There’s nothing better than pennant race baseball. The Yankees have already wrapped up their playoff spot and division title, and although we still don’t know who they’re going to play in the ALDS, we do know that Game One will start at 8:37pm ET on Friday night in Yankee Stadium. The last week of games has been relatively stress free, but that’s all going to change in two days.
Other teams are not so lucky though. The Yankees have been directly involved in the AL wildcard race over the last week and a half, a race that may or may not come to an end today. The Rays didn’t surge and catch the Red Sox as much as Boston blew their nine-game lead this month, and depending on today’s games, either one of those two teams will win the wildcard today or they’re going to play a Game 163 tomorrow. There is nothing more exciting than that, especially since we get to sit back and enjoy the game with no real rooting interest. Yeah, we all want the Sox to lose, but I can’t imagine many people will get all worked up over the game.
It’s not just the Sox and Rays either. In case you haven’t noticed, the Braves blew an eight-game wildcard lead over in the NL this month, and as of last night they’re tied with the Cardinals for the final playoff spot in the so-called Senior Circuit. Those two clubs are in the exact same situation as Boston and Tampa, someone could win the wildcard outright today, or they will end up playing a Game 163 tomorrow. Two Game 163’s? That would be amazing. There’s absolutely nothing better than playoff baseball, and make no mistake, these four teams are playing postseason games today.
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There’s nothing worse than the final day of the season. The 162 games seem to go by a little quicker with each passing year, and by now memories of early season games have blurred together. Tough losses have been all but forgotten, exciting wins are now little more than afterthoughts. Every team in every season has ups and downs, it’s just the nature of the game, but all those highs and lows are going on hiatus now. They’re gone until the spring.
More than anything else, I’ll miss the routine. The daily routine of work, Yankees, sleep we all seem to live during the summer. Some of you might go to school, but all of us manage to squeeze a meal or two in there somewhere. Those are the three constants though, for six months of the year those are the three things life revolves around. And all of a sudden, the routine is gone. What am I supposed to do with myself from 7pm until I go to bed each night (yay MLB.tv!) during the winter? It’s legit depressing.
We Yankees fans got to experience a whole lot of good this year. Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera made history. Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia surprised everyone. Curtis Granderson made a run at the MVP. Ivan Nova came into his own and David Robertson punched a hole in his ceiling and went even higher. Jesus Montero added some late season excitement. The playoffs are their own kind of monster, this alternate baseball world where the season seems to hinge on every pitch. The regular season is different though. It’s long and monotonous, at times even boring, but there’s a certain comfort in that. Baseball is a way of life in the Axisa household, so today is very bittersweet. Bring on the playoffs, even thought they mean the end of the routine.