Saturday, January 03, 2009

Teams haunted by 2006

Sometimes a post season loss can hang over a franchise like a bad cloud.
It can loom over players who weren’t even involved in the collapse and haunt them like a specter.

The Pirates have not recovered from Francisco Cabrera’s single in the 1992 NLCS.
Blowing a 5-0 lead late in the 2002 World Series still haunts the Giants.
The Cubs… 2003… nuff said.

In 1986, three different franchise suffered haunting defeats.
It took a World Series title to cleanse the Angels and the Red Sox from their “One Strike Away” misery.
The Astros have yet to wipe it away.

But the specter of failing in 2006 looms large over seven, count em, SEVEN franchises.

Quick! Name your favorite moment of the 2006 World Series!
How about just the playoffs?

It was a strange post season with one great game (game 7 of the NLCS between the Cardinals and the Mets) but in the end was almost totally forgettable.

As I wrote earlier
, it didn’t even seem to resonate with the 2006 World Champion Cardinals and their fans.
Those Cardinals were the worst team in the post season that year, which means each of the other seven playoff teams had in theory a better chance of winning the World Series.

And the failure to win in 2006 resonates deeply with the seven also rans.

Let’s list them.

DETROIT TIGERS – 2006 American League Champions.
Lost in World Series to Cardinals.

What the 2006 World Championship would have meant to the Tigers…

- They would have completed a startling and unlikely rise from one of the worst teams in baseball history (the 119 loss team in 2003) to the Champions of the World.

- They would have joined the Pistons and the Red Wings in making Detroit the undisputed City of Champions for the decade. (Sorry Boston fans, the Patriots play in Foxboro.)

- A dormant fan base would be awakened.

Which individuals would have benefited the most from a ring in 2006?

- Manager Jim Leyland. His Hall of Fame credentials would be undeniable.

- G.M. Dave Dombrowski. Building a winner in Florida and then pulling it off again in Detroit might have put HIM in Cooperstown.

- Magglio Ordonez. His walk off homer sealed the ALCS. World Series glory would have people putting him in the “if he was healthier he’d be the Hall of Fame” discussion.

- Todd Jones. He’s had 6 or 7 solid seasons as an All Star Closer. He never got that ultimate reliever highlight: Clinching the series and being on the bottom of a pile.

- The young pitching staff would have a championship aura about them. Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, Joel Zumaya, Nate Robertson, Zach Miner and Fernando Rodney would be the best group of young pitchers with rings early in their careers since the 1986 Mets.

- Ivan Rodriguez. Pudge is probably already Cooperstown bound, but leading both the Marlins and the Tigers to the promised land would remove the “probably.”

What was the haunting image?

- The pitchers making error after error leading to runs in each of the Tigers losses.

- Verlander’s error in game 1 opened up a three run rally.

- Three of the Cardinals five runs scored on either throwing errors by the pitcher or a wild pitch as St. Louis won game three 5-0.

- The Cardinals start a two run rally from a Fernando Rodney throwing error and win game four by 1 run.

- Verlander botches a grounder by Jeff Weaver leading to the 2 runs that would ultimately win the World Series.

What has happened since?

The Tigers looked to rebound as a solid young team in 2007 and were in first place in mid August. But a poor second half kept them out of the playoffs.

In 2008, they went all in, trading away top prospects to Florida and Atlanta to bring in Miguel Cabrera, Donrelle Willis and Edgar Renteria, sending their payroll skyrocketing to nearly $140 million, second only to the Yankees. They were a World Series pick for a lot of people, but instead they were a 77-88 disaster. They started 2-10, the line up never clicked, the pitching staff flopped and by the trading deadline, they were sellers.

They go into 2009 with a mix of overpriced veterans and overhyped youngsters and it looked like their best chance at a title could have been thrown away by the pitching staff in October 2006.

NEW YORK METS – 2006 National League East Champions.
Lost to Cardinals in NLCS

What the 2006 World Championship would have meant to the Mets…

- The Mets could have captured the city’s attention away from the Yankees for the first time since the 1980s.

- The new SNY network for the Mets would have had the same World Championship launch that the YES network had for the Yankees.

- Met fans would have something to crow about.

- George Steinbrenner would have been really angry, which is always fun.

Which individuals would have benefited the most from a ring in 2006?

- Willie Randolph would be the king of the city. He grew up in New York and was a World Champion as a player and a coach for the Yankees, but as a World Series winning manager he would have been the Torre of the 2000s and become a New York sports icon.

- Like Randolph, Omar Minaya would be the latest of the superstar GMs. His gutsy moves of bringing in high prices stars would have changed the culture in Queens.

- David Wright would have been the Mets answer to Derek Jeter: A home grown infielder who led the team with clutch hits on the field and class off of it. He would be loved in New York for all time no matter what he did the rest of his career.

- Jose Reyes would be looked upon as a great champion. His showboating would be looked on as Reggie Jackson like showmanship.

- Speaking of Reggie, Carlos Beltran would be revered as a terrific pick up. His quiet manner would have been looked upon as a Bernie Williams like dignity.

- Carlos Delgado would have had a ring to go with his long and classy career. Maybe it would be enough for a Cooperstown resume.

- El Duque Hernandez would have his 5th ring with his 3rd different franchise and be looked upon as one of the great champions of the last 25 years.

- Tom Glavine would have a spectacular exclamation point for his career.

- Pedro Martinez, injured in the post season, would have been hailed as the player who helped turn the Mets around and there would be no doubt to his Hall of Fame candidacy.

- Billy Wagner might have an interesting case for the Hall of Fame.

- 47 year old Julio Franco at long last would have his World Series ring.

What was the haunting image?

- Bases loaded… tying run at second… the run that would win the pennant at first… rookie Adam Wainwright facing All Star Carlos Beltran… and he gets a called third strike to clinch the pennant for the Cardinals.

What has happened since?

My God, what HASN’T happened since?

The Mets had a 7 game lead with 17 games to go in 2007 and looked like the team to beat. They lost 12 of their last 15 games to complete one of the most mind boggling collapses in baseball history.

The collapse included a three game sweep by the eventual division champion Phillies and losing 6 of their last 7 games… all at home and all against the lowly Nationals, Cardinals and Marlins.

Retooled with Johan Santana, the 2008 Mets said goodbye to Shea Stadium with another September collapse and was once again eliminated on the last day.

Willie Randolph went from potential King of the City to fired at mid season for Jerry Manuel.

Omar Minaya went from genius architect to being in the firing line.

Jose Reyes’ hustle and desire has been put into question. Tom Glavine and Pedro Martinez’s time in Queens ended with a whimper on the disabled list.

David Wright is still loved in Queens but doesn’t have that championship aura yet.

Safe to say Met don’t have much of a swagger going into the new CitiField. More like a Thousand Yard as Met fans retreat to their cabin to write their manifestos.

OAKLAND A’S – American League West Champion. Lost to Tigers in ALCS.

What the 2006 World Championship would have meant to the A’s…

- The A’s franchise had great teams in the 1910s, the 20 and 30s, the 70s and the 80s and 90s. Each one of those teams won at least one World Series title. The A’s of the 2000s would join them with a title in 2006.

- The A’s would have 5 World Series titles in Oakland to the Giants 0.

- A’s fans would have yet another decade to crow about.

- The A’s would have the most fun celebration since winning the 1974 World Series. Remember the 1989 A’s won the World Series in the wake of the earthquake.

Which individuals would have benefited the most from a ring in 2006?

- Billy Beane! Moneyball trumpeted his genius, but the biggest knock against him is his teams never win the big one. Holding the World Series trophy would be the greatest vindication of his philosophy and silence his critics forever.

- Ken Macha. The baseball lifer would have his career defining moment.

- Frank Thomas. He got his ring with the White Sox the year before, but he was hurt and didn’t play in the post season. In 2006, he’d earn his ring on the field.

- Major League vagabond Milton Bradley would have a ring and a response to anyone who calls him a clubhouse cancer.

- Barry Zito, the last remaining pitcher of the A’s big three, would leave Oakland a champion and with no unfinished business.

- Young stud pitchers like Danny Haren, Rich Harden, Joe Blanton and Huston Street would all have a champion aura about them.

- Longtime A’s third baseman Eric Chavez would look smart for not bolting via free agency.

- Veterans like Jason Kendall, Mark Kotsay, Jay Payton, Marco Scutaro, Adam Melhuse and Esteban Loaiza would all get their first rings.

- Mark Kiger would be the anti-Ernie Banks. He would get a World Series ring despite not playing a single regular seaso game.

What was the haunting image?

There were two really…

1. Barry Zito, fresh off of winning a duel with Johan Santana in the Division Series, looked like he was cruising in his game 1 start. Then, with 2 outs and nobody on in the 3rd, he let up 2 runs. Then he let up three more in the 4th and the A’s never recovered.

And of course

2. Huston Street serves up a walk off, series ending home run in the 9th inning of game 4 to Magglio Ordonez.

What has happened since?

- Ken Macha left the team after the playoffs.

- The A’s didn’t contend in either 2007 nor 2008.

- Barry Zito crossed the Bay for a record setting contract with the Giants which at this writing looks like one of the biggest free agent disasters of all time.

- Harden, Blanton, Haren, Gaudin and Street were all traded off.

- Bradley split and became an All Star with Texas. He is without a team as of this writing… and without a ring.

- Frank Thomas went to Toronto and came back to Oakland but his swing is now gone.

- Veterans Jason Kendall, Mark Kotsay, Jay Payton, Marco Scutaro, Adam Melhuse and Esteban Loaiza all played for different teams in 2008… and are all still ringless.

- Mark Kiger has yet to play in a regular season game (although he did play in 2 ALCS games.)

- Billy Beane still is without a pennant, let alone a World Series title. And still hears that criticism… he’s never built a champion. He will start again from scratch.

- The A’s of the 2000’s have one more year (and a nearly completely revamped team) to win their title and be mentioned with the other great A’s title teams.

SAN DIEGO PADRES – National League West Champions.
Lost to Cardinals in the Division Series.

What the 2006 World Championship would have meant to the Padres…

- A World Series title for the Padres. That has never happened in the history of the team. In fact the only way a Padres fan could ever see their team win the World Series would be to pop The Kid from Left Field into their VCR.

- The city of San Diego would have their first ever major professional title.

- The decision to build Petco Park for the Padres would have paid off at least for one October.

Which individuals would have benefited the most from a ring in 2006?

- Bruce Bochy, with a World Series title, another pennant and two more division titles for the small revenue Padres, would be mentioned as a potential Hall of Fame manager.

- Trevor Hoffman would have the image to answer all of his critics: The clinching of a World Series. A title in San Diego plus his record number of saves would put him in Cooperstown.

- Mike Piazza would have the final piece to his Cooperstown resume: The World Series ring that eluded him in Los Angeles and New York (and Miami for 5 games!)

- Rising stars Jake Peavy and Andrian Gonzalez would get their quest for a World Series title out of the way early.

- Previous champs David Wells, Geoff Blum, Dave Roberts, Alan Embree and Ryan Klesko would add another notch to their belts.

- Veterans Mike Cameron, Russell Branyan, Todd Walker, Rudy Seanez and Woody Williams would all win their long waited for rings.

- Korean hero Chan Ho Park would be a champion for the first time.

What was the haunting image?

The Padres, heavily favored against the banged up Cardinals, could not score a run.

They scored a grand total of 6 runs in the 4 games. Jeff Weaver, cut loose in mid season, and four seemingly pedestrian relievers, dominated them in game 2, wasting a solid effort from David Wells and 3 Padres relievers.

What has happened since?

Bochy left San Diego for San Francisco after the Division Series ended, giving the helm to Bud Black.

The Padres looked like they had homefield in the Division Series locked up at mid season and were one game out from home field throughout the National League playoffs with 4 games to go. But Trevor Hoffman blew a save against the Brewers that would have clinched a playoff spot and then let up 3 runs in the bottom of the 13th inning in a one game playoff against the Rockies to end any playoff hopes.

Trevor Hoffman’s legacy remains a giant pile of regular season saves and many blown games in the spotlight.

Mike Piazza retired without a ring.

Cameron, Branyan, Walker, Seanez and Williams all remain ringless.

A nasty divorce involving Padres owner John Moores set off a chain of trades that meant the dismantling of the Padres. Former Cy Young winner Jake Peavy will no doubt be gone by opening day.

The Padres after 2 Division Titles and a one game playoff elimination in their previous 3 seasons fell to the basement and lost 99 games… 21 behind the champion Dodgers.

San Diego fans need to turn to the Chargers to find that first major title.
Good luck with that.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS – National League Wild Card.
Lost to Mets in Division Series.

What the 2006 World Championship would have meant to the Dodgers…

- It would have been the team’s first title since 1988… hell it would have been their first playoff series win of any kind since 1988, despite some big stars coming and going through Los Angeles.

- With the Lakers slumping, no pro football team, nobody caring about hockey, the Clippers being the Clippers and the Angels not playing in Los Angeles (despite what their team name said) a World Series title would have meant the Dodgers dominance of the L.A. sports scene.

Which individuals would have benefited the most from a ring in 2006?

- Ned Colletti, in his first year as GM would untangle the mess that Kevin Malone and Paul DePodesta created. A World Series title would throw him right to the front of the line of super star GMs.

- Frank McCourt, the Dodgers owner, would have delivered what eluded the Fox management… a title. It also would remove a lot of the sting of his failed bid to buy his beloved Red Sox.

- Grady Little would no longer be “the guy who left Pedro in too long.” Instead his laid back country personality would have been exactly the tonic that the L.A. sports scene needed.

- Nomar Garciaparra, who missed the Red Sox championship party by just a few months, would have a ring of his own.

- Jeff Kent, steadily putting together a Cooperstown resume, would have the ring that eluded him in 2002.

- A slew of young talented players would become young champions, including Jonathan Broxton, Chad Billingsley, Russell Martin, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp.

- Kenny Lofton, who was part of playoff teams with the Indians, Braves, Giants, Cubs and Yankees, would finally get a World Series ring.

What was the haunting image?

The Dodgers best and only hope to upset the Mets would be to take game 1 in Queens. They played hard… perhaps too hard as the unforgettable image of Jeff Kent AND J. D. Drew being thrown out at home ON THE SAME PLAY showed.

The Dodgers played hard and briefly tied the game in the 7th but Carlos Delgado and David Wright got the lead right back and the Mets never looked back.

What has happened since?

- The Dodgers collapsed down the stretch in 2007 despite playing ina very winnable National League West.

- People whispered that Grady Little could not control the clubhouse which split into rival young and old factions. Little’s reputation as a manager actually dropped… if that is possible. He (ahem) retired after the 2007 season when Joe Torre became available.

- Kenny Lofton returned to the Indians where he was involved in yet another collapse when the Red Sox came back from a 3-1 Cleveland lead to win the pennant and World Series. Lofton did not play in 2008 and looks to end his career ringless.

- McCourt and Colletti brought in Joe Torre to bring the Dodgers back to the promised land. Torre struggled until the arrival of Manny Ramirez and the collapse of the Diamondbacks. Torre got them to the NLCS but they lost in 5 games to the Phillies.

- Garciaparra, Kent and the young stars are all looking for that first ring.

- Fans in LA were excited those few weeks in October, but the Lakers are the main sports passion in Southern California.

MINNESOTA TWINS - American League Central Champions.
Lost to A's in Division Series.

What the 2006 World Championship would have meant to the Twins…

- A World Series title would have been the ultimate F--- You to Bud Selig, who wanted to contract the Twins after the 2001 World Series.

- A World Championship would have been a terrific culmination for a team that won their division 4 times in the 5 seasons after contraction loomed over their heads.

- The Twins would have been the only team to win a World Series title in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Take THAT people who say low revenue teams can’t compete!

Which individuals would have benefited the most from a ring in 2006?

- Carl Pohlad, who kept the Twins from moving in the 1980s and helped build two World Series winners, would no longer be the miser who wanted to destroy the Twins and keep the money. He’d be second only to Steinbrenner among current owners with titles.

- Terry Ryan, the GM, would have a Championship of his own and get out from Andy McPhail’s shadow.

- Ron Gardenhire would have a World Series title and 3 other division titles in his young managing career. Could that be the early foundation for a Hall of Fame candidacy?

- Johan Santana would add a ring to his two Cy Youngs. Essentially the hard part would be over for his Cooperstown bid. He’d just have to stay healthy.

- Joe Nathan would also have the hard part over with. He would just need to compile some solid career numbers to go with his All Star seasons and championship run and he’d have a Hall of Fame resume.

- Long time Twin veterans Torii Hunter and Brad Radke would have a terrific conclusion to their tenure in the Metrodome.

- The Twins galaxy of young stars would all get their World Series rings. Sure, Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Jason Bartlett and Francisco Liriano would all probably leave the Twins for more money… but they’d have delivered in Minnesota.

- Phil Nevin, a late season pick up, would have a ring to go along with a few nice seasons for the former #1 overall pick.

What are the haunting images?

Frank Thomas homered off of Johan Santana in the opener and Barry Zito out dueled the Cy Young winner in the stunning game 1 loss.

The next day, right after the Twins tied the game in the 6th with back to back homers, Torii Hunter misplayed Mark Kotsay’s low liner into a game winning inside the park home run.

The sweep would be complete when the A’s would beat the Twins in game 3.

What has happened since?

The 2007 Twins couldn’t get out of their own way as they finished with a losing record, the first one under Gardenhire.

The Twins lost Hunter to free agency, Nevin didn’t sign on with a new club and Radke retired.

Santana was dealt off to the Mets leaving the Twins a shell of their former self.

But the Twins put together strong 2008 on the backs of their young stars and after sweeping the White Sox in the last week of the season, all they needed was to win 2 of 3 from the lowly Royals to get back in the playoffs.

Naturally they lost 2 of 3 and had to play a one game playoff with the White Sox. Nick Blackburn pitched terrific game, but the Twins lost the game 1-0 and the division.

They have just one more year to be the only team to win the World Series in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. They never had a better chance than in 2006!

NEW YORK YANKEES – American League East Champions.
Lost to Tigers in Division Series

What the 2006 World Championship would have meant to the Yankees…

- It would mean their fans could scream about 27 titles rather than 26.

- It would mean the sting of the 2001 World Series would be salved.

- It would mean the humiliation of the 2004 playoff collapse would be swept away.

- It would mean Met fans and Red Sox fans would have no ammo.

Which individuals would have benefited the most from a ring in 2006?

- Brian Cashman, who seemed to be fighting for his job every year. The 2006 World Series title would be completely his… no deferring credit to Stick Michael or Bob Watson.

- Joe Torre. Believe it or not he had been on the hot seat for a few years. His managing decisions were questioned in the 2003 World Series and justifiably in the 2004 playoffs. Yes he won 4 World Series titles (as many as Leo Durocher, Earl Weaver and Tommy Lasorda combined) but he now had an All Star team at his disposal and winning the World Series had become a foregone conclusion.

- Alex Rodriguez. In case you missed it, A-Rod can win every MVP for the next 10 years and it won’t mean squat to Yankee fans unless he wins a ring. The 2006 World Championship would quiet the critics forever.

- Jason Giambi. Disgraced in the steroid scandal and unable to play in 2004, the Giambi signing was looking like a disappointment and was the moment that many people felt meant the downfall of the Yankees. A World Series ring would win over a lot of fans.

- Johnny Damon. He came over to the Yankees, alienating himself from the Red Sox fans who worshipped him. Winning the 2006 World Series would mean winning over the Yankee fans forever and preserving his legacy.

- Hideki Matsui. Japan’s biggest star fit in perfectly in Jeter’s clubhouse and you can’t blame the failure of 2004 on him! He seems to have been a Yankee for so long that it is easy to forget he has no World Series ring.

- Mike Mussina. Yup, he’s ringless too. A World Series title in 2006 would be the crowning achievement for his borderline Hall of Fame career.

- The Young Yankees. Chien Ming Wang, Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano all represent a new generation of Yankee stars. Winning their rings early would get that monkey off of their backs.

- Bobby Abreu. Acquired at the deadline, contributing to a World Series title would go a long way in showing he is a real champion and not just a rental player.

- Randy Johnson. Already a Hall of Famer and a World Series hero, his tenure in New York was shaky at best with an uneven performance and confrontations with the media. Winning the World Series in the Bronx would cure that.

- Mariano Rivera. Sure he has nothing to prove, but I am sure he would like to clinch a World Series again. Since clinching the 2001 AL Pennant, he has been on the mound to finish out a series 3 more times… and failed twice.

- Jaret Wright, Cory Lidle and Kyle Farnsworth. Three veteran pitchers with subpar seasons would have redeemed themselves in New Yorkers eyes with October glory.

- Bernie Williams and Gary Sheffield. Both All Stars and both previous champions but both aware that their time is ticking down. Another ring for both of them would be satisfying.

What was the haunting image?

Curtis Granderson, who seemed to beat the Yankees with every weapon imaginable as he homered, tripled, stole a base, hit key sac flies and couldn’t be stopped.

And the Yankees bats went completely dead after their game 2 loss. They let former Yankee goat Kenny Rogers dominate them in a 6-0 game 3 humilation and the clinching 8-3 Tigers win was never that close. (Posada’s 2 run homer with 2 outs in the 9th made it closer than it seemed.)

Alex Rodriguez was held to a single hit and zero runs batted in, extending his RBI-less streak in the post season to 12.

What has happened since?

- Randy Johnson demanded a trade out of New York and the Yankees didn’t bring Wright, Williams nor Sheffield back.

- Cory Lidle died flying his own plane around Manhattan.

- The Yankees preached fiscal responsibility but could never resist the big contract, bringing Roger Clemens back in mid season for a huge fee.

- The Yankees string of division titles ended in 2006 as they had to settle for the Wild Card and another early exit in 2007.

- Alex Rodriguez snaps his RBI-less streak in the post season after 15 games. But despite his MVP season, many New Yorkers were hoping he’d skip town when he opted out of his contract. Instead he reupped with the Yankees with the biggest contract in baseball history. He still gets booed at the stadium.

- The Red Sox of all teams won another World Series... not that that matters to the Yankees and their fans.

- Joe Torre was offered a paycut after the 2007 season and decided to leave for Los Angeles instead.

- Despite once again having the highest payroll, new manager Joe Girardi could not lead the Yankees to the playoffs as they settled for third place and being a non contender when they closed Yankee Stadium.

- Mike Mussina retired and Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu are non tendered, effectively ending their Yankee careers with a whimper.

- Injuries prevent Johnny Damon from playing centerfield and rumors swirl about him being trade bait.

- The young Yankees flop. Wang pitches horribly in the 2007 playoffs and misses the second half of the 2008 season with a freak injury. Cabrera is sent to the minors, Cano has a disappointing season and the decision to go with young pitchers is a disaster. Indecision around Joba Chamberlain’s role lands him on the DL and neither Phillip Hughes nor Ian Kennedy win a single game in 2008.

- The Yankees move into the new stadium going on a wild spending spree bringing in CC Sabathia, A. J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira. Everyone belly aches about how they will pick up easy rings. Tell that to A-Rod, Giambi, Mussina, Matsui, Damon, Sheffield, Unit, Abreu, Pavano and Wright.

So there you have seven franchises that must look at 2006 as the year that got away.

Now before people start writing in saying “Why is 2006 any different than any other year?” let me just say how unique it was to have seven “Also Rans” who could have used the shot in the arm (a metaphor, not a BALCO reference) of a Championship.

And it was unique that all seven teams had a better record than the team that won it all.

And that, two post seasons later, all seven of the teams are still reeling a little from it.

Who knows if the Tigers, with a World Series swagger, would have rattled off a few division titles?

Maybe the Mets don't collapse down the stretch in 2007 and 2008 and really capture the city's heart. Maybe Willie Randolph would still be manager!

Maybe the A's, freed from the yoke of never advancing, keep on winning with bargain basement talent.

Maybe the Padres don't collapse down the stretch in 2007 and the city of San Diego would get a string of champions.

Maybe the Twins revel in the third decade of a World Series winner and Johan Santana decides to stick around.

Maybe Alex Rodriguez, now loved by the Yankee fans, can relax and make his quest to break every record available a joy to watch as he would be considered the greatest Yankee of them all! And Joe Torre gets to leave on his own terms.


If only 2006 had ended differently for those teams.


  1. The Yankees will not win a World Series until A-Rod's out of the Bronx. Just call it a hunch.

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  3. Then thank Goodness he has 9 more years in pinstripes!!!!

  4. Also I dubbed these latest moves by Hanky Boy as being panic moves. Burnett (who's only performed in his contract years), sabathia (who will probably eat himself out of his contract) and teixiera (the only somewhat silver lining I can see, but...) are not winners. Individually, sure, but together they have never been on a team. This team can't gel as it is, let alone with a bunch of mercenaries w ho are getting paid out the wazoo.

    I am a Mets fan, and I think your assessment on them is pretty spot on. I remember reading somewhere that by not winning Game 7, they have essentially been a game behind since and have been since making up for it. Lose the division by one game on the last day of the season in '07 - lose the wild card on the last day of the season this year. What gives? Of course, if you stop by my site, my theory is they are a bunch of poochies who can't handle pressure.

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