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Is There Playoff Hope for the New York Mets?

And why I'm not paying attention...

The New York Mets beat the Cubs tonight, 2-0. They are 56-54, two games over .500 and only 7½ games behind the Braves. Normally, if this was the case, I'd start paying attention to the sports pages daily, and catching as many games as possible on the telly.

But, this season is different. While they seemingly are still alive, they are actually in last place in the National League East. All five teams have a winning record. All five are ahead of the Padres, the leaders out West. Four of the five have actually led the division at some point this season. (Only the Mets have failed to ever be in first.)

With 54 games left the Houston Astros are the wildcard leader with four National League East teams within 3 games. Eight teams are legitimate contenders for the wild card spot.

It's shaping up to be one of the best runs to the pennant in recent National League history. The American League isn't quite as deep, but whenever the Yankees and Red Sox are only three games apart in first place, there is excitement there too.

If this were any other season, I'd be devouring baseball. But, not this year.

Why? One word. Steroids.

I'm completely burnt out of stories about steroids. Congress is calling special committees. (Aren't we at war? Shouldn't they be fighting terrorism? Heck, my property taxes are too high, and education is still under funded. Shouldn't they be focusing attention elsewhere?) Every sports writer in the nation has written the word steroids or lockout more often in the past eighteen months than they have in the balance of their entire careers.

The Red Sox won the World Series. The White Sox are dominating their division, and clearly have the best team in baseball right now. The National League has more parity than ever before. We should be celebrating baseball for the first time since Mark and Sammy were chasing the record.

Instead, we can't open the sports page, log in to our sports site, and definitely can't watch ESPN without hearing steroids. We, not only, can't celebrate this year, but we are even calling into question past celebration. Was Mark juiced? Was Sammy corked? Is Johnny Damon really Jesus?

I'm sick of it. I'm turning of the television. And just clicking the standings page to get my updates sans steroids.

And please no more stories about when Barry will or won't come back.

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