Things really couldn't have worked out much better going into the last game of this delightfully overachieving season (why is overachieving so often used as a deragatory term for a team or player? Wouldn't you love to see Austin Kearns overachieve next year with 30 home runs? How about a massively overachieving Brian Schneider batting .295? An off-the-wall-loony overachieving Felipe Lopez with 100 RBI? Sign me up). The mind-screwing of fans in New York and Philadelphia has been nothing short of wondrous. Who out there cannot appreciate the irony (at least I think it's irony) of Mets fans, seeing their team on the brink of monstrously historic choking, now forced to root for the team that played a large role in putting the Mets in this position to begin with? Or how about the beauty of driving those fiercly "loyal" Phillies fans to boo their team and throw those stupid towels on the field yesterday? Are they actually scared of the Nationals now? This "lowly" team that could end their postseason hopes altogether, just days after laying a 6-0 stinker that teased them with a division title?
Whatever happens, it's been a great last week: 4th place solidly in hand; 73 wins to leave the 2006 edition further in the dust; 90 losses no longer a possibility. And perhaps above all, the afforementioned serious muddling of the entire NL playoff picture. Not bad for a "bunch of losers", eh? These losers have failed to lose in large quantities to the formerly NL-East-leading Mets all season, going 9-9 against them. A win against Philadelphia would put the Nats' record against Philly for the season at 7-11. Not great, but it would be a game better than New York's flacid 6-12 effort against the same team.
Now, we harped all summer long on the NY Post's Joel Sherman (and we're sure he's real broken up about it) for his horrifically thought-out spring piece entitled Beating Up the Nationals, in which he postulated that the NL East title would be bestowed upon whichever team could rack up the most wins against the hapless Nats, even throwing in the obligatory reference to the 120-loss 1962 Mets for good measure. It's definitely one of our least favorite posts/articles of all time, hence the months of harping bitterness. However, seeing the current divisional situation, it would seem that Beating Up the Mets would be a more apt headline. After all, if the Phillies come away with the NL East, it will be because of their 12-6 domination of New York as much as anything else. Knowing this, we pledge to at last put our anger at the misguided Sherman behind us. You know, like Baltimore, after more than two decades, has been able to put their animosity towards Indianapolis and Bob Irsay....wait, never mind.