For those of you who are curious, my Xbox 360 did arrive successfully for my enjoyment of Halo 3. The happy news is that because my console was so irreparably damaged, they sent me a brand-new one manufactured only two weeks ago – and they gave me a free month of Xbox Live. Beautiful.
But now for the heart of the matter: baseball. Today marked the end of the regular season, and (to the surprise of few) the Braves have missed the playoffs for the second straight time. They improved significantly over last year though, and if they can get the starting pitching even remotely close to what it was several years ago, they’re destined to contend next year. Their offense was potent all year long, but their starters just put them in holes again and again. Overview of the season for Atlanta:
- Final record: 84-78 (.519)
- John Smoltz won his 200th game
- Chipper Jones barely missed winning the NL batting title, hitting .339 (2nd to Matt Holliday)
- Teixeria had 56 RBI and 17 HR in only 54 games with Atlanta
- Four players had 90+ RBI, and six had 15+ homers
- Diaz, Chipper, Renteria, Escobar, and Teixeria all hit over .300
- Andruw Jones batted an astoundingly-pitiful .222
The story this year is not the Braves’ third-place finish, but the complete and utter self-destruction of the Mets. They completed possibly the worst breakdown in regular season baseball history, losing their first-place spot to the Phillies with only three days left in the regular season. They had held the lead for 140 days, and they had a 7-game lead with 17 games left in the season. But when they lost 12 out of their last 17 games, the Phillies won 13 and took the division. And with other teams competing for the Wild Card, there was no spot left for the Mets.
It was a monumental collapse, and as much as I dislike the Phillies, it’s good to see fans of the Mets writhing in agony. What makes me even more gleeful is the thought of Jose Reyes being booed in New York. Sometimes that happens when you steal 23 bases in August only to steal 5 (and get caught 4 times) in September. Or maybe it was the .205 September average, or the .187 average for his last 32 games. Whatever the case, the perennial thorn in the side of the National League East faltered late and greatly contributed to his team’s demise.
It serves them right for ending the Braves’ 14-year run of division titles.
Oh, also, the Red Sox beat the Yankees to win the AL East, Roger Clemens sucked badly in his latest return from retirement, and Barry Bonds won’t be back with the Giants next year. Hooray for happy endings!