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The rise and fall(?) of New York

As the 2007 season nears its end, the two New York baseball teams have headed in opposite directions lately.

The Yankees started this year 21-29, tied for last place in the AL East with Tampa Bay. After play on July 7 they were 41-43 and 9 ½ games behind in the AL Wild Card race. No problemo. Tonight the Bronx Bombers clinched their 13th consecutive playoff appearance, one shy of the record held by the Atlanta Braves, with a 12-4 rout of the Devil Rays. It doesn’t look like they’ll catch the Red Sox for the AL East title, but if they get enough pitching they’ll be dangerous in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Mets have lost 9 of 13, blowing a 5-0 lead tonight to get swept by the Washington Nationals. The Mets’ lead in the NL East was 7 games with 17 to play, but they now lead the Phillies by just one game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau no team has ever failed to finish in first place when they had at least a 7-game lead with 17 games left. Both teams have four games remaining. Dare I mention again the Curse of Dane Cook? -- Joe Guckin