It is a great feeling to be able to tell non-baseball fans about everything they have been missing so far in the 2012 postseason for Major League Baseball.
Between the late-inning comebacks, historical firsts set, non-stop games all day and four teams remaining that have as much history and lore as any franchises baseball could offer, it is good to be a fan of the game.
For the first time since the division series was added in 1995 with the addition of the wild cards to the playoffs, all four series had never gone the full five-game distance until this year. The journey to get there was incredible.
I still stand against the idea of the additional wild card spots and the one-game playoff between the wild card teams, but it did start things out with a bang. No one should ever forget the infield fly rule again after that fiasco in Atlanta, which also has reignited the amazing, don’t-know-anything-but-how-to-win St. Louis Cardinals run back into the National League Championship Series.
And while we’re talking about just winning, the San Francisco Giants becoming the first team in the history of the NLDS to win after going down 2-0 in the series displayed as many gutsy performances as has been seen in recent memory. Treating every out as if it is the most important of the year, just as its manager Bruce Bochy did, was a pleasure to watch. But the collapse by the Cincinnati Reds to lose three games at home was heart breaking to witness, for the team and its fans.
Speaking of fans, normally when you think of rowdy crowds in attendance at sporting events, baseball is not a sport that immediately comes to mind. The atmosphere seen throughout the playoffs, probably most notably in places that would not come straight to mind, have been among the best that you would want to be a part of.
I watched the majority of the Oakland Athletics completing their improbable comeback from five games out with nine to go in the regular season to make the playoffs. You would have never guessed the team finished 27th in attendance after listening to its crowds down the stretch and in the postseason against the Detroit Tigers. Watching the team’s closer, Grant Balfour, come in to the music of Metallica in the ninth-inning and watching their fans seemingly lose their minds was a treat that sadly came to an end.
The same goes for the Washington Nationals fan base, which had to endure some of the worst decisions from a front office in quite some time. Why you don’t plan on having your ace pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, around for the playoffs is beyond my rational thinking, but this is a team that will not be a one-hit wonder.
But all good things must come to an end. Only four teams remain in the quest for a World Championship.
San Francisco and St. Louis, the last two World Series champions, face-off in a battle combining 97 hall of famers, 43 pennants and 17 championships between them.
Detroit and some team from New York have the pageantry of 64 Hall of Famers, 50 pennants and 31 titles on the field in their matchup.
And for us as fans? We get three more weeks of excitement that we can brag to others that are missing out.