A few nights ago it was so warm I couldn’t sleep, so my mind drifted to Octobers past.
I came up with these nuggets, which I believe are all factual with seven weeks to play in another splendid MLB season.
In 16 playoff appearances during the modern format, the Yankees have only won an ALDS versus three different teams:
- Oakland twice
- Texas three times
- Minnesota four times
New York lost to Seattle in 1995, along with Cleveland, Anaheim and Detroit twice each. And after the epic 2004 collapse to Boston, the Bronx Bombers didn’t win a single playoff series until 2009.
(Mostly) Usual Suspects in the AL
The NL is much more exciting than the AL in 2012.
There are solid teams in the AL (Yankees, Rangers, Tigers, Angels, et al.) but they’ve all played in October often. Chicago is truly a good story since many “experts” picked them dead last, but the Sox are still a stacked team in the third biggest media market, that’s been in the playoffs multiple times recently. Tampa, by virtue of three postseason appearances in the past four seasons, is no longer as interesting as teams with long droughts.
The most intriguing stories in the AL occur in Oakland (once playoff in the past eight) and especially surging Baltimore, where Oriole Park at Camden Yards hasn’t seen October baseball in 1997.
Exciting Stories Abound in NL
No doubt the Senior Circuit has better stories, beginning with the Washington Nationals (best record; no playoffs since moving to The District in 2005; none for the franchise since the Expos 31 years ago); continuing with Pirates (chasing first winning season in two decades); then the Reds, very talented, but only one playoff appearance (2010) since 1995.
The Giants, Dodgers, Cardinals are all relatively mundane stories. And thank goodness no Phillies this October. We all need a break from them, as they were rapidly becoming the NL’s version of the Yankees/Red Sox, media bias included.
The Braves are interesting: Chipper’s final year in a wide open NL; coming off last year’s September meltdown; and though they’ve been there seven times in the past 12 seasons, the Braves have not won a playoff series in the 21st century.
If Pittsburgh and Washington both get into the postseason party, the only stadia that have yet to host playoff games will be Citi Field (fourth season) and Marlins Stadium (first year).
MLB’s parity amazes. Those critics thankfully shut up long ago.
Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark has only hosted one quick playoff game, in 2010 vs Philly (an example of why the sport needs to increase the first round best of 7), but will likely host at least two tilts in 2012, perhaps many more
Bad News for Boston, Philly
Folks at ESPN and along the east coast predicting Boston/Philly World Series every March since 2005 never saw it occur, and likely won’t for long time. These are aging teams with many bad, long-term contracts.
What stories are you the most excited about as baseball nears its stretch run?