Rather than focusing on what the Toronto Blue Jays will do this offseason, we should pause and enjoy the MLB playoffs for what they are!
Here we are, quickly approaching the World Series; the most anticipated time of the baseball season. Expectations are running high and fans have willingly emptied their pockets and savings to catch a glimpse of their team come home with a win. The stadiums have been filled to capacity with the hopefuls, the worriers and the superstitious. Yet, even though there is an infectious baseball buzz filling the air, there are persistent whispers of off season moves, trades and acquisitions. I am a firm believer in taking one day at a time and living in the present when it comes to sports in general; however baseball is a business and that philosophy doesn’t always apply.
I will be the first to admit that I am the fan who religiously checks MLBTR, scours through sports websites and combs Twitter for any baseball player moves, however, not during the post season. I have my reasons for that. I believe that there is an etiquette to the game, an unwritten rule of respect and devotion to the players on the field all vying for the same outcome: a World Series championship.
The post season is like no other. Sure there are records being broken throughout the regular season, however, nothing compares to the glory of reaching the epitome of the game. Very few fans really remember which teams sported the best records during the regular season, what the run differentials were or even who was that year’s slugger. What is remembered during a baseball season is how they performed after the 162 games were played. The post season is a completely different game.
Unlike the regular season, teams become increasingly dependent on their bullpens, gone are the days of starters going deep. In fact, it’s been common place to bring in your ace for clean up in the later innings of the game. There are no rules in the post season. Some managers will tinker and toy with their lineups to correlate with their matchups, and others believe that too much change could rock the boat and consequently put a jinx on their club.
It’s the time of the year where all the players have at least one ailing injury, are banged up or simply exhausted. This is the true testament to who will out-do and out-last their competition. It truly is survival of the fittest and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Baseball is more than just a summer sport. It’s a past time that spans over three seasons: the spring brings new beginnings, the dead of summer is a marathon, and the fall brings out the true gladiators of the game.
With all this excitement, why would anyone be talking about off season moves and trades? Yes, the free agency looks promising for those teams who are willing to reach for their pocket books and it’s always a thrill to see which players end up where, however, right now the game of baseball is very much as relevant and vibrant as it was when the season commenced. It’s important to remember that only 10 out of 30 teams make it into the postseason, that’s a mere 33.3% who qualify for the pennant race. It’s been thought that the magic number of wins during the regular season should be 94 in order to squeak into the post season, but baseball defies rules and allows for the sleeper teams to find a place amongst the juggernauts. That’s the ultimate beauty of the game.
The post season is unforgiving, unrelenting and unpredictable which makes for exciting baseball and keeps my attention on what’s happening on the field as opposed to what is happening behind the scenes. The game has introduced us to some remarkable kids, kids with conviction, swagger and a passion that’s contagious. This post season doesn’t spare us any of that. The New York Yankees have Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, the Houston Astros have Carlos Correra and Alex Bregman, and the L.A. Dodgers have Cody Belinger and Corey Seager.
Of course, it is the veterans that remain the glue for these teams and watching different generational players working together for the same goal is what baseball is really about. This season was memorable for some, lacked luster for others and downright depressing for a few, but that is the attraction to the game; you really never know what the outcome will be.
Instead of focusing on the rumour mill involving such players as Jay Bruce, who once again is linked to the Toronto Blue Jays, or whether or not Atlanta will give up a couple prospects for Marcus Stroman, let’s stop for a moment and appreciate what is unfolding in front of us. We have months of cold weather upon us and I couldn’t think of a better way to keep myself occupied during that time than to focus on off season moves, but, until then, I will be seated front row centre on my couch with a beer in hand and my eye on the ball.
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