All has been restored in the world!
Update [2006-8-17 18:0:4 by baseballgirl]: From today's chat:Ray (San Francisco): Okay Rob, now that I've booked Texas into the playoffs, per your instructions, lets be realistic: The A's are going to win the West. It's pretty clear, run-differentials be damned. I like stats as much as the next guy, but in this instance I don't think RD tells the whole story. Agree?
After I posted yesterday's column on the AL West breakdown, I wrote an email to Rob Neyer asking about his pick of Texas for the AL West, mostly because I just couldn't believe that he, of all the ESPN people, could get behind that pick.
Rob Neyer: (1:12 PM ET ) Of course it's true that run differentials don't tell the whole story, particularly regarding the final standings. Obviously I must have been in some sort of drug-induced haze Tuesday -- prescription drugs, I swear! -- when I said the Rangers were going to be in the playoffs. Because at this point the A's are close to being a lock in the West, and the Rangers aren't winning the Water Closet.
That being said[...]during your chat, you picked the Texas Rangers to win the West. Now, I'm obviously an A's fan, so I can't commit to a winner just yet, but it seems to me that Texas is going to finish third in the West, leaving the Angels and the A's to battle it out for the playoff spot (or leaving the Angels to fade away into the night, letting the A's have the West uncontested).
You probably looked at the A's run-differential and said what all of us do every day: How in the HECK do the A's have the record they do with THAT RD? (Pssst...the answer is 'The Seattle Mariners'.)
Believe me; not an hour goes by when someone doesn't pull up the numbers and try to reconcile the A's record. We know how it works; we know that the A's shouldn't be where they are, but the fact remains that they have a 5.5 game lead on the Angels, and a 6.5 game lead on the Rangers, with 43 to play. They have a less-than-good offense, but they have the pitching (especially bullpen), and the defense, and somehow they are winning the games, even when they're not supposed to (see: two huge game-changing homeruns for just about their only hit in the each game this week).
[...]I've seen or heard 119 A's games this year, and probably 50 or so Angels games (I live in LA), and I follow Texas and Seattle whenever possible, so I have a pretty good idea of the West this year, and I will be the first one to say that the numbers don't back this one up, but here we are anyway.
[...]I enjoy you on ESPN...keep up the good work[...]
Anyway, I corrected myself today; the A's are going to win. -rob
p.s. Thanks for the kind words; much appreciated -r
Yep, I knew I loved Rob Neyer. So there you have it.
<goes back to nervously looking at the standings>
Good grief; the A's just better win every game from her on out, because I think my fragile state does not need a down-to-the-wire playoff race this year.