2014 MLB Playoffs

danfrank
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Re: 2014 MLB Playoffs

Postby danfrank » Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:34 pm

I just finished watching my Giants win a blowout against the Pirates, so am pretty happy. Not ecstatic only because I like the Pirates, who I would have rooted for straight through to the end otherwise. This do-or-die single Wild Card game is unfortunate; you don't prove anything in one game. I'll take it, though! The Giants now seem charmed in even-numbered years, though I wouldn't bet money on them this year: too many injuries, starting staff not dominant enough. I may have to hold my nose and root for the Dodgers in the NLDS just for the chance to beat them. I predict the Cardinals will beat them, though.

I don't watch American League ball much, but am rooting for the Royals. I have a small sample size of watching them this year: one series against the Giants and last night's crazy-fun game against the A's (whose fans will now never forgive the trade of Cespedes). They're the kind of team I like: scrappy, fast, do the small things to win ball games. Detroit is unpredictable, as Tee indicated. I predict (and hope) they'll lose to Baltimore. It's hard to bet against the Angels, but I won't count the Royals out.

As for Jeter, I'm glad I missed the NY media coverage, which must have been over-the-top. He's our modern day Midas, and it's almost impossible for anyone to hold it against him: an amazing career, incredible poise, class, everybody's idea of a role model. When I heard about the walk-off in his last at bat at Yankee Stadium, my only thought was, "of course." I wish him a happy reitirement.

Mister Tee
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2014 MLB Playoffs

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Oct 01, 2014 3:08 pm

We’re late in starting this year’s post-season thread – again possibly because only FilmFan and (if he’s still around) danfrank still have horses to root on.

Before I address the remaining 9 teams, let me add a few words to the already voluminous Jeter retirement coverage. Even for a Yankee fan, the last few weeks have seemed excessive: you’d have thought a president or Pope was dying. Kudos, though, to the man in question, for taking charge of the situation at the very end, writing his own crisp, un-banal finale. That last moment at the Stadium was so over-the-top improbable and apt that I found myself laughing as much as cheering. It wasn’t an atypically huge gesture -- no grand-slam or game-robbing fielding play; simply an efficient, opposite field single, of the very sort that must comprise nearly half his 3400+ hits. It won the game and ended his stadium career in one quick, delirious moment – and in the bargain reminded us just what baseball life has been like for the nearly 20 years he’s been in attendance. That era is clearly gone now – I’d be surprised if the team wasn’t absent from the playoffs for at least a few years – but this one event encapsulated that entire stretch, and brought a momentary post-season flourish to an otherwise lost season. Bravo, Derek.

Now, to the teams still on the field.

I’m sorry to have delayed this entry to the point we’ve already said goodbye to Oakland. You don’t hardly see collapses on this scale – my recollection is the team led the Angels by about five games at some point in August, yet managed to trail them by 10 at the end. And of course they lost last night despite a big 8th inning lead and taking another lead in the 12th. What Billy Beane said in Moneyball -- "my shit doesn’t work in the playoffs” – remains the case.

While I was sad for Oakland, I would have been equally sad to see KC go down so quickly, given how close they came to actually winning their division. It’s not quite natural for a Yankee fan to feel kindly toward the Royals, after the intense rivalry of ’76 through ’80, but almost a 30-year absence from the playoffs wipes the slate clean, and I was happy for their win last night.

Of the other AL teams, the Angels and Orioles seem the strongest – I’m looking forward to seeing Trout flash his wares deep into the post-season. Detroit remains a conundrum – yes, they managed to win the division in the end, but only by 1 game over the Royals, and a mere 6 over the seemingly far-inferior Yankees. How can a team with close to an all-Cy Young pitching staff, plus one of the best hitters of the era, underachieve so consistently? Of course, there’s always the possibility that this’ll be the year they finally put it together and go all the way – the ’90 Reds and ’06 Cardinals are other teams that had seemed stronger in earlier years but finally won just when most of us had given up on them. But I confess it’s hard to root for them this year: they’ve had too many recent chances on which they’ve failed to capitalize, and, though they don’t have a championship, they’ve begun to bore me as much as the Cardinals do.

Which brings us to the NL. For today’s Wild Card game, I have something of the same “I kind of like both teams” feeling as I did on the AL side – I’d rather either participant make it than see St. Louis advance through October again. Push to shove, I guess I’d weigh the Giants’ two recent victories against Pittsburgh’s quarter-century drought, and root the Pirates on.

Washington experienced such a cruel defeat its last time in the playoffs that I have to be favorably disposed toward them this time. Though the old Yankee fan in me can’t exactly root against Don Mattingly getting to the Series – not only did he never make it as a player, even his coaching years stalled out short of the final match-up. He’s got two petty great pitchers to give him a hell of a shot. But, of course, the Cardinals will be formidable foes as usual.

How do the rest of you see it?


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