Maybe Commissioner Bud Selig should hold off on those plans on expanding the field of the MLB playoffs to ten teams. Do the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox really deserve a second chance???
And then there is a certain Braves broadcaster who on-air proclaimed that the Brewers and Cardinals were getting a break beating up on the bottom-feeders of the NL Central.
After the Brewers/Cards played 18 games against each other??
And the Brewers were scheduled against the Yankees, Rays, AND Red Sox in interleague?? (went 2-7 against that trio).
I’ll give you the Phillies being a tough task, but are the Mets, Marlins, or Nats anything resembling world-beaters??
All I know is if I ever run for political office, I want Jim Powell as my campaign manager, he’s a master of spinning anything he sees fit.
And then there was the AL, culminating with Evan Longoria’s walk-off in Game 162, a modern day version of Bobby Thomson. Iit wasn’t a tape measure bomb, but hit to exactly the right part of the park, just over the 315 foot sign. Meanwhile, the Orioles were acting like they just qualified for the playoffs, although they had done the next best thing: sending Jonathan Papelbon off a loser – with manager Terry Francona apparently being the first of many heads to roll in the aftermath.
At the close of business on Labor Day, September 5, the St. Louis Cardinals were 8 1/2 games out of a wild card spot while the Tampa Bay Rays were seven games behind the Red Sox. That night on MLB Network, Mitch Williams pleaded to ‘not sleep on those Rays’. I thought he was just trying to build up drama that just wasn’t going to happen this September.
Two nights later, the Cardinals did what they needed to do to remain alive in the playoff hunt, beating the Milwaukee Brewers for the fifth time in six games, but it still appeared to be too little too late – Nyjer Morgan tweeted after the game that became testy at the end that the Cardinals would be watching the Brewers in the playoffs on TV.
I guess Tony LaRussa didn’t get that memo.
Like him or not, TLR rallied his troops into the postseason with the help of the free-falling Atlanta Braves.
So what happens now in the post-season?? What would we want to see in the post-season? The eight-team field offers something for everyone, with the first, second, 10th, 11th, 13th, 17th, 25th, and 29th highest payrolls participating.
A few of what would be my personal favorites…
Brewers v. Rays (World Series)
You have to like Joe Madden, I wouldn’t mind seeing that 25th ranked payroll ending up playing the Brewers in the Fall Classic.
D-Backs v. Rays (World Series)
Actually I would be down with Rays playing anyone, but this would feature the 25th and 29th payrolls, and also both of the 1998 expansion twins. And with all due respect to Ron Roenicke, Kirk Gibson gets my Manager of the Year vote. As Ari Kaufman noted to me recently, can you name any other D-Backs besides Upton and Ian Kennedy??? Arizona was a team expected to go absolutely nowhere.
Yankees v. D-Backs (World Series)
Tenth anniversary of the last truly classic World Series, which Arizona won in Game 7 after the Yankees delivered two walk-off wins off Byung-Hyun Kim earlier in that series.
Brewers v. Rangers (World Series)
When it looked like the Brewers would draw the A-T-L in Round 1, it appeared that Milwaukee’s path to a championship would involve Atlanta, Philadelphia, and a team based in Arlington. Sounds like familiar venues with a franchise in another sport recently??
Yankees v. Brewers (World Series)
In 1957, instead of getting the usual Brooklyn Dodgers, the Yankees got the Milwaukee Braves, which the writers in New York referred to as a ‘bushville’ team in the backwater of the midwest. Well Lou Brudette stood on his head as the Braves won Game 7 in Yankee Stadium. The two teams would play another great seven-game series the following year. Brewers v. Yankees would offer another David v. Goliath scenario.
Cardinals v. Rays (World Series)
Why not have the two torrid September Wild Cards go all the way in their respective leagues.
Tigers v. Anybody (World Series)
Justin Verlander would be tough for anyone, still have chilling memories of him hitting 103 on the gun in the ninth-inning of his first career no-hitter.
Brewers v. Cardinals (NLCS)
Like NASCAR and professional wrestling rivalry and animosity sells – and Nyjer Morgan provided the bulletin board material, literally, as the Cards surged in September.
Brewers v. Phillies (NLCS)
Or just have Nyjer v. Phillies bleacher crowd, that would be enough right there.
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