Astros climb to the top
in the NL
The Mendoza Line
Ed De La Garza
Life isn't so trivial that baseball is
the great panacea for America's recent tragedy. But it is the one great
American symbol the sporting world has
to offer. And it was called on Monday
to help people "recover."
Many games took on a greater meaning. Baseball
was America. And it hadn't gone anywhere. Some may have questioned why
it wasn't back
sooner, but not playing until Monday helped
America realize what it lost.
It's corny, but seeing the players -- who
until Sept. 11 had been our national heroes -- in the middle of a baseball
diamond waving little U.S. flags
made you appreciate this country.
Shame on you if you didn't feel the same
Around the bases
It's only right that the New York Mets
are a game over .500.
Those 'Mazin Mets, who've spent more time
chasing Florida than Atlanta and Philadelphia in the National League East,
are suddenly just five
games out of first place with 15 games
remaining on their schedule. It's as though some higher power is willing
New York through another
At 74-73, the Mets are a testament to the
city in which they play. Donning "NYPD" caps -- in honor of rescue workers
-- Mike Piazza and company
roared out of the break, winning three
consecutive games against Pittsburgh. The competition wasn't tough, but
playoff-bound teams have to beat
the league's dregs.
The fact that the Mets can even think about
the postseason is shocking.
The attacks had more of an affect than
just postponing games. Fans have been a bit hesitant to return to the stadiums.
Colorado saw its 39,000
paid attendance average take a 50 percent
hit. Pittsburgh's homestand (originally scheduled for Shea Stadium) drew
less than 10,000 fans.
Montreal saw only 2,000 fans in Olympic
Actually, Montreal can't really use the
tragedy as a reason. It hasn't been drawing flies for much of the season.
Meanwhile, taking time out to mourn didn't
turn the Boston Red Sox into a harmonious family. Disgruntled outfielder
Carl Everett was put on a
four-game suspension after arguing with
manager Joe Kerrigan, and pitcher Pedro Martinez is done for the season
because of recurrent right
The same goes for the team. It seems like
ages ago that Boston and Minnesota were first-place teams.
Root for the home team
Once in a while, you get to a point where
winning is expected. Add a dominating rookie pitcher and the Astros have
slipped into cruise mode.
They take the field and they should win.
Proud owners of the National League's best
record, Houston's Tuesday-night rally against San Francisco helped it whittle
its magic number to
14. And it was just that easy. Except
for one thing. Those blasted St. Louis Cardinals are doing the same thing
-- and with greater ease.
The Cardinals -- even with Mark McGwire
hitting below the Mendoza line -- are atop the Wild Card standings. But
they're just four games back of
the Astros in the NL Central.
And now that dominating rookie pitcher,
Roy Oswalt, is injured. And Pedro Astacio is out for the season. You'd
think seeing the Cubs blow their
one magical season so quickly would be
great news, but St. Louis is a far bigger headache than Chicago would have
This race is obviously rigged.