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the sports section

This Is Not a Baseball Preview

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The Mets and the Cardinals at Busch Stadium last night.Photo: Getty images

We refuse, on principle, to offer a baseball season preview. We will not devolve into dewy-eyed fawns trembling in sweet-hearted wonder at the shimmering mysteries to come. ("New Season Brings a Fresh Start for Yankees," this morning's Times excitedly reports.) It's futile to make predictions about a sport in which a season lasts almost as long as human pregnancy — picking a World Series winner now is like predicting that a zygote will turn out to be eight pounds, five ounces, born via c-section at 6:32 on a drizzly November morning, with a mild overbite and his father's eyes. Trust us: You'll be wrong.

We also refuse to recite the now-requisite platitudes, like that shortstop Jose Reyes's smallest eyeblink is more exciting than Steven Seagal karate-chopping Jean-Claude Van Damme on top of a missile aimed at Chuck Norris. (Last night Reyes went 1-4 and got caught stealing; it was a total thrill ride.) Or that third-baseman David Wright cradles all the world's golden potential in his sweet boyish palms. (Also 1-4.) And we probably don't need to remind gossipmongers to keep an eye on their favorite celebrity couple, DA-rodk Jet-rod. We feel, in fact, that — despite all of the talk — New York baseball is pretty much exactly as we left it in October. The most any rational person can say in good conscience at this point is almost not worth saying: A handful of teams, despite obvious flaws, have enough talent to win the World Series — and, luckily for us, this includes both the Mets and the Yankees. Beyond that, it's all hyperbole and magical thinking. Even Mike, the Mad Dog, and the good Lord above will have to just sit down and watch the games.

So in place of a season preview, we offer this brief "off-season postview," a fond look back at the rich non-drama of the past few actionless months. (Remember: The season's opening day is also closing day for the off-season.) A-Rod outed Jeter as his former pillow-fight partner, then danced awkwardly with management over his contract. David Wright publicly wished for a new era of sleepovers for the Mets. Seduced by youth, the Yankees walked away from their long happy marriage with Bernie Williams (they've already given away his locker). One of the Mets' few reliable-ish arms turned out to be juiced — and they re-signed him anyway. And, on a drunken Florida joyride, Steinbrenner's son-in-law and heir apparent Steve Swindal proved that he might be crazy enough, after all, to take the wheel from the Boss. (Ironically, it seems to have gotten him divorced and disinherited.)

Were you hoping for something more, like a Torre firing, an A-Rod trade, the revelation of Boss-Swindal sleepovers, too? Well, next off-season is only eight months away.
Sam Anderson

Related: Mr. Clean [NYM]

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