And then there were four. Later this week we’ll have the Angels vs Yankees and Phillies vs Dodgers in best-of-seven series for a place in the big one, the World Series. The Red Sox, Rockies, Twins and Cardinals have all gone home, season over.
But what have I learned from the first round of play-offs?
1. The best teams went through
I think it is safe to say that the strongest teams went through. There might have been bad calls from umpires and huge mistakes that you just can’t legislate for, but all in all, there were no unlucky losers. There have been close games, but three sides were swept three games to none, and the other side, the Rockies, only won the one game. You’ve got to be ruthless at this stage, and the best teams were. Could the Red Sox, Rockies, Twins and Cardinals have done better than one win between them? I think we all the answer to that one.
2. It’s not all about heroics
There have undoubtedly been some good performances, but the game-changing acts have generally been self-destructive ones. Running errors, dropped catches, poor pitching. Which brings me on to…
3. You need a good closer
How many games have swung in the final inning? The teams that have won have had steady, reliable pitching in the ninth inning. When the closer has had a meltdown, his team has lost. Unless you somehow manage to rack up a massive lead beforehand, you’ve got to be strong in the later innings.
4. I don’t like the TBS coverage
I’m a creature of habit. I don’t like change. I’m no baseball media expert, but TBS coverage just isn’t the same somehow.
5. There’s not enough hours in the day
Believe me, in this, ahem, “current economic climate”, I’m very, very happy that I’ve got a job. But because of my pesky job I just haven’t got the time to watch all this wonderful baseball, especially with the time-difference (I live in London). I’m not complaining, though, about this embarrassment of riches. I’m just wondering what I’ll do after the season ends. Aha! Watch other sport, that’s what! Problem solved!