Tuesday, September 30, 2014

As the Playoffs begin...

For whom are we rooting?
First, let's think of the possibilities. We could have the Dodgers and Angels in the LA Series. Maybe The I-5 Series (the word The gets a capital letter because in LA you always include it before the number of a freeway). The Angels won their only Series in 2002. The Dodgers last won in 1988 the year Kirk Gibson hit his fist-pumping, limping walkoff. That was the moment that Dennis Eckersley, the pitcher who gave up that home run, coined the term walkoff. It originally referred not to the hitter but to the pitcher who threw the pitch. As Eck said, "At that point there's nothing for you to do but walk off."

We could have an All-Missouri Series (a Misseries?) between the Cardinals and the Royals. A 1985 redux. The Cardinals got screwed by a bad call at 1st base that turned the series in KC's favor. That was KC's only win ever.

The A's and Giants could meet in a Bay Area Series. A repeat of the Earthquake Series of 1989. They could call it the Wild West Series, as both teams are Wild Card playoff entries, but that name was used in 2002 when the Angels and Giants, both Wild Card winners, faced each other in the Classic. That could happen again this year. Maybe it would be Wild West II, or Return to the Wild West.

My favorite, as noted in an earlier blog, would be the Orioles and the Nationals. The Parkway Series. Someone on ABC News called the possibility a Beltway Series, and both Baltimore and Washington have Beltways (I-695 and I-495 respectively), but they don't connect and neither actually goes near a ballpark. However, the B-W Parkway, Route 295, goes directly from Camden Yards past BWI Airport to the Anacostia River in DC, which abuts Nationals Park. The O's haven't won since 1983, and Washington has waited 90 years for a World Series championship.

We could have the Orioles and Pirates for the 3rd time. They faced each other in 1971 and 1979, with the Pirates winning both. When I was Program Director at Mix 106.5 in Baltimore we were warned to never play "We Are Family" because it was the Pirates theme song in 1979.

We could have the Orioles and the Dodgers in a redux of 1966, when the Orioles won the first championship in franchise history by defeating the defending champion Dodgers. LA ace Sandy Koufax refused to pitch during the Jewish holidays.

Let's see...Detroit and St. Louis? A repeat of 1968. The Cardinals did what the Red Sox couldn't do the year before...solve Bob Gibson.

What else?
Combos we've never seen: The Angels versus anybody but the Giants, the Royals facing anybody but the Cardinals, the Pirates facing anyone but the Orioles, the Nationals facing anybody at all. The Tigers have the distinction of being the last team to face the Cubs in the World Series (1945 - the Tigers won, of course).

A's and Royals tonight.
Jon Lester v. James Shields. Naturally, I'm rooting for Lester, but this is a one-and-done and if the A's lose it might increase the Red Sox chances of re-signing Lester for 2015. I'd like that.

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