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Monday, Dec. 22, 2014

This is truly the best part of the season

Posted Thursday, October 7, 2010, at 5:15 PM

Well it certainly is the best time of the year for a diehard baseball fan like myself.

Regardless of the fact that my beloved White Sox are once again not in the playoffs, it's still one of the most exciting and entertaining aspects of the baseball season.

It's a time of the year when there's quality, quantity and excellence all rolled into a set of games that will ultimately give us a World Series Champion.

Let me begin my dissection of the baseball postseason by examining those three terms and how they relate.

First of all, there's nothing but quality teams involved.

All eight playoff teams this season are a combined 746-550 for a .575 winning percentage.

The eight teams are an average of 93-68 which works out to 25 games over .500. I don't know about most fans, but personally I'd like to see my team finish with that kind of record every season.

No team in the postseason finished with less than 90 wins and none had more than 72 losses.

The closest to those numbers are the American League West champion Texas Rangers who finished the season 90-72 while the other end of the spectrum finds the National League East champion Phillies sporting the best record of the eight teams involved at 97-65.

The quality of the postseason teams goes further when you consider individual accomplishments from the regular season.

First of all you have a likely Cy Young Award winner in the form of Roy Halladay.

Not only did he become just the second pitcher in baseball to throw a no-hitter in the postseason, he also became the first pitcher in postseason history to record more hits and drive in more runs than the team he was facing.

Speaking of Cy Young Award winners, you have the National League's two-time defending winner, Tim Lincecum taking to the hill during the series.

You have a pair of 21-game winners involved -- Halladay and C.C. Sabathia of the Yankees -- as well as the American League batting champion Josh Hamilton from the Texas Rangers.

Throw in Alex Rodriguez, who fell just one short of the RBI title with 125 and Joe Mauer of the Twins who fell just a few points short (.327) in the AL batting chase and Joey Votto (.324) who was second in the NL batting race and you have all the ingredients you need for a lot of postseason excitement.

If the individual player aspects aren't enough to entice even the most distant fan to tune in at least once, there's always the dislike for a team to consider.

Most fans of teams outside of New York like to see the Yankees lose. Let's face it, as teams go you either hate or love the Bronx Bombers.

If for no other reason detractors of the "Evil Empire" should be watching the Yankees-Twins series just to root against them.

You have the swan song of one of the greatest managers of all time in Atlanta's Bobby Cox.

For thirty seasons Cox has either been in a dugout or running a team from the front office. He has established himself as one of the true "baseball men" of this era.

There's also the resurgence of a franchise in the form of the Cincinnati Reds and the continuing metamorphosis of the Tampa Bay Rays from doormat to yearly contender.

If that's not enough to at least peak a little interest then take into consideration the quantity of games involved over the next few weeks.

First of all we have what I consider to be the best four days of the baseball season. It's a span that includes as many as 14 games in just four days.

There's afternoon, evening, night and late night games at any given time along the way, especially during the Divisional Series round.

No matter what hours you work you'll have an opportunity to catch a game.

Finally, there's the aspect of quality.

That one is fairly simple to present. You don't see a team with a losing record in the MLB Playoffs and you don't see a team that didn't earn their place because half of the league automatically gets a playoff berth.

You only see division champions and the two best teams that didn't win a division title earn their spot in the postseason.

You also see that the regular season means a great deal to who qualifies beyond it, not just because you had enough games to finish eighth in a conference of 16.

And if that's not enough of an enticement to watch then I guess I'm out of reasons.

Rick is a sports writer with the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487 or by E-mail at rcurl@gcdailyworld.com.



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