Monday, August 18, 2014

If a Team Takes 2 Out of 3 In Tampa Bay, and No One's There to See It, Does It Still Count In the Standings?

So 28,812 fans came out to see the series finale between the Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. That's 3,000 fewer than the day before but 11,000 more than the Rays usually get at home.

There was plenty of cheering for the Yankees, and, in particular, for Derek Jeter. In other words, "Take that, Joe Maddon."

The Rays got a run in the 1st, but Hiroki Kuroda cruised after that, pitching into the 7th. The Yankees took a 3-1 lead in the 5th, thanks to RBI singles by Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury. The Rays added a run in the 7th, but Mark Teixeira put it away in the 8th with a Teix Message, his 20th home run of the season. It was also the 361st home run of his career, tying Joe DiMaggio. (Which means he also recently surpassed 2 other Yankee Legends: Yogi Berra at 358 and Johnny Mize at 359.)

Yankees 4, Rays 2. WP: Kuroda (8-8). SV: David Robertson (33). LP: Jeremy Hellickson (1-2).

The Yankees have to make one more trip to Tampa Bay this season, on September 15, 16 and 17. Most likely, the crowds will drop further by then: School will have started, and those are weeknights.

The Rays' support is lousy, and if you think the stadium and its location are the problem, they're not. The San Diego Padres had a bad team playing in a football stadium in the middle of nowhere for years, and they did better than the Rays are doing now. The Milwaukee Brewers play in an airplane hangar, not exactly close to downtown, without subway access, and they've done better.

If a team goes down to Tampa Bay and takes 2 out of 3 from the Rays, and no one's there to see it, it still counts in the standings.


There are 6 weeks left in the regular season. The Yankees are 7 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the American League Eastern Division title, so that looks very unlikely.

Then again, you never know: On September 12, 2007, the Mets led the Phillies by 7 games with 17 to go, and the Phillies won the Division, while the Mets missed the Playoffs completely.

Yes, such a thing requires not just a great run by the trailing team, but a great collapse by the leading team. But the Orioles are playing at a .574 pace -- that's 93 wins if it holds up throughout the season. That's not a great pace.

It is, however, usually enough to win the AL East. Since the start of Divisional play in 1969, the average number of wins by the 2nd place team in the AL East has been 92 -- both before and after the 3-Division setup began in 1994. So the average number of wins necessary to win the Division is 93. Not that the average Division winner has won 93, but that the average Division winner needed to top 92 wins.

The Yankees are 3 games behind the Detroit Tigers for the 2nd AL Wild Card spot. This seems much more likely at this point, if we want to get Derek Jeter one last trip to the postseason.

The Yankees have today off, and come home to begin a 6-game homestand: 3 against the Houston Astros, and 3 against the Chicago White Sox. Both teams are doing badly, so this is a good chance to get at least 4 out of 6, and boost our chances.


Days until Arsenal play again: 1, tomorrow, in the 1st leg of the Champions League play-in game, away to Besiktas in Istanbul, Turkey. On Saturday, The Arsenal opened the 2014-15 Premier League season by beating Southeast London club Crystal Palace, 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium in North London.

Days until the Red Bulls play again: 5, this Saturday night at 7:00 PM, home to the Montreal Impact.

Days until Rutgers plays football again: 10, on Thursday, August 28, at 10:00 PM (7:00 local), away to Washington State, at CenturyLink Field, home of the NFL Champion Seattle Seahawks.

Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": 13, on Sunday, August 31, at 2:30 PM, away to D.C. United.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 15, on Tuesday, September 2, at 7:00 PM, at Yankee Stadium II. A little over 2 weeks. It will be Derek Jeter's last home series against the Sox.

Days until the U.S. national soccer team plays again: 16, on Wednesday, September 3, a friendly, away to the Czech Republic in Prague. The Czechs have given the U.S. trouble before, including a 3-0 humiliation at the 2006 World Cup. But things are different now. There will also be an away game against Ireland away later in the year.

Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 17 on Thursday, September 4, home to Woodbridge. It's on a Thursday night, rather than a Friday night, because of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Days until Rutgers makes its Big Ten Conference debut: 26, on Saturday, September 13, at 8:00 PM, against old enemy Penn State. Under 4 weeks.

Days until Derek Jeter's last regular-season home game (barring injury): 38, on Thursday, September 25, against the Baltimore Orioles. A little over 5 weeks.

Days until the next North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham: 40, on Sunday, September 28, at the Emirates Stadium. It had been the day before, but was rescheduled for TV purposes.

Days until Derek Jeter's last regular-season game (barring injury): 41, on Sunday, September 28, against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Under 6 weeks.

Days until the Devils play again: 52. They open on Thursday, October 9, away to the Philadelphia Flyers. A little over 7 weeks. They once again get screwed by Commissioner Gary Bettman and his schedulemakers, this time having to play 4 road games before their home opener, on Saturday, October 18, at 7:00 PM, vs. the San Jose Sharks.

Days until the Devils play another local rival: See the previous answer. The first game against The Scum is Tuesday night, October 21, at the Prudential Center. The first game against the Islanders is Saturday night, November 29, at the Nassau Coliseum. The Devils' last trip to Uniondale, before the Isles move to Brooklyn, is Monday night, December 15.

Days until Game 7 of the 2014 World Series -- the absolute latest you can ever again see Derek Jeter in a competitive game: 72, on Wednesday, October 29. A little over 10 weeks, and no more Jeter -- not as an active player, anyway.

Days until the next East Brunswick vs. Old Bridge Thanksgiving game: 101, on Thursday morning, November 27, at 10:00 AM. A little over 3 months.

Days until New York City FC make their Major League Soccer debut: Unknown, but a new MLS season usually begins on the 2nd Saturday in March, which would be March 14, 2015. That's 208 days. Under 7 months. Whether it will be a home game, and thus at the new Yankee Stadium, is yet to be determined.

Days until Alex Rodriguez is eligible to play for the Yankees again: 226 -- presuming, that is, that 2015's Opening Day is on April 1, and wouldn't it just work out that way, that A-Rod is again allowed to play a regular-season game for the Yankees on April Fool's Day? Anyway, that's a little over 7 months.

Days until the New York Islanders' last game at the Nassau Coliseum: 236, on April 11, 2015, at 7:00 PM, against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Under 8 months.

Days until the Islanders' first home game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn: Unknown, but an NHL regular season usually begins on the 1st Friday in October, which would be October 2, 2015. That's 411 days. That's under 14 months. Or, to put it another way, "411 Sleeps Till Brooklyn." Until then, even with their 4 straight long-ago Stanley Cups, they're just a Small Club In Hempstead.

Days until Euro 2016 begins in France: 663, on Friday, June 10.

Days until the next Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 720, on Friday, August 5, 2016. Under 2 years.

Days until the next World Cup begins in Russia: 1,393, on Friday June 8, 2018. Under 4 years.

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