August 29, 2006 |
Jeff Conine has done his share of city hopping through the major leagues. Seems like a loyal guy, having put in two separate terms of service with Kansas City, Florida and Baltimore. Now to prepare for his latest move, the 40-year-old Conine figured he had some catching up to do. So shortly after a 2 1/2-hour train ride from Baltimore to New York on Sunday night, Conine turned on a computer, surfed the Phillies' roster, and searched for some old friends. What did he discover?
August 10, 1998 |
They resemble a punch-drunk fighter now, shell-shocked by the poundings they have absorbed. They move numbly, by force of habit through their daily routines, and barely make a sound. Can it be only two weeks ago that the Phillies were making noises about the wild card? Reality arrived with the brute force of a 4-by-4 upside the head, delivered courtesy of those who design the official National League schedule. It started with a visit to Veterans Stadium by the second-place Giants.
August 16, 2010 |
NEW YORK - If the postseason began today, the Phillies would, once again, be a participant. It might not sound like much, and it probably isn't, since October is still more than a month away and Major League Baseball doesn't have a habit of announcing an arbitrary end-point to its regular season. Nevertheless, after a 3-1 victory over the Mets last night at Citi Field, the Phillies at least had official control of their own destiny, a situation that had not occurred since way back on May 30. In actuality, they are nothing more than the wild-card co-leader, sharing a spot with the Giants atop the list of the National League also-rans.
October 5, 1999 |
In the dugout, New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine held up an index finger to the bullpen, indicating how many more batters he intended to give starter Al Leiter. Leiter had allowed the Cincinnati Reds just two hits, but with two runners on and two out in the ninth last night, Valentine didn't want to risk - even with a five-run lead - letting the Mets' wild-card postseason berth slip away. On the mound, facing Dmitri Young, Leiter knew the situation and he knew what he wanted.
September 25, 2003 |
The Boston Red Sox wasted no time squandering their first chance to clinch an AL playoff berth. Tony Batista hit a grand slam in a seven-run first inning, and Pat Hentgen pitched six strong innings as the visiting Baltimore Orioles beat the Red Sox, 7-3, last night. Boston, which missed the playoffs the last 3 years, clinched at least a tie for the wild card earlier in the day when Seattle lost at Anaheim. "It's exciting when it's in front of you," Boston catcher Jason Varitek said.
September 10, 2012 |
For a short time Sunday afternoon, it appeared as if the Phillies would have a real chance to get within five games of the second wild-card spot that seemed so far away even at the beginning of September. They had recovered from an early two-run deficit in the first game of a doubleheader with the Colorado Rockies and pulled out a walk-off, 3-2 victory courtesy of a bases-loaded, two-out single from the rejuvenated John Mayberry Jr. Meanwhile, as the cleaning crew got Citizens Bank Park ready for the nighttime portion of the doubleheader, the St. Louis Cardinals coughed up a late two-run lead and were forced to play extra innings against the white-hot Milwaukee Brewers.
January 8, 2006 |
Sitting at 5-6 after a particularly tough 23-17 loss to San Diego, the Washington Redskins knew their margin of error for making the playoffs was slim. One loss - just one - and they likely would be out, and have to continue to hear criticism directed at their coach, Joe Gibbs. So each ensuing game took on a playoff atmosphere, if only on the Washington sideline. St. Louis. Arizona. Dallas. The New York Giants. The Eagles. And when they completed that stretch of games, the Redskins were a perfect 5-0, and 10-6 overall, in as the NFC's final wild card.
November 8, 2000 |
Eagles coach Andy Reid has said he plans on running through this playoff race with his eyes closed. If you want to whisper innuendoes along the way, he is obliged to grin and remain coy. If his team can be a winner, Reid would rather see the finish line by looking back instead of trying to lunge for the tape too soon. "Honestly, I don't look ahead on that," he said. "You can't do it. I've been there. Can't do it. It messes you up. " The coach and his team might be trying to move ahead with blinders on following that one-game-at-a-time axiom, but all around them anticipation is building.
September 17, 2012 |
JON JAY was having a miserable time at the plate until the 12th inning, when he hit a clutch RBI double that made he and his teammates forget all the ugly at-bats that preceded it. The go-ahead hit sparked a three-run rally for the visiting St. Louis Cardinals, who earned a split of their four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 5-2 victory Sunday and regained undisputed possession of the second NL wild-card spot. "It was a long one and both teams fought hard," Jay said after the 4-hour, 25-minute marathon.
October 5, 2012 |
By sometime Friday night, either Chipper Jones will be out of baseball or the defending World Series champion Cardinals will be out of the playoffs. One and done. A pair of wild-card matchups - St. Louis at Atlanta, then Baltimore at Texas - to decide which teams advance to the next round. Part of the new, expanded postseason format, where 162 games, six months of grinding, and upward of 50,000 pitches get boiled down to nine all-or-nothing innings. Dramatic? Certainly. Fair?