I watched more baseball this season than I have in years (partly due to having gotten into Roku and MLB.tv); now the fun part starts. Let’s have our own fun with predictions and opinions.

Baseball · It’s better than other sports because they play on dirt! And also, because there’s no clock, there’s never a reason to run it out.

And because the tension in the late stages of a close game; not remotely equaled by any other sport.

MLB.tv · It’s really done astonishingly well; the virtues of baseball and the Internet mesh without any visible stress or strain, and I know that didn’t happen by accident. I wish I’d helped build it.

Wildcard Games · What a stupid idea, drop it next year. The regular season offered plenty enough end-game drama that the extra-team-in-the-mix was superfluous. Also, baseball offers two well-developed modes of competition: the 162-game season and the postseason series. This single-game thing is a distraction, can be derailed by a single umpire error, and devalues the regular-season heroics.

Prediction: The Yankees and Nationals will both win the division series and would have against either wildcard candidate, so it won’t have mattered anyhow.

A Theory of the Playoffs · I mean, maybe you’re just a fan of one of the teams or another, and that’s fine. But for the rest of us, a principled approach is helpful. So here are some principles.

  • Prefer teams from scrappy underdog cities. Which is to say, Oakland over San Fran and Baltimore over DC.

  • Prefer teams from your time zone. Because you’ve seen more of their games and understand them better.

  • Cheer against the Giants. Because they still owe the world for Barry Bonds, and because I hate that fucking stadium, whatever phone company it’s named after this year; overpriced tickets, overpriced food, full of hustlers pitching investors on cellphones while they ignore the game.

  • Prefer teams that employ Ichiro Suzuki. Because he’s been playing with so much power and grace for so many years, it’d be nice to see him get a ring.

So, of the eight remaining teams, I have positive feelings about five. I loathe the Giants and have no feelings whatsoever about the Reds or Cardinals. That leaves the Orioles (they get no respect), Yankees (Ichiro), Nationals (exciting young team), Tigers (Cabrera, Verlander, Fielder, what’s not to like), A’s (came back from 13 games down, that’s just crazy).

The sad part is that the two most appealing teams, the Tigers and A’s, are playing each other in the first round. In the World Series, I’m hoping the Nationals get in and lose against, well, any of the alternatives.

Having said that, I’m not sure I’d bet on anyone against the A’s in this month of this year. But if they lose they’ll be back, as will Orioles and Tigers. But Ichiro might not.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Bud Gibson (Oct 06 2012, at 06:58)

I agree about the final innings of a close game. Really nothing beats it. TBH though, I can take or leave the first 6 innings.


From: Jim Walsh (Oct 06 2012, at 08:49)

You ought to know better than to say anything positive about Yankees.


From: Joe (Oct 06 2012, at 10:15)

One (big) downside of MLB.tv is that they blackout the playoff games until about 90 minutes after the game is over. Nothing that any self respecting geek can't get around with a conveniently located proxy, but I still find it very annoying.


From: J. Stephen Rosenboom (Oct 06 2012, at 10:25)

I'm not sold on the play-in playoff formula either. Just as I'm still not sold on the World Series home field being determined by All Star game.

But you know what I really, really don't like? The designated hitter!


From: Josh Renaud (Oct 06 2012, at 14:24)

I am a Cardinals fan through and through. I would love to see a Tigers-Cardinals rematch, especially given Cabrera's triple crown achievement. I would love for Ichiro to have a shot at the Series, but ... not the Yankees.


From: nicholas a. evans (Oct 08 2012, at 08:13)

I haven't paid attention to baseball since I was 15 (1997). I haven't been to a ballgame or even watched it on TV since then. Coincidentally (or perhaps not?), the O's last trip to the playoffs was in 1997. As a result, baseball for me conjures up nostalgic feelings of awkward early adolescence, riding my bike to the baseball card store and trading them with my friends, striking out and stealing bases and failing to catch easy fly-balls in little league, trips to Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards with my dad, etc. But I don't know any of the current players' names; my baseball stars are still Cal Ripken Jr. and Brady Anderson. So I haven't really had any personal investment in the game for most of my life.

But even for someone as sports ignorant as I, the emotional rush in Baltimore these days is electric. The sports fans in my scrappy underdog city have been waiting for a long time, and they are looking forward not just to these playoffs, but more in the future.

Thank's for putting in a few kind words for the birds.


From: Will Emerson (Oct 09 2012, at 20:35)

You're wrong about the Giants. Bonds is long gone. They're scrappers. Don't let a few obnoxious corporate dogs spoil it for you. Willie Mays Stadium (as most fans call it) is a great place except for the prices.

My other favorite team is the Orioles whose stadium was a great model for SF. They are more scrappers. Their stadium is fouled by Yankee fans who go there because even with a train ride it's cheaper than NY. So it would be great if the O's beat the Y's. And don't discount the A's. Here's to the Scrappers!


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