So here’s the question: Are the Mets choking or are the Phillies about to take the NL East away from them?
How about both?
What about the Padres? Can they keep up their winning ways in order to fend off the Phillies in the wild-card race?
Will the Phillies ever lose again?
The short answer…
We’ll attempt to answer some of those questions, but first let’s figure out what in the hello is going on with the Philadelphia baseball team. Last night’s 7-4 victory in 14 innings over the nearly-X’d out St. Louis Cardinals pushed the Phillies to 1½ games behind the Mets in the East and kept them 1½ games behind the Padres in the wild-card race. What makes this crazy is that the Phillies have picked up five games in five days against the free-falling Mets, who, as they begin to feel their drawers bunch up, called a team meeting prior to going out and getting whacked by the Nats at RFK last night.
Needless to say, that meeting could not have been fun. Anyone who has seen the visitors’ clubhouse at RFK can report that it is a very unpleasant room. First of all, the stench of laundry, sweat and shower mold permeates through the dank and cramped hallways. Then there is the feeling that the walls are going to close in on you kind of like that trash compactor scene in Star Wars. I swear I’ve seen a big, futuristic-looking snake slither out of the shower area and into the make-shift kitchenette.
The worst part about that clubhouse at RFK, of course, is how cramped it is. A player can barely get changed into his uniform without knocking over the buffet perched precariously on a small ledge near the big-screen TV and fake-leather couch. Being in that room is almost as bad as sitting in coach of a trans-continental flight with the sudden, screaming urge to take a leak. Only you can't get up because the two clowns sitting next to you on the left are fast asleep. And because they have banned water bottles on flights, you are SOL in trying to find relief that way.
So imagine having a team meeting in such a place. How bad must it make a team feel that while in the throes of a crippling losing streak, they have to sit in such a place and talk about how awful things are going? It's like psychoanalysis with Ted Nugent. No wonder the Nationals whipped them again to extend the Mets’ freefall.
Meanwhile, in the posh new space in St. Louis at ballpark that was opened just last year, the Phillies reportedly spent the time before the 14-inning victory over the Cardinals watching Wedding Crashers.
There is no truth that after the game, Aaron Rowand proclaimed: “Cheesesteaks and baseball… THAT’S WHAT PHILADELPHIA DOES!”
But such a thing wouldn’t be extraordinary.
Anyway, according to the math wizards at Sports Club Stats, the Phillies have a 42.9 percent chance to make the playoffs this season. If I had to guess (and my guessed change with the wind) it will take 90 wins for the Phillies to get into the playoffs.
With seven of the final 11 games against the Nationals and six of that 11 at the cozy hometown bandbox, 90 could be very doable.
Gone and probably forgotten The Phillies will play the Nationals in the final baseball games at RFK Stadium this weekend, which is a pretty good thing. Clearly, as mentioned above, the old ballpark on the banks of the muddy Anacostia River has seen better days.
Next season the Nationals will play in a new ballpark near the DC Naval Yard along the banks of the Potomac River, which, friends report, will offer stunning views of the city’s skyline and will be a major upgrade from RFK.
As if a shoebox isn’t an upgrade.
Anyway, I’m sure I’ll wax on about RFK this weekend because that’s kind of what I do. Apparently the plan is to demolish the old stadium as soon as the DC United builds its new arena.
 this was a game in which the Phillies finally decided to hit the ball at 1 a.m. … come on guys, help us out. We have to stay up late and watch these games. How about an early big lead so that we can… wait, you guys already did that. OK. Never mind. Just do whatever it is you do and I'll get back to my late-night channel flipping.