There is something about October that always gets to me. Maybe because my birthday is in October, or maybe because hockey is so close and because it is football season. Maybe, but more and more I think it is because of playoff baseball.
It’s no secret around these parts what team I root for. I’m the guy that said I would name my first born Jacoby last year, and I still plan of going through with it. I’m the one that drove to another country to see them three times this year, and the one legitimately bummed out when I got the “sorry you haven’t been selected” for playoff tickets to a ballpark seven hours away.
Being a non-traditional fan is hard, but I do put the time into it. I can’t possibly watch every game, but following box scores and other blogs has become part of my sporting lifestyle. Knowing Pedrioa’s OPS and Beckett’s VORP doesn’t compare to watching all 180+ games, but it does make me feel like a better fan for it. Because I only watch 30 or so Sox games a year, it’s hard to post about them without getting the feeling I am missing something, which is why I usually refrain from doing so.
However, all that changes tomorrow. The playoffs are the time that I do get to see every game, and I can’t tell you how excited I am about that. I never feel completely safe with my baseball team, and there’s no way I can with Manny’s bat missing and a few question marks on the mound, but I am excited about what could happen. Unlike most Sox fans a half decade ago, I no longer dread possible outcomes anymore because postseason baseball is just too much fun.
Yeah, fun, I can call it that now. Sure, it’s frustrating and maddening and terrifying and makes you want to slam your head into a wall at times. But, the chills you get when a packed stadium knows that was strike three and roars before the umpire makes the call is something you just can’t replicate anywhere else. The sights, sounds, and extraordinary pressure of playoff baseball is one of the best things in sports, and every October I can’t help but get excited about it.
This year is even better, because once again the postseason starts one day early. The Chicago White Sox, already late to the party, won last day/night and forced a one game playoff with the Minnesota Twins. At 7:30 tonight, the White Sox and Twins take the field to break the tie. No home wins record, no runs per game, no team ERA. One of the best thing about baseball is that that there are no tiebreakers, just one more game.
Last year we were treated to a tiebreaker in the National League. Rich and I were so excited about it that we did a monstrous live blog that maybe six people read. But it didn’t matter because like Rich said, there was absolutely no way we were missing that game.
I can’t tell you we will do it again. Hey, maybe we will; but I will tell you that there is absolutely no way any of us miss tonight’s game. (Unless you are Yankees fans like Jon and Chris, I’m sure they have are having a good cry over Buster Olney or something…)
You don’t need Dane Cook to get excited about the playoffs, but he did read his line right: there is only one October, and so very few Octobers have 32 days.