For the next month, the best tournament to find a champion takes place in eight baseball stadiums. It’s the only game that consistently relies on a team concept to win a title. In football, the best player almost always involves himself in the decisive play. In basketball, the clutch shooter either makes or misses the definitive shot. In hockey, it usually comes down to the goalie and his wiliness to make a clutch save.
It’s not the same in baseball.
The 8th place hitter of the lineup, a September call-up with a lifetime batting average hovering around the Mendoza line, can become a legend in one at-bat.
Think I’m kidding?
Track down Francisco Cabrera and ask him how he feels in October.
Even with October magic happening every season, the weight of the World Series seems to lose its luster as we enter a world dominated by the National Football League. Regardless of the matchups, I guarantee you that the Sunday Night Football game that pits a 4-0 team against an 0-4 team will double the rating of the divisional series game that airs on TBS. Even though the cable home of baseball’s postseason does an admirable job of covering the past time, the problem of pitching a quality product to basic cable doesn’t give an aura of importance to the game. It treats the opening round of the playoffs as a sorbet, when it should be promoted as the main course.
For what it’s worth, here are my predictions for the opening round of 2009 baseball playoffs:
*Detroit Tigers over N.Y. Yankees in 4 games. (If Minnesota wins the tiebreaker, I like the Yankees to beat the Twins in 4 games.)
*Los Angeles Angels over Boston Red Sox in 3 games
*Los Angeles Dodgers over St. Louis Cardinals in 5 games.
*Colorado Rockies over Philadelphia Phillies in 4 games.