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Choking effing dogs

As baseball heads in to its final weekend of the regular season, the New York Mets are possibly going to enter a dubious club: teams that have choked away a lead. Leading the National League East division for most of the season, the Amazin' Mets were 7 games up with 17 to go. On Thursday, the Mets got shut out at home by St. Louis and combined with the Phillies 6-4 win over Atlanta --tee hee, the Braves probably won't make the playoffs again and bore everyone to death-- the Mets lead is gone, as both the Mets and Phillies have 87-72 records. The Mets host the Florida Marlins this weekend, the Phillies host the Nationals.

The stats geeks at Baseball Prospectus have crunched the numbers, as is they tend to do, and the numbers don't lie: the Anaheim Angels of 1995 are the biggest chokin' dogs in major league history. Woo hoo, way to go Angels! I especially like this stat:

Odds of Collapse at Peak: 8,332-to-1 against

I wonder if Las Vegas was taking action on those odds? What a nightmare 1995 was for this Angels fan. They were cruising in the division against the Seattle Mariners and looked poised to make the playoffs for the first time since their disastrous collapse in the 1986 playoffs against the Boston Red Sox. They had an 11 game lead in August but two nine-game losing streaks wiped that out. What's interesting to me is that Mariners had a three game lead going in to the final week of the season but *they* choked that away, necessitating the one game playoff in Seattle. The less said about that, the better.

So, take comfort, Mets fans. If your team does indeed choke this weekend and miss out on the playoffs (they're still in the Wild Card hunt too), they'll still only be #2 on Baseball Prospectus' list, at 500-1 odds. Call the Vegas sports books, gloomy Mets fans!