GRAND SLAMS: POST-SEASON APOCALYPSE
That’s how long it’s been since the MLB season started. Way back then, we didn’t know that Melky and Fatso Bartolo Colon were getting ripped (laugh, please) on illegal substances. Back then, we had stupid ideas about what teams would be good and what teams wouldn’t. For instance, back then, the Tigers looked great and the White Sox had a lot of question marks since they’d just gotten a new manager and didn’t yet realize that Adam Dunn would be his old self and Alex Rios and Pierzynski would suddenly be better than they had ever been. Back then, we weren’t even sure there’d be a Mormon running for president, but alas, in America, things develop in unexpected and often quirky ways.
And that’s just for starters.
Even a cursory glance at the AL East and the enigmatic Orioles or the AL West and the out-of-nowhere Athletics leaves you kinda scratching your head. Explain to me again how the Athletics have the 4th best record in the AL and are set to enter the playoffs while the Angels are not?
The NL makes a little more sense to me. I wish I’d placed a bet on the Nationals making the postseason this year because odds were against it before the season started. I didn’t expect them to have the best record in the NL (tied with Cincinnati as of 8:00 pm Wednesday night), but I could see them playing good ball and I’m glad they have. But even so, I wouldn’t have called the Reds to win the NL Central and I wouldn’t have called the Phillies doing this horribly (although I wanted them to), and, if you recall, I did predict a significant decline in their performance this year verse past years.
So what does all this mean? Well, there are a lot of things that this means. This could be a seriously long article if I were to focus on the impending MVP, ROY and Cy Young races, but we’ll just focus on teams for now and perhaps I’ll weigh in on the individual player awards in a later article.
The Rangers and Yankees seem pretty set to win their respective divisions. And with experience on their side, I expect them to be the two clubs vying for the AL Pennant. The AL Central is up in the air and could go down to the wire between the Tigers and White Sox. The loser of these two probably won’t make a Wild Card slot, so it’s a make-or-break situation for both clubs.
The Wild Card, however, is gonna be crazy. As you know (hopefully), we’ll have two Wild Cards this year from each league. It’s wild and it’s crazy and no one knows whether it’ll tear a hole in the time-space continuum, but I’m betting it will. That being said, right now the Orioles and the Athletics look like they’ll win those two spots and battle in a one-game fight to the death, much like the inimitable MTV show Celebrity Deathmatch. Man, I miss that show. In a nostalgic, not-really sort of way.
The Nationals, Reds and Giants are all division winners. Although Washington hasn’t technically clinched yet, they are set for their first postseason birth and division win since their Expos forebears moved to the US of A. It’s hard to call who will wind up in the NLCS, because even the Wild Card winners are pretty solid. The Braves and Cardinals are primed to battle themselves to glory and shame in their own one-game playoff and as a southern dude, you can guess who I’ll be rooting for.
So there you have it: what the postseason looks like for the MLB. And you also got a heads-up on the possibly (likely) apocalypse that’ll happen in the wake of the new Wild Card system. You also realized I’m way smarter than you think (evidenced by the Nationals and Phillies calls) and also way dumber than you think (as evidenced by my getting blind-sided by the Orioles and Athletics, although in all fairness, I don’t know who saw that coming. What’s that? You did? And you’re way smarter than me? And you know everything about baseball and are the most witty, clever and perceptive person since Rube Goldberg? Wow, I admire you in a way that’s so intense you may be fooled by my yawn and not perceive it as admiration at all.
So let’s get amped about the playoffs and gear up for a lively MVP/ROY/Cy Young discussion and until then, rock on, my bearded (right?) readers and admirers!
– Seth Hecox / Becoming the Archetype