Go west to find best baseball

Updated: September 24, 2004, 2:33 AM ET
By Ray Ratto | Special to ESPN.com

There are few things as invasively annoying as the West Coast Bias argument. Look, kids, it's the curvature of the Earth, and if you don't like it, either take it up with Galileo's grave or move to Newfoundland.

On the other hand, most of the meaningful ball remaining before the postseason is being played out here where your hat floats if you turn too hard to the left.

Dodgers at Giants in the latest running of the We Hate Them Because They Don't Notice Us Derby, and A's-Angels in the Can't Get The Car Out Of Reverse Open.

You on the other side of the fruited plain haven't gotten to fully enjoy this two-room pie fight because, well, the planet does that voodoo it do so well. For you, the Giants' recent run of glory (interrupted last night by a hideous ninth-inning failure against Houston) is a rumor, a dispatch from Albania without accompanying pictures.

For you, the Dodgers saving themselves from near-extinction by pipe-wrenching the San Diego Padres and getting a little breathing room for the weekend is just a line on the score crawl at the bottom of your set.

And the A's and Angels have seemingly lost about 35 of their last 30 games, allowing the Texas Rangers back into the race.

And all you Easties have this weekend is Cubs-Mets, and Marlins-Braves, on the off chance that the Dodgers actually catch and pass Atlanta. Oh yeah, you have Yankees-Red Sox, too.

Our deal is way better. Trust us.

For one, there is Dodgers-Giants in San Francisco, which is always drunken sailors on leave with a suicide squeeze thrown in for good measure. Without getting into the long, rich and felonious history of this rivalry, let us simply say that the verb "suck" will be conjugated with particular malice this weekend.

There is no glorious pitching matchup to go all drooly over (Perez-Rueter? Lima-Hennessey? Weaver-Tomko? Feh), but there is Barry Bonds' ongoing attempt to finish the season with more intentional walks than any pitcher allows any walks. He is currently three behind Arizona's Brandon Webb, if that enhances your viewing pleasure any.

For two, there is A's-Angels, a series in which the best starting pitcher on either side might well be Rich Harden. Oakland has lost 11 of 17 to fall back to the field, but because Anaheim has won only one series in the last two weeks (against the White Sox, who are vying for Miss Congeniality), the A's lead has slipped from four to two games.

And for three, there is Mariners-Rangers, which isn't technically on the West Coast, but since all you rubes know is Yankees-Red Sox, you won't have paid much mind to this, either.

The Rangers are 7-2 since ChairGate, and have won 10 of their last 13. They have shaved most of a 7-game deficit and left in a clump on the barbershop floor, and though the wild card is still a functional impossibility, you can be called Kathy Bates as long as you make the postseason.

And the Mariners have Ichiro, which is its own reward.

You see, while Bud Selig has been stridently overpraised for the wild-card system (I mean, who says he thought of it anyway? It was just as likely some summer intern who is now back at Chico State trying to explain why that open bottle of Old Overcoat in the passenger seat is actually a science experiment), we are sure that all the fun was not to be left to one side of the country ? especially the side that is still up when the right side is fast asleep. Wild-card fun does not work so well when you're looking at it through one bloodshot eye.

But like the playas say, it is what it is. We put up with your Cubs and Sox and Steinbrenners and Phillies longing to overachieve just once before we all die, but now it's our turn. We get the next weekend to ourselves, and then we'll let you play again. If we feel like it. So watch your tongues.

Ray Ratto is a columnist with the San Francisco Chronicle and a regular contributor to ESPN.com

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