MLB Playoffs: The Three Teams You Didn’t See Coming
Somewhere inside of me as a baseball fan, I worry for the popularity of the sport. Followers, friends, and family know of my distaste for the other professional sporting organizations, so seeing baseball succeed is an aspect of the game I like to pay great attention to. For all time and throughout the season, there are predictions, and narratives we follow, sometimes willingly and sometimes we spite them. The postseason brings the opportunity for a changing of the guard, new blood being given the chance to shine, and more importantly to give people the reminder that in baseball, anything can happen, and that beauty is undeniable. Nine of the ten postseason spots have been decided, and it’s hard to say we’re all that shocked by six of them. Three of them snuck up on us.
Washington Nationals – This was supposed to be a year when they were beginning their ascent to contention, battling the likes of Philadelphia and Atlanta, and possibly Miami, not when they would take over. They have a division title in hand, and are in the midst of fighting for either the number one or number two playoff seed. They will likely be the team everyone is rooting for in the National League, since their franchise (going back to the days of the Expos) has not had the chance to lift the trophy.
Baltimore Orioles – This was supposed to be a year where they enjoyed their now traditional beatings from the Yankees, Rays, and the rest of the AL East before they decided they didn’t give a crap about your silly run differential stat. The Maryland/DC area has playoff baseball to prepare for, but the O’s would love to win the division to guarantee a best-of-five series. I believe this team will get more love from the country than the next team, but I could be wrong.
Oakland Athletics – It is not to say this team will not get any love — they will get plenty, and especially from the same people that love underdogs, and loved Moneyball. A team with young pitchers, an unproven Cuban OF, and a team that managed to overtake an evil Los Angeles-based team (only because they claim they are… Los Angeles-based, not evil) that tried to buy itself a championship can make you a good guy pretty quickly to sports fans. Like Baltimore, the A’s will fight for a division title to put the Rangers in the one-game playoff, and I’d be willing to bet there are a lot of people out there that would love to see a Texas-New York one game playoff for the sole purpose of one of those teams being shown the door. Or maybe that’s just me.