By ROY BELLAMY
It's back. October. A little later than usual, but nonetheless, IT'S BACK!
Major League Baseball presents the MLB Playoffs. More exciting than a sack of potatoes, people now have more of a reason to watch. There's a chance that the New York Yankees won't go to the World Series. I would be a very happy man if it came to that. It was a long season, long for fans who have to follow the sorry teams. I am one of them, so much hope, what a letdown. At least I'm not in Cincinnati or Pittsburgh.
Who's in the playoffs? Well, it's the usual suspects, but under different conditions. Atlanta at Houston, St. Louis at Arizona, New York at Oakland, and Cleveland at Seattle. I don't mean to be Jimmy Kimmel or Chris Berman, but here's my picks:
- National League Division Series: Atlanta defeats Houston and Arizona defeats St. Louis
- American League Division Series: Oakland defeats New York and Seattle defeats Cleveland
- National League Championship Series: Atlanta defeats Arizona
- American League Championship Series: Seattle defeats Oakland
- World Series: Seattle defeats Atlanta
I may be wrong, the Yankees could get past the ALDS. Maybe it's favoritism, you know I hate the Yankees. But that's how I feel. Look how everyone has come into today. New York struggled against ... Tampa. My high school girls softball team could beat them at whiffleball. Clemens got a loss against them. Tampa Bay Devil Rays, "The Ultimate Spoilers," should be their slogan next year. Seattle, who lost on this day, 10-7-01, has tied for the MLB record in most wins in a season with 116. For future reference, that loss was against Texas. Oakland, who has to be the most underrated team of the AL side of the playoffs, won 102 games, and still made the wild card. Now that's cold. They're in the wrong division for that. Cleveland has been in a battle with Minnesota all year. It was the All Star Break and a 12 run comeback win against Seattle to bring a tribe called Cleveland back up to snuff.
Quick note: No team has won the World Series other than the Yankees. Last team was Florida, before that ... the Yankees again, then the Braves.
The National League has been very exciting to watch. I've been riveted to see my Marlins lose 20 - 3 to the Braves. I still believe we lost on purpose to knock Philadelphia out of the playoffs. So for all you Phillie and Scott Rolen fans, though few, I give you my best Archie Bunker impression. (raspberry) Atlanta ... I can't skip it so I have to say this, scored 28 - 11 against Florida in the series and took 2 of 3. We still kicked your butt in 1997. Atlanta, all year, fought with Philadelphia, the "Ph-ighting Phils." While the Phillies killed Florida, 14 games to 4 btw, Atlanta killed Philadelphia ... and us. Houston and St. Louis had to fight each other. It wasn't for a spot in the playoffs, it was for the division. Houston won today 9 - 2 and won the division. They play the Braves at home, which is better than to play on the road against ... the Diamondbacks, who have been fighting with San Francisco and Los Angeles. While America has been captivated by Barry Bonds ... I lost count. Anyway, Arizona ... shhhhh ... quietly won the division. St. Louis has been fighting with the Cubs for the wild card/division/injuries. Somehow, they've made it through and now they can at least try to beat Arizona.
The stage is set, the TV/cable/dish/Internet is on. The tickets are bought. The grounds crew are working on the field. Come to think of it, Oakland is the only team who is sharing the stadium they play in. The Raiders won't be happy with field conditions, I can tell you.
It all starts with the Divisional Series. This will be a very exciting postseason. Too bad it interfered with hockey season, I might have watched it. OK ... maybe I'll take a peek at what's going on.