Although it wasn’t quite up to the standards of last year, with the meaningful games being all about playoff seeding instead of mere survival, at least we had the Oakland A’s and their surprising AL West Title win to entertain us. Is this truly the year of Moneyball? Or is it just going to be the Yankees, Cardinals, or Rangers taking the pennant again? We discuss!
Farewell To The Regular Season Links
Omar Vizquel, Jim Thome, and others who’ve likely seen their last lineup card. [SB Nation]
The Nationals last won a pennant in 1924. Here’s what the media coverage looked like. [DC Sports Bog]
Ignoring the fact that there’s a major factual error in the first paragraph (which the first commenter sets straight), this article about the Houston Astros’ weirdest moments in the National League is pretty entertaining. [Hardball Times]
Possibly the most impressive fan catch of the year.
Possible World Series Matchup Storylines
Rangers vs. Cardinals: The It’s Just Like Last Year Only the Rangers Have A Mostly New Pitching Staff And The Cardinals Have A Mostly New Infield Series
Nats vs. A’s: The Series Where Columnists Will Do A Bunch Of Ledes With Election Year Jokes Because The A’s Mascot Is An Elephant
A’s vs. Giants : The Golden Gate Bridge Series With Hopefully No Earthquake This Time
Orioles vs. Giants: The Way Too Many Halloween Jokes Series
Yankees vs. Anyone: The Tim McCarver Says “Derek Jeter” So Many Times The Word FInally Loses All Meaning Series
Reds vs. Yankees: The Games Mistress Roots For The Stadium to Implode Series
Braves vs. Yankees: The Games Mistress’s Eighteen Year Old Self Roots For The Stadium To Implode Series
Prognostications and Ruminations on the Coming Wild Card Apocalypse
Cute Sports: Boy, do I have very little interest in this postseason. There were some good stories leading up to it, but in terms of these final matchups, there’s not really much to get me excited or elicit much response.
As always, I like it when the Yankees and Cardinals lose, but that’s pretty much the only non-apathy you’re going to get from me. The Brewers made a good run at the end and certainly kept me interested in the final weeks of the season when I’d probably have already checked out. The end of the baseball season is difficult if you don’t have a pony in the race – there are a lot of other things to watch and distract me, you start to feel a little dragged down by the length of the season and when you’re out of it, you’re already looking to next season.
I’m still not convinced the second Wild Card is a good idea – especially the one game playoff. I’d like to see these teams have a three game series and I think the abruptness and heartache that feels inevitable from these games might serve to change the layout in the future. This year was such an experiment and MLB lucked out that they didn’t need to try and squeeze tie-break games into this small, small break.
That being said, I have to pick the Braves over the Cardinals and the Orioles over the Rangers. I’ll never pick the Cardinals and I’m a sucker for the O’s story. Those fans deserve a bit of a run.
In the first round, I’m picking the Yankees over the Orioles, Oakland over Detroit (the A’s might be this season’s Team of Destiny [trademark]).
I’ll take Cincinnati over San Fran and Washington over the Braves. The Nationals also seem to be on a Destiny/Fast Track. Clearly both teams can’t be, but it does seem like the Nationals are poised for a bit of a run.
I honestly can’t even imagine myself watching any of these games. The apathy of baseball offseason has overtaken me. I’ll take the 130-some days til pitchers and catchers report over uninspiring postseason play.
So my cheer is something akin to “Anyone but the Cardinals or the Yankees!”
Lady Bee: Remember 1994 when the Montreal Expos and New York Yankees were having stellar seasons and then a strike wiped out any hope of seeing them in the World Series? I thought of that tonight as I looked at the standings and realized “OMG, the NATIONALS?!! Wouldn’t it be neat if…?” Not that they resemble les Expos at all, but you would be surprised at how many Canadian news outlets hang on to the connection.
But I am getting way ahead of myself. As I type this, Robinson Cano has taken Boston pitching back behind the proverbial woodshed and Baltimore is three outs away from playing that dreaded one game Wild Card tilt. Yes, it will make for great drama, but if I was an Orioles fan I would be shotgunning Gaviscon.
That’s not to say I am not anxious about my Yankees. Who they will face hasn’t yet been settled, but I am not comfortable with any of the possibilities. Detroit? They have Verlander. Baltimore? They’ve been the best team in the AL East since the All-Star Break (at least they were the last time someone did the math, and I’m too tired to double-check) Oakland? They unseated TEXAS for the division title. I’d love to see them face Texas and exact some revenge on 2010, but I don’t relish the idea of my team opening that series on the road (which, if I am not mistaken, is how it would roll).
But guys like Cano, Granderson and Sabathia are getting hot at the right time. They have strength from the bench from Chavez and Ibanez (my hero Tuesday night! Thank you, Maggiesox, for your slow Phillies castoffs!) Jeter and Pettitte have been dependable. Brett Gardiner is BACK. Considering the rash of injuries this team has endured – from A-Rod to Texeira to Andy to Pineda to freaking Mo, it is amazing that they’re on the brink tonight of winning the division. I still can’t see them advancing beyond the Division Series, but this season seemed improbable to me dozens of times.
On the NL side? I just hope to see the Cards make it. I have no love for any of the other NL contenders, and there’s something about a team making the postseason after losing their biggest star that tugs at the heartstrings. Also, David Freese.
Games Mistress: Remember in April, when I was all scared to death about the Cardinals season? That was with good reason: no Cardinals team has won a World Series and made a trip to the playoffs the next season since 1968. And we only made it this year because Selig has apparently never heard that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” aphorism. So I am very confused about how to feel. I would like to win tomorrow, particularly to get the last word against Chipper’s Braves (the scourge of my high school years), but the baseball purist in me is really squirmy right now. (Except if we get to beat the Reds, because Jason La Rue is the one La Russa-era grudge I am actually holding on to harder than Tony.)
I’m actually kind of excited by all the “new” teams in the playoffs this year (A’s, Orioles, Nats), and I’m going to be bummed if we wind up with Yankees-Tigers-Braves-Reds in the league championships. That said, I’m picking the Rangers and Braves to win the wild cards because I think home field will be MUCH more important in a one-off game than a series, then a Yankees-A’s ALCS and a Nats-Reds NLCS, followed by a Yankees-Nats World Series. And the Nats will win, so Teddy can be victorious in more ways than one.
Take it away, Bruce! (Uh, Sorry Albert. You have to stay home.)