on their sacred cow.
*And apologies to JZ in Alamo, CA for assuming the purple and gold design on his backyard corn hole targets were an homage to the Los Angeles Lakers. Silly me to not immediately associate those colors with his beloved Minnesota Vikings. And additional apologies for bringing up Gary Anderson’s miss in the ’98 NFC Championship game.
JZ’s reaction to my indiscretion brought back fond memories of the one and only Marshall Eriksen, the How I Met Your Mother character who hailed from Minnesota and screamed out in agony anytime anyone brought up Gary Anderson or that ill-fated shank. In all likelihood JZ is still ranting on about how Anderson hadn’t missed all year, etc. etc. etc. I know it is small solace JZ, but try to remember that records in futility (ya know, like most Super Bowls lost without a win) are good for the sport.
*And to all of you (too many to recognize individually) who opined in absolute disgust over my man Patrick’s admittedly cringe-worthy Munson quote from twenty-plus years ago, you may rest in the knowledge that the tally since that time is Yankees World Series titles — 4, Mets (and Patrick and I) — 0. And I don’t see that tally improving for the blue and orange any time soon, I am sad to say.
*On that somber note, a final image comes from Michaela in D.C., bravely carrying the Mets flag down in Nationals country. I think this says it all: