Is it just me, or would you like to see some variety in the Major League Baseball playoffs?
I was rather upset yesterday when the A’s and Reds went down in their respective divisional series matchups. The A’s were a Cinderella story who just couldn’t get past the “roly-poly” Tigers, (I’m talking to you Prince and Miguel). Verlander pitched an absolute gem and took the wind right out of the sales of the Athletics, ending their magical season.
The Reds, on the other hand, kind of did it to themselves. They had the game tying run on base in each of the last four innings, failing to get him in and allowing the Giants to make a comeback of historical proportions.
The only hope baseball fans have left for some variety in the World Series lies in the form of the Cartoon Birds and that team from DC. Already placed in the next round of the playoffs, are teams that we have seen in the playoffs, and the World Series, very recently. The San Francisco Giants won the World Series in 2010, and have been a contender ever since. The Tigers were in the World Series in 2006 and last season were in the ALCS, losing to the Texas Rangers. These guys have been in this position multiple times before, and this season, the situation is no different.
It would have been rather refreshing to see the Oakland Athletics, who haven’t been to the World Series since 1990, have a chance at getting back to the promised land. The thing that is difficult about the A’s is that, I think this was “their year”. They were such a “fluke” team, that returning to prominence next year may be difficult.
For the Reds, the situation was similar but not identical. They happened to play the Oakland Athletics in the 1990 World Series, and have not been back since. The Reds, however, have been contenders for the past few seasons, but have not been able to progress to the next level in the playoffs.
For now, baseball fans, I guess we’re stuck with the Giants and Tigers again, but the opportunities for variation are so close to coming to fruition.
The Orioles, while losing a heart breaker in game three, won in last night’s extra inning game and forced a game 5, a game 5 that will afford them the chance to reach the ALCS for the first time since 1997. To see the Orioles in the ALCS would be a very welcome change, especially as they are facing off with the Yankees. Seeing the Yankees in the ALCS, again, would be yet another cliche matchup on one of baseball’s biggest stages.
The Nationals would be a very welcome sight in the NLCS as they are a very new franchise in baseball and technically have not reached the playoffs since the 1930’s. The atmosphere in Washington DC would be absolutely unbelievable should the Nationals get to the NLCS. For St. Louis, the defending World Series Champions, another NLCS may not be a run of the mill, but it also would not be as exciting as a Nationals NLCS berth.
The likeliness of a Mid-Atlantic World Series (Baltimore vs. Washington) would be very miniscule, but the thought of it would be incredibly intriguing. To see the Tigers, Yankees, Giants, and Cardinals in the League Championship Series would be simply boring, clichè, and quite frankly bad for baseball.
Everybody loves the underdog, and this year that should be no different.
Follow Hayden on Twitter @H_Grove