Thursday, September 29, 2016

NFL Picks Week Four: The possibility of missing those special moments

Last weekend did not exactly go according to plan. The very first part of it, a 5:30 am wake up on Friday morning so I could watch Geelong play Sydney with a spot in the Grand Final on the line. What I got in lieu of slumber was an opening quarter so brutal and unpleasant that I was reminded why I try to sleep as late as possible on Yom Kippur every year. The Cats showed up and put on a display by a team of mine in a big spot so poor that the only parallels that come to mind are Tom Glavine's meltdown on the final day of the 2007 season of Super Bowl XXXV. While the rest of the weekend had its positives, a Mets sweep of Philadelphia as the Wild Card race reaches its climax, a resounding win by Southampton against West Ham on Sunday morning, losses in a winnable game by Northwestern and a should-have-been-won game by the Giants left me with a bad taste in my mouth come Monday morning.

Fortunately, the Mets came to the rescue during the week, setting up what could be a postseason berth tomorrow night. Yes, the Mets lost handily on Monday. That came in an uncomfortable position, as New York faced the Miami Marlins in their first game following the tragic death of pitcher Jose Fernandez. I will not go into detail on my thoughts on that right here -- at least not now -- other than to say the weight and pain felt by the Marlins in that first game back must have been so deep that to mention it in the context of these silly games we watch trivializes its magnitude. But putting that topic aside, after the Mets lost a game in which the baseball was clearly secondary, they rebounded to win two straight as the offense becomes more and more potent as well as supplemented by, dare I say, Jay Bruce? Those victories, as well as a poor week from the Giants and Cardinals has allowed the stars to align just such that the Mets might be able to clinch a postseason berth tomorrow night for the second-consecutive season. That's something the Mets have accomplished just once prior in franchise history, and not in 16 years.

There's just one problem. If it does happen, I won't get to see it.

I had an emotional crisis last October when the Mets held a 2-1 lead in the NLDS against the Dodgers with an opportunity to clinch on their home field and the three hours of game play happened to coincide almost exactly with a plane flight I was taking from a wedding in Montana, via Denver. It is, of course, sometimes impossible to plan these things or, at least to expect others to plan their major life events around you (though I strongly feel that fall weddings are a crime against nature). Still, I try the best I can to avoid those uncomfortable scenarios. And yet, here we are.

This time, the culprit is my lovable freshman and sophomore college roommate Sam, who is basically the nicest human being alive and would never hurt a fly unless his Eagle Scout guidebook told him to. Sam, of course, can't plan his wedding around the Mets' postseason exploits. Considering one of the things he, a native of Atlanta, loves to tell me is "Thanks for paying for Tom Glavine's retirement," I assume he doesn't care to either. That's all well and good, but it still leaves me in the peculiar pickle of likely being somewhere over the mid-Atlantic tomorrow night when the Mets miiiiight be dousing themselves with champagne in Philadelphia. Ironically, considering my flight to Savannah leaves at 9:29 pm, I suppose there's a chance I may pass over Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia as the potential celebration goes on.

Ok, I know. This is a dumb thing to complain about not only because it's quite trivial, but because it's only the mere clinching of a Wild Card berth. Were I truly unlucky I might find myself in the bind my friend Stacy experienced in 2012, when her Giants won the World Series while she was in the air between Chicago and New York. But, I mean, it kind of sucks, no? The whole reason we watch is to witness the champagne showers, even if one purely signifies that you have a chance to put your whole 162-game season on the line in one solitary outing. Missing it is, well, a bummer, you know?

I know, I know. I'll find a way to leave. But if someone's blog isn't the right place for insignificant, neurotic complaints, what is? Should the Mets end up clinching a postseason berth tomorrow, I will focus less on missing the clinching moment and more on the fact that I actually get to watch more meaningful baseball this season. That should be the point. After all, missing those special moments, nervewracking as the process may be, in the end is like everyone's grandparent says about aging.

It's not great, but it's better than the alternative.

Last week: 6-10-0
Season: 21-27-0

CINCINNATI (-7) over Miami
Indianapolis (-2.5) over JACKSONVILLE
Carolina (-3) over ATLANTA
Detroit (-3) over CHICAGO
NEW ENGLAND (-4.5) over Buffalo
Seattle (-1.5) over NY JETS
Cleveland (+7.5) over WASHINGTON
Oakland (+3.5) over BALTIMORE
HOUSTON (-5.5) over Tennessee
Denver (-3) over TAMPA BAY
ARIZONA (-7.5) over Los Angeles
New Orleans (+3.5) over SAN DIEGO
Dallas (-3) over SAN FRANCISCO
PITTSBURGH (-5.5) over Kansas City
NY Giants (+4.5) over MINNESOTA

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