October is a special month for baseball fans. The 162-game marathon that is the regular season is over and it is time for new legends to be made and a new champion to be crowned. Now, I agree baseball may not be as popular as it once was, as the baseball enthusiasts best defense of it is that it is our “national pastime” (note the word “past”), but to call the baseball postseason unexciting would be incorrect as well. Some of the most dramatic moments in sports are produced in the bottom of the 9th with two outs.
So before you move on to the crossword puzzle on the back page (the real reason you picked this paper up) here is a little baseball postseason preview so you can sound intelligent if the subject comes up even if you haven’t watched any of the 2,430 regular season games.
The biggest surprise in this year’s postseason is the Pittsburgh Pirates returning to the playoffs for the first time in 21 years. The last time they made it, Barry Bonds was a skinny kid who actually stole more bases than he hit homeruns — my how times have changed. Brad Pitt is hoping the Oakland Athletics win the World Series so he can start filming Moneyball 2. Billy Beane, who Pitt portrayed in Moneyball, is still the GM of the A’s but ironically hasn’t won a pennant despite the movie’s success. Traditional powerhouses St. Louis, Atlanta, LA Dodgers, Boston and Detroit are the other division winners. All of these teams are talented and all of them have the championship pedigree to make a deep postseason run.
[pullquote align=”right”]Before you move on to the crossword puzzle on the back page here is a little baseball postseason preview so you can sound intelligent[/pullquote]
For my predictions, I like the Detroit Tigers winning their second AL pennant in a row over the Boston Red Sox. The Tigers boast one of the best pitching rotations in baseball led by former MVP Justin Verlander and 21-game winner Max Scherzer. While their offense did struggle in the last couple weeks of the season, Detroit still has a dangerous lineup led by sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, and I expect them to return to their midseason form.
In the National League, I see the Los Angeles Dodgers defeating the St. Louis Cardinals. The Dodgers started the year off slowly and many fans were calling for the firing of manager Don Mattingly. The team responded by going 46-10 in a record-breaking stretch between June and August to cruise to the West division title. The pitching is led by Clayton Kershaw, who has had the lowest ERA in the NL for three years in a row. They also have superstars on offense in Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig, the rookie sensation from Cuba.
For the World Series I am going to go with the Tigers over the Dodgers. Detroit will get home field advantage by virtue of the AL winning the All-Star game, and their starting rotation is just too good. Also, while I have a lot of confidence in the Dodgers’ ability to score runs, their lineup will be hurt with the loss of slugger Matt Kemp to an ankle injury.
Most of all I hope for an entertaining postseason with lots of close games. It may be hard to follow baseball all summer, but don’t be afraid to tune into a couple postseason games – you never know what can happen in October.