This is my third season of writing for Through The Fence Baseball. I follow this game, and I will surely miss it when it goes away later this month. It’s fair to say — at least in my mind — that baseball puts every other team sport in its rear view mirror, especially at this time of year. But I’ll be the first to admit that I really don’t know this game very well at all.
An annual ritual that we have here is to get everyone’s postseason predictions on the record before the games get started. It’s like filling out an NCAA tournament bracket where you select who’s likely to win, all the way through until you have a winner. And then you spend the next three weeks hoping your winner doesn’t get beat by someone else.
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I picked the Los Angeles Angels (they’ll always be the California Angels to this kid from the 1970s) for one simple reason: They had the best record in baseball over the regular season. Winning 98 games in six months counted for something, it seemed to me. They also had secured home-field advantage through the ALCS, which can be a huge advantage in a game seven situation.
Leaving the Angels’ roster aside — because I don’t think about the American League all that much — it seemed to me that the AL’s home-field advantage in the World Series would support choosing the AL pennant-winner to go all the way. I always like to see seven games in a World Series, and the home team wins game sevens more often than not. But in the end, this was all just a guess.
Whatever the thought processes of the other writers for this website were, I can’t say. But I can say everyone gives it their best guess for each of the match-ups. And then the teams take the field … and do what they can to mess up everyone’s predictions. At least that’s how it appears to me, less than a week into the postseason.
I felt pretty good about calling the winner of the first two games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Just three other writers had both the Royals and the Giants winning, as I did. Nobody lost their World Series winner when the Pirates went down, but four writers had the Oakland A’s winning it all. One game and their champion was out. Ouch.
And then the divisional round of the postseason started on Thursday. Baseball’s an everyday game, and there’s no time to lose with getting these games in. And unlike the back-and-forth series we sometimes see in October, the American League has already produced a pair of sweeps: The Orioles swept the Tigers, and the Royals swept the Angels. And with it, seven more TTFB writers — myself included — will have to watch the rest of the postseason without their World Series champion in the picture.
It hasn’t even been a week of postseason baseball yet, and already 11 of 22 writers have fallen victim to the unknowable nature of this game. And unless the Nationals can solve Madison Bumgarner on Monday night, five more will meet with the same fate. October really is a great time to be a baseball fan, isn’t it?