Friday, April 27, 2007

Lights Go Out on Broadway for a Night [J. Mark English]

I've seen the lights go out on Broadway, I saw the Empire State laid low...I saw the ruins at my feet...I watched the might skyline fall. And life went on beyond the palisades. - Billy Joel

Not exactly a great night for the city of New York. The song that I quoted is from Billy Joel's song "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)" which he was inspired to write after President Ford told New York City that the federal government would not help pay off New York City's debt in the 1970's. Billy Joel imagined in a song what would it be like to have New York City actually drop dead.

The feelings described in his song could well resemble the results of the City's sports teams tonight.

The New York Mets take it on the chin in Washington, DC, against the Nationals. This is a team that they should never lose too, and yet they were overcome from solid Nats pitching. Chad Cordero, a closer who struggles against any other team, owns the Mets in his career. Paul LoDuca hit a bomb in the bottom of the ninth that got lost in the abyss of the vast outfield of RFK Stadium. Hopefully they can bounce back this weekend and win the next two games.

The sun seems to be setting fast on the New York Yankees empire. They are losers of six straight, and with their weekend battle against the Red Sox, they could be on the precipice of being out of the division race before May even arrives. Dice-K has been able to contain the Yankees lineup, and the Red Sox have a three run cushion in the bottom of the eighth. Andy Petitte could not even make it past five innings, giving up five runs on six hits.

Should the Sox hold on to win this game, they will go up on the Yankees by six and a half games. The Yankees were in desperate need of a solid start from Pettite. His failure to give them innings, in order to save the bullpen arms, put them in a precarious hole. If the Yanks cannot get a solid start in either one of these next two games, they will be eight and a half out by Sunday evening. Something better turn around quickly or this will be a very unfamiliar type season for Yankee fans. In years past the Yanks could always rely on strong starting pitching to carry them through tough times. Not this year though. This is a very different Yankees team, and it may only get worse.

Meanwhile, the New York Rangers played another New York team, way up in Buffalo. The Buffalo Sabres took a commanding 2-0 lead in the series against the Rangers, by winning 3-2. It a was game that the Rangers let slip away. They had leads of 1-0, and then 2-1. After each momentary lead, the Sabres came roaring back to tie, and then finally take the lead.

The Rangers as a franchise are just 1-16 in playoff series after going down 2-0 in a series. I'm sure that a raucous Madison Square Garden will be a welcomed remedy for the Blueshirts when they return home Sunday. However, its an uphill battle that is quickly getting to high, and perhaps out of reach.

Here is a quick recap from the Rangers website:

The Rangers have found themselves in some utter nail-biters throughout the past two months, but the final 1:54 of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals had to take the cake.

When Buffalo Sabres co-captain Daniel Briere was called for cross-checking with his team clinging to a 3-2 lead at 18:06, the Rangers suddenly had an opportunity to get the game to overtime.

Unfortunately, that's when Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller took over. Miller, who finished the night with 31 saves -- so many of them spectacular -- put on a goaltending clinic in the final 1:54, denying Paul Mara's blast from the right circle with a sprawling save on what proved to be the Rangers' final scoring chance.

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