There is often talk of the “must-win” game in baseball — but more often than not, the term is used figuratively and not literally.
A team gets off to a slow start to the year, and suddenly, an otherwise meaningless game against a team that routinely ends its season in the second division becomes a “must-win.” Or a team drops the first two games of a seven-game championship series, and game three suddenly becomes a “must-win.”
But the fact is, there are very few times during the course of the season when a team must win a game, or the season immediately comes to an end.
For our Brooklyn Cyclones, that game is today at MCU Park.
Yesterday, Cyclones bats exploded for five runs during Fan Appreciation Day on the Rock, topping the Yanks 5–4, eliminating the cross-Narrows rival from playoff contention and giving our boys a ray of hope that they can still sneak into the playoffs.
If you’ve been reading these game summaries during the past few weeks, you know the Cyclones have been battling for the lone Wild Card spot in the New York-Penn League with just about every other team in said league. Well, today, baseball fans, it all comes to a head.
But even in this case, “must-win,” with Tylor Megill on the hill, isn’t truly what it seems. Sure, our boys “must win” today’s game to stay alive, but in order to advance, the weirdly named Auburn Doubledays “must lose” today. That means Cyclones fans’ attention will be on two things: the game that plays out in front of them at MCU today at 4 pm, and the scoreboard out in left field that will relay the news of what is happening at Dwyer Stadium in far-off Batavia, New York, where the Muckdogs will attempt to play spoiler.
The Muckdogs aren’t anyone’s slouch, having gone 6–3 in their last nine games, a window that does not include the 10th game (because it would make them a more pedestrian 6–4). But they are taking on the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, the team that sits atop the Pickney Division, and is simply getting ready for a long playoff run.
So today, dear reader, we ask of you two things: get out to MCU Park and root-root-root for the home team.
And while you are there in that cathedral of baseball, say a prayer for the Muckdogs.
— with Vince DiMiceli