Mike Mussina picked up win no. 15 last night, a 7-2 drubbing of the—ahem—second place Toronto Blue Jays (okay, it’s a tie), and that combined with losses for the Twins and Tigers clinched home field advantage for the Yanks for as long as they can survive through the playoffs. The reduced travel should come as especially good news to Randy Johnson, who had an epidural yesterday to alleviate the pain of a herniated disk. Will he return at all this year? That remains to be seen—if not, Cory Lidle will be his replacement in the rotation; Jaret Wright will move up a slot to #3. Johnson doesn’t do much to endear himself to fans or the media, but it’s hard not to be impressed by a guy who takes that kind of shot, and then shows up for work ready to throw a day later, nevermind the salary. His effort is appreciated, big time.
Also appreciated, all those Yanks and Mets who ride the subway to work, just like the rest of us. Back in the mid-80s, I remember traveling to a game on the 4 with Tommy John, who would have gone unnoticed had one of my pals not noticed him, standing politely in the back of the train. In the NYT this morning, Michael Schmidt reports on a few players for whom a subway series would be an actual reality, including Sal Fasano, Nick Green, and T.J. Beam. We especially appreciated this gem from Ron Darling, who took the 7 to Shea throughout the 80s, until a sponsorship deal landed him a set of wheels: “It was the biggest nightmare, especially $400 a month for parking.” Alternate side is a bitch, too.