Backdoor Cuts: Wake me up when September ends

September 30, 2010

I may just be a bitter Mets fan, but the final week of the MLB season is too mundane.

Every playoff spot in the American League is already claimed, and while the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays are still fighting for the American League East crown, there’s little to no drama. Home field advantage may matter in the postseason, but it doesn’t make the final week interesting.

The Twins clinched the American League Central about three months ago, and the Texas Rangers have had the American League West locked up since early May.

The American League MVP race—a contest that was interesting during the midseason—has turned into a war of attrition. Josh Hamilton, who was the leading candidate as the calendar turned to September, has been out for the entire month with two small fractures in his right rib cage. His other main competitor, Miguel Cabrera, played on a lost Detroit Tigers team and also has been retired for the season due to an ankle sprain.

The American League Cy Young race is just as boring. The leading candidates—Felix Hernandez, a 12-12 pitcher who doesn’t get any run support, and CC Sabathia, a 20-7 pitcher who has fewer strikeouts and a higher E.R.A. and WHIP than his main competitor—revisits the traditional “numbers” argument that takes place every year. Hernandez has had a better year. Sabathia will win the award. It happens all the time.

The National League is only a little more interesting. The Philadelphia Phillies have already locked up the National League East crown (again). The Cincinnati Reds ran away with the National League Central. And the National League West is a clash between two teams that no one on the East coast cares about; The San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants are two of the blandest teams in the league and will generate few post-season viewers.

Like in the American League, the awards races are not that interesting. Sure, The Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitski have ridden a hot September into the MVP conservation. But for what feels like the tenth straight year, the Rockies have played well in September.

Basically, at the end of September, Major League Baseball has become boring. There’s no story.

There’s only potential for a story. It would be nice to see Bobby Cox have an exciting swan song by going to the postseason for one more year. It would be nice to see the small market Padres make the playoffs and do some damage. But I’ve seen it before.

I’ve seen the farewell tours in more moving fashion (such as Cal Ripken, Jr.’s). I’ve seen better rags-to-riches stories (The Rays in 2008).

I just want to be surprised. That’s all I’m asking for. I want something mind-boggling to happen in the postseason. I want the Diamondbacks to beat the Yankees in the World Series. I want Roger Clemens to throw a bat at Mike Piazza. I want Don Larsen to throw a perfect game.

I’ve seen this all before. Please, just give me something different. Don’t disappoint me. I’m a Mets fan. I’m used to that.


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