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200 Miles From the Citi


October 11, 2009 4:01 AM

SUNDAY PAPER

This happens to me every October.

I start to get real day-dreamy as I watch the playoffs, wondering what it would be like if my team was in the playoffs every year, battling it out for a chance at a world championship.

There's just so much mediocrity in my teams it's hard to wrap your head around it. The Phillies, thanks to the Mets' collapses, have won three straight division titles. In my lifetime (I'm 31) the Mets have won three division titles.

There's no such thing as "get 'em next year" in my sports life. Only once (once!) have the Mets made the post-season in back-to-back years. (1999-2000) There were plenty of 'should haves' (1987, 2007, 2008, close calls in 1998 and 2001), but that doesn't mean anything.

It sometime boggles my mind to think about teams like the Red Sox and Yankees and the decades they have had. What would I do in that situation? Would I appreciate just how awesome that is? Or would I take it for granted?

Of course, this extends to football too. The Jets have done nothing in my lifetime. Sure, there's the occasional foray deep into the playoffs, and the occasional back-to-back playoff seasons (and at least lately there have been playoff appearances - for a while during my childhood I didn't think I'd see even that)...but there still hasn't been a sniff of a Super Bowl. (Or at least, those sniffs are few and far between - 1998, 2004...that's about it.)

I'm hopelessly optimistic though. I still dream, and every season's beginning to me is a chance for my team to win it all. It only feeds this (dis)illusion when the Jets get off to 3-1 starts and look good doing it.

So as October marches on and I watch teams that aren't the Mets carry out other people's dreams, I think about what may be some day for the Mets....some day that will challenge 1986 as the highlight of my sports life.

And all the while I'll be thinking about what could be this year for the Jets...and how I'd react if it ever actually happened.

**As a sidebar, in case you're wondering, I do root for the New York Rangers, and I did root for the Rangers in 1994, but hockey just isn't the same for me as baseball and football. And my college (Boston University) is the defending national champion in hockey, but I don't see that the same way, I guess because my affiliation with them only goes back to 1996...it still feels too new. The way they won, though, was super exciting for me...so again, it only makes me think how happy I would feel if the Mets or Jets ever won another championship.

**This is one of the times during the year when living in the greater Boston area is ultra-frustrating. Because of their provincial sports view, there is no real local outlet for national radio. So come playoff time, you can't catch a baseball game on the radio (except, of course, the local Red Sox broadcast). So Wednesday and Thursday I drove home from school without being able to listen to the playoff games. Drives me nuts. Am I wrong to say this only happens in Boston? Do you get the playoffs on the radio in your area? (Update...I did get the Saturday night game on the local station. So that means people around here would rather listen to the afternoon and weeknight blather instead of a playoff game during the week.)

**Some good stuff to come out of New York and Miami this week - I guess Rex Ryan and Channing Crowder made their peace after an off-season trading barbs. Crowder is right when he says people can let their emotions get the best of them and run their mouths off, but it shouldn't happen with a coach. Ryan is right when he says everything that comes out of his mouth is just excitement because he really does believe he has a good team. The other part of it was that Crowder said he curses out everyone on the field....especially Leon Washington. I guess the players hate each other from as far back as their college days when Washington was at Florida State and Crowder was at Florida. That'll be an interesting part of the game to watch tomorrow night.

**While we're on the subject of Monday Night Football, I'll make my Jets pick. This is such an important game for the Jets, because it's a game they have no business losing. If they lose, they're nothing more than the Buffalo Bills, who played teams like the Patriots and Saints tough before getting smoked last week by Miami. If the Jets are for real, they'll beat Miami Monday night. If they lose, they're no different than Jets teams of the past that have gotten off to fast starts. Of course, I've seen only evidence that makes me believe the former over the latter, so I say Jets 31, Dolphins 10. Please let them prove me right.

**My worst week of picking games so far this season came last week. I hit on only a couple of underdogs (Cleveland and Tampa), and lost the rest. So this week, at the risk of you actually reading this and thinking I know what I'm doing, I'll just observe some of the spreads, and reason out loud why I'm picking what I'm picking. I feel like, even though the Giants have been whooping these poorer teams, 15-and-a-half is a lot of points for Oakland. Especially with Manning not 100%. Maybe like a 13-0 Giants win this week. I don't know. They'll probably prove me wrong to the tune of 70-3. I like Atlanta in San Francisco a lot, with the Falcons getting 2-and-a-half - I feel like they'll take out their aggression over losing in New England on the 49ers. And I'm going with Washington getting 3-and-a-half in Carolina, with the idea that they have looked less bad than the Panthers...though don't get me wrong - both have looked pretty bad.

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