Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Night and Day

For me, it has been really tough to stay interested in the MLB season from start to finish over the past few years. I don't necessarily think that this is a slight on the game of baseball or the league itself, rather it is most likely a byproduct of my life as a post-secondary student trying to balance course work (and getting decent grades), a plethora of volunteer work, getting exposure as a broadcaster/journalist and being a fan. Some sports have had to take a back seat in my attempt to balance the aforementioned. Baseball - to a certain extent - has done so.

Don't get me wrong, I am very intrigued by the game of baseball. I was one of those kids who went out in his yard and had imaginary baseball games and homerun contests. I have stay, those imaginary contests provided me with quite the JR like for (see photo). But unfortunately when it comes to following the game, I have lacked. I think it most probably has a lot to do with the length of the season and the amount of games that the teams play. I also attribute my lack of attention to the ailing (Blue) Jays. If someone asked me when my drop off in baseball following began, I could pretty confidently say it was when the Blue Jays stopped being competitive, and/or when they traded away my favorite players (Alex Gonzalez, Shawn Green, Carlos Delgado).

As you can see, it was pretty easy for me to stop following baseball, I had enough reasons. But one reason which I have not mentioned, and which I beleive to be quite important is level excitement that comes with watching baseball: for the most part, the level is quite low. There are your games here and there that are exciting, but out of 162 in a season, there aren't a lot. I focused more on the exciting in your face sports like hockey, football and golf. Ok, well hockey and football.

I couldn't pay less attention to the MLB throughout the summer, but forward me to the months of September and October and the tables quickly turn. There is something about playoff baseball that is extremely enticing. The races leading up to the post-season are definitely something to watch, but once you get to the actual second season it's like no other. Take the recent NL Wildcard played between the Colorado Rockies and the San Diego Padres. A one game, winner take-all match-up to make it to the playoffs and take on the Phillies who unseated the Mets for the division title.

It's not like baseball is the type of game where you can tangibly notice that the players have gone into another gear or are giving it that extra push, but in the playoffs you can just feel it. There's no joking around in the dugouts, all the players are focused and into the game. The weather is cold and dark and every little mistake has a big impact. The Rockies ended up winning a game that ended in true MLB playoff fashion, 13 innings and by 1 run. The game could not have been any better of a precursor to the post-season; a post-season that I am very much looking forward to. For what reason? I'm not sure I could tell you, I tried to outline it above. But that is the thing about playoffs in the majors, you just have to watch because - unlike the 162 game regular season - it's always exciting.

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