Well folks, this is the end of 'er. It was fun. Coupla trades, coupla taters, few laughs, the odd heartbreak. It went by fairly quickly if you ask me. I'm fairly excited for the playoffs, to the point where I don't even know what the hell happened in the game last night. I heard that both starting pitchers were pretty good, and that the Jays lost, but beyond that...
I went to Moneyball last night with my girlfriend. I won't give an amateur film review, mostly because everyone and their mother has already done so, but I will say that I quite enjoyed it. I wish they included the "Hatteberg's wife hitting him tennis ball grounders" part, but I suppose there wasn't enough room for it or something.
As a quick aside to the Moneyball story, the Jays once fleeced Billy Beane in a trade for a piece of that very good 2002 Oakland team. Billy Koch, drafted in 1996 4th overall by the Jays, was traded for 2002 AL Rookie of the year Eric Hinske, and the very mediocre Justin Miller during the 2001 offseason, right around the time that they found out that they wouldn't be resigning Johnny Damon. Hinske, of course, was a 17th round selection who happened to be blocked by Eric Chavez. Given the first-base quandary they were in, I bet Oakland immediately regretting that trade.
The Jays got about 6 WAR out of Hinske (as opposed to the 2.2 Kock offered), and then traded him to Boston for cash. They also got 180+ innings out of Miller before he was ultimately released in 2005. Koch was involved in a trade to Chicago for Keith Foulke and others after the 2002 season, who put up 3+ wins in 6 straight seasons as a closer. Koch was never above replacement value again.
Anyway, I can't wait for tonight's games to start. Philadelphia and Atlanta play in a game to determine Atlanta's fate in the NL wild card race, after having it all but clinched a month ago, while STL plays Houston to try and complete the comeback. If STL and ATL end up tied after tonight's games, they will play tomorrow afternoon in a 1-game tiebreaker. On the AL side, Boston plays Baltimore, with Jon Lester throwing on short rest, and Tampa Bay plays the Yankees in a game in which New York has already ensured us that they will start their bench, instead of actually trying.
Both the Rays and the Red Sox won last night, but in very different manners. The Rays pretty much got our of the only jam they faced by turning a triple play. The Red Sox, on the other hand, won 8-7, including a 29 pitch save by Jonathan Papelbon. Even if he does happen to be available for tonight's game, that looks rough. If both teams remain tied after tonight, they'll play in a 1-game tie breaker tomorrow night. Boston's starter for tomorrow's game, if necessary, remains unannounced, partially because all of their starters suck now, but also because Theo Epstein is trying to swing a deal to acquire a starting pitcher for that one game. Any player traded after August 31st may not participate in the playoffs. If Theo does make a trade, it would have to be done today, to ensure that whoever he does get will be with the team tomorrow when the game starts.
I love baseball, and I love games that really mean a lot even more. Tonight, there are 4 simultaneous games that mean everything to the seasons of 4 teams.