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Thursday, September 20, 2007
Updated: September 21, 4:02 PM ET
You think you've got it bad? Wait till you read this

By Page 2

There's nothing like baseball to bring out the masochist in many of us. Don't believe it? Check out the following transcript of a recent Page 2 pity party:

Mets

Take it from a lifelong Mets fan: The only thing we like as much as -- and sometimes better than -- a Mets win is a Yankees loss.

Yeah, I know, everyone hates the Yankees, but nobody can hate them like Mets fans do. And that's why the Past 10 days or so are shaping up as our worst nightmare, as the Mets and Red Sox compete to see who can squander their division lead more quickly. I don't know who needs to be put on a plane to Siberia sooner, Guillermo Mota or Eric Gagne, but I do know they're both ruining my September (and, hence, my entire sorry life).

My team doing an unprecedented choke + my most hated team pulling off an unprecedented comeback = worst season ever. Nearly every day, the Mets' lead falls by another game, and so does the Yankees' deficit -- it's like watching the world collapse in slow motion. Wake me in November, because I can already see this is gonna get worse before it gets better.
-- Paul Lukas


Mariners

Are you nuts? YOUR TEAM IS STILL IN FIRST PLACE! You're still probably going to the postseason! What kind of pain is that? I would LOVE to trade places with you. Try being a Seattle fan. We just went through a week-long root canal without Novocaine followed by a two-week colonoscopy.

The Mariners were 3½ games up on the Yankees in the wild card Aug. 28, and now they're six games back. And you think you're miserable? Did you have Horacio Ramirez in your rotation? Did you have Rick White in your bullpen? And don't give me this, "Oh, no one else can feel our pain when it comes to Yankees" B.S. Trust me, New York Mets fans don't have a monopoly on hating the Yankees. WE HATE them out here, too.

DAMN YOU, David Justice!!!!!
-- Jim Caple


Braves

I have known the pain of Horacio Ramirez in the starting rotation, so let me get next. Try remembering your enthusiasm when your team made the biggest, splashiest deadline deal of the season (Mark Teixeira), realizing that addition has raked since he got to town, that your team has a better Pythagorean record than either team ahead of it in the standings, and your team still won't sniff the playoffs.

How you like that? You knew the Mariners weren't good. I know the Braves are, I think.

The Mets' tailspin should be opening the door to October for the Braves. Atlanta should be preparing to find a 14th way in 17 seasons to blow a postseason series. Instead, we're where we'll be until April -- third place. And it just doesn't make any sense. Great, now my head hurts again.

As for the Yankees, there's only one reason you know Jim Leyritz's name, and the thought makes my stomach hurt.
-- Bomani Jones


Red Sox

The Red Sox are in first place. Yeah, I know that. Get back to me this weekend when they get no-hit by Scott Kazmir.

What, because we won it all in 2004 we're supposed to be content? We shouldn't want to win it again? So, once a team wins it should play dead until everyone gets a chance to own a ring? We already have that in baseball -- it's called the NL Central.

The Sox are in first place. I heard all of you the first time. But right now I live in a world in which my team plays it old school. And by old school, I mean they show up to play 150 games a year. I live in a world in which the answer to Linda Cohn's question is, "Ass-clown rhymes with Gagne." I live in a world where apparently everyone on the roster has tickets to Disneyland because they can't wait to get to Anaheim. I hope all of your cable boxes break today and the only thing that comes in is "Fever Pitch." Now someone please inject me with whatever cocktail they put in Roger Clemens' elbow.
-- Mike Philbrick


Pirates

Seriously? You've got to be kidding me.

Oh! Woe is me! My team is in contention for the playoffs every year, yet sometimes we don't win the World Series and sometimes we don't even make the playoffs! It's terrible!

Shut up. The Pittsburgh Pirates have not had a winning season in 15 YEARS! Fifteen years. Not one winning season. Not one lousy 82-80 season. Not even 81-81. Heck, their best season since 1992 was a 79-83 record … and that came 10 YEARS AGO! So, please, kindly shut up. Fifteen years, people. Fifteen years. Every year being virtually eliminated by the end of May. Fifteen years. One more is an all-time record.

Yankees fans, you've won four World Series in that time and still had time to go on a World Series "drought." Poor, poor you.

Red Sox fans … just … just shut up. In general. You never stop complaining. Everyone else, let the Pirates know when you get to FIFTEEN consecutive losing seasons and then you can complain. By that time they'll be in the thirties.
-- DJ Gallo


Dodgers

I envy all your heightened sense of drama, your steep peaks and deep valleys. Dodger fans know nothing so dynamic. We're hovering, hanging in, dropping back, dropping a little further back, surging for a bit, and then dropping three straight games to the Rockies, which, while painful, is hardly the stuff of great theater.

We've had key injuries -- Jason Schmidt and Randy Wolf. We've aged some -- Luis Gonzalez and Nomar Garciaparra. We've had young guys contribute and plateau. We've had experienced vets start off rough and then find a groove. We've lingered, tantalizingly close to glory but never quite arriving, never quite claiming it.

I asked a friend the other day how he thought it would end, whether he thought the Dodgers would make it to the postseason. "I think they'll hang around just long enough to truly disappoint me," he said. "I think they'll make me think it's possible and then leave it lying on the floor." Not as passionate as the anguish you guys are feeling, I guess, but miserable nonetheless …
-- Eric Neel


Orioles

I'm not an Orioles fan, but I can imagine what one would say if one still existed:

My fellow baseball fans, you have not suffered like us. You see, we have this pitcher named Daniel Cabrera. Big, tall guy, can throw a baseball through a cement wall. In the past month, he's started games the Orioles lost 30-3, 15-8 and 18-6. Yes, our baseball team gives up more points than our football team.

But that's just the beginning of our misery. Every season, we go in the tank in the second half like a bunch of farm-raised salmon. This year, we're 14-31 since Aug. 1. Last year, we went 29-43 after the break. In 2005, we were 47-40 at the break, and in the playoff chase; we went 27-48 the rest of the way. And who can forget 2002, when we collapsed with a 4-24 disgrace in September?

We've had 10 straight losing seasons -- even though we've been in the top half of team payroll eight times. This offseason, we spent $41.5 million on three free agent relievers. Who spends $40 million on set-up guys? Guess which team has the 29th worst bullpen ERA in the majors? Thank you, Danys Baez, for your three saves and 6.44 ERA. Thank you for making me watch games standing next to Boog's Barbecue because that's the only way I escape the stench you have filled Camden Yards.

And finally, we have as our owner … he who should not be named.
-- David Schoenfield


Tigers

Buck up, fellas. Has your team ever lost 119 games in a season? Huh? Hello … Bueller?

The Tigers went 19 years without a postseason berth, and for all we know it could be another 19 until the next. Even the Pirates haven't gone 19 years between playoff appearances! Detroit has lost 100-plus games three times since 1996 and had 12 consecutive losing seasons prior to last year. The Brewers have lost 100 games only once in their history.

Sure, the Tabbies clawed their way to the AL pennant last season, but if it weren't for the "craftiness" of Kenny Rogers, they would've been swept by the worst World Series champ ever. After this week's sweep at Cleveland, 2006 looks like a mere tease for the 38-year postseason drought to come.

Has your favorite team ever traded six players in order to rent Juan Gonzalez for a year? Did your team ever trade Luis Gonzalez and cash for Karim Garcia?!?! Now you understand why we riot after a championship.
-- Thomas Neumann


Brewers

I'm going to refrain from hyperbole. You all know of Milwaukee's woes. Other teams may be bad, but as Thomas illustrated, the Brewers are the italicized punchline that baseball scribes use when describing those mediocre clubs.

We had accepted the truth. Then, 34 games into the 2007 season, it happened: The Best Record In Baseball. We were soaring high on wings crafted from a rotation that couldn't lose, a "game over" bullpen and a lineup that only hit homers. But the swellness was fleeting. Our wings fell apart.

Mercifully, we're playing chicken with the Cubs, challenging them to see who can lose the most games and still reach October, and so long as that's happening, we're staying out of the water. But should the Brewers succumb in the end, after their most promising season … ever? … then you will see suffering never known by fans of the other teams on this list. Then you will see true heartbreak. And then you will see hyperbole.
-- Neil Janowitz


Cubs

Forget Bartman. Forget the goat. Forget the 99-year curse.

None of those alleged maladies -- assuming there's truth to any of them -- have anything to do with why the Cubs won't win again this season. No, the 2007 edition of the Chicago Orphans is a flawed team. Start with the lack of chemistry and go from there. So even if they win their minor-league division, Lou Piniella's band of misfit toys can plan their vacations for the second weekend in October.

And I don't want to hear about the how the Cardinals -- an organization with a championship mentality -- came from nowhere to win the 2006 World Series. Or that you don't have to be a great team to win it all, you only have to get hot at the right time. If that's all it takes, then the Cubs have been on the receiving end of Mr. Snow Miser's touch for the last century.

The only thing easing the pain this fall is the sheer folly of watching Notre Dame try to reach the end zone. But I'm convinced the Irish will score a touchdown -- even win a bowl game -- before the Cubs reach (notice I didn't say "win") another World Series.

After all, that streak will officially reach a not-so-mature 62 years and counting in the next couple of weeks, and then it will be time to close down the West Addison Beer Garden for another season and focus on the second longest drought in professional sports -- compliments of the Chicago Blackhawks.

That makes the rest of the complainers in this space nothing more than futility rookies.
-- David Albright


Yankees

I've had enough. Stop your whining. None of you have had as trying a year as me.

I had to watch Carl Pavano start on Opening Day. I had to watch Kei Igawa flounder worse than Hideki Irabu (while Dice-K and Okajima starred for the Red Sox). I had to watch guys like Chase Wright, Matt DeSalvo, Tyler Clippard, Darrell Rasner and Jeff Karstens make starts -- and Kyle Farnsworth come out of the pen. The Yankees were so desperate for pitching, I had to watch them throw a prorated $28 million at a 45-year-old, as well as break the team travel rules, to get him.

I had to watch good hitters like Bobby Abreu, Robinson Cano and Johnny Damon get off to atrocious starts. Heck, I had to watch the entire team get off to an atrocious start. And the one bright spot back then, A-Rod? I've spent the entire season waiting for the other shoe to drop.

In addition, I had to watch Brian Cashman fail to make a significant deal at the trade deadline, losing out on Eric Gagne. (On second thought …)

And don't forget about the loss of The Scooter.

Fortunately, we've gotten a boost from some young prospects -- particularly Joba Chamberlain -- and standard clutch performances from the veterans you refer to as "True Yankees": Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and, of course, El Capitan. (The second-best shortstop in New York, right Mets fans? LOL.)

Above all, you people just don't understand how it feels to have the entire baseball world -- really the entire sports world -- hate you and root against your team. You don't understand how it feels when anything less than winning a World Series seems like failure.

And you probably don't understand how much fun it is to be a Yankees fan right now.
-- Kieran Darcy


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