An ode to the MLB playoffs
“A big shout out to the Detroit Tigers for only further promoting the stereotype that baseball is anything but exciting.. 0-4 in World Series, wow.”
This quote, borrowed from an anonymous friend of mine that you will never know, is likely the most accurate statement I’ve seen regarding the outcome of the World Series. Two days later, I’m sure many of you have figured out by now that I was right and the Giants closed out a series sweep Sunday night. If you haven’t yet, then obviously this is the first sentence of this column that you’re reading.
Moving forward, this year’s edition of Major League Baseball’s second season was, frankly, one of the most bizarre that I can remember. And yes, one of the most utterly boring Fall Classics in my lifetime.
To think that, in the same year, we saw every single Division Series match-up go to a deciding fifth game, but that a Tigers team that dominated the New York Yankees couldn’t even give me something to think about (besides Election Day) for a single night longer than they had to. Disheartening.
And that’s the other word I like to use in describing the playoffs. From the end of Chipper Jones’s career to Derek Jeter going down in a fashion that even detractors like me would never wish upon a player, these playoffs were thoroughly disheartening. In Sports Guy’s opinion, at least. Giants fans, feel free to disagree.
It’s almost poetic (in no positive sense of the word) that the greatest third baseman of all time’s career would end with him stranded on third base in a playoff loss. Not just a playoff loss, but one that, along with the infield fly rule, will be immortalized for all the wrong reasons.
I don’t have the actual statistic in front of me, but I’d bet money that the Braves lost more playoff games than any other team during Chipper Jones’s storied career. Over the last twenty-one years, the Braves have missed the playoffs just five times (one of those being due to the 1994 strike) but only have one World Series crown to show for it.
Then there’s Derek Jeter. Along with Mariano Rivera (who was lost earlier in the season), the shortstop is the greatest Yankee of his era. I’ve disclosed multiple times that I’m no fan of the Yankees, but watching him go down with a broken ankle, thereby ending Mr. October II’s season in October, is a sight no real fan should want to witness.
Sure, when talking heads and fans alike look back, there will be a lot to remember. Both of the Giants’ series comebacks, preceding their domination of the Tigers, are historic and San Francisco fans now have two titles in the last three years. As someone who isn’t a Cardinals fan, I consider their blowing of a 3-1 series lead to be the scales of justice restoring balance after their one-off with the Braves.
Still though, something was missing from America’s past time once the postseason started. And I can’t quite put my finger on what it was. Maybe it was the flopping upstart teams like the Orioles and Nationals. It surely had something to do with Chipper Jones and Derek Jeter.
Or maybe I, like any other person, am just a self-pitying sports fan who’d rather complain about what was missing (because things didn’t go the way I wanted) rather than give the outcome more than an afterthought.
Now, when does Spring Training start?