With the 2014 Major League Baseball season drawing to a close, the days of October baseball will soon be in motion. The post-season is a time for turmoil and triumph. When the league's best get to live out their dreams of winning a World Series. In baseball, the playoffs are a glorious display of showmanship and class with perhaps the greatest traditions in all of sports. Although not official recognized by Major League Baseball's records, the World Series itself has been rooted back to the nineteenth century.
For many people, the game of baseball is a bore. This stems from misunderstanding, lack of knowledge, or plain attention span problems. But really, once a person can understand the fundamentals, there is no reason not to love the age-old game. Baseball is a game of constant thought and discipline. From t-ball to the big leagues, the “eye-on-the-ball” concept never expires. It will remain with a baseball player throughout their entire life. It is a simple discipline but effective.
So, when the airs grows crisp and the playoffs roll around yet again, one cannot hide one's excitement. It is a magically time of year when you can see a man's breath escape him while he stands on base. Expelling a little piece of his soul just to get a hit. It is a time when selflessness shines through in the most apparent of ways. When each member of the roster plays a role, no matter the size, or great importance. When the cleats are tied up extra tight and every ground ball has the potential to change the game.
When every pop fly must be caught. No room for error anymore. When every pitch could be your last and must be thrown as such. When every swing of the bat could be the game winning swing that you have always dreamed about … it's baseball.
Let's take a look at the top 15 reasons to love post-season baseball ...
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15 Youthful Dreamers
The look on any young baseball fan's face while sitting in the stands at the ballpark lost in a world of bewilderment and pure ecstasy is a heartwarming sight. The thoughts their young minds must be thinking as their favorite players take to the field. Especially during the post-season when those thoughts begin to flourish into dreams of one day chasing that World Series for yourself and being apart of the big leagues. Starry-eyed youngsters sitting along side their dads or uncles or older brothers, sharing a beloved pastime and keeping the love of the game alive among future generations.
14 Old-Time Dreamers
In the same vein and ballpark as the young dreamer sits the snoozing old-timer whose thoughts were once as bright and brilliant as the Cracker Jack eating kid. Every single line on his face is a symbol of past transgression. The sight of a sore-loser or perhaps a wayward-winner who has cheered his team through their days of glory and horror. The lifelong fan who wears his faded ballcap to each and every game, unwilling to change or purchase one anew. For his cap in its own right tells a collection of stories of a child grown old, greater than any Dickens novel can do justice.
13 Cold Drinking in Cold Weather
This may apply more to the East Coast baseball fan but there is nothing like an ice-cold beer on a cold fall day while watching an game that was intended to be played in the heat of a different season. The shiver of your lip before every sip as you scream at the TV and spit remnants of your dinner all over favorite team's hoodie. There is a cozy and warm feeling that comes along with the October ballgame. That warm sense of satisfaction. That carelessness of time and place when you are frozen in those nine innings … but maybe that's just the booze talking.
One of the ultimate post-season blunders of all time came at the hands (or glove) of Bill Buckner during game 6 of the 1986 World Series when Buckner failed to make a play on a slow-rolling ground ball down the first-base line, allowing the winning run to score and costing the Boston Red Sox the game. Their opponents, the New York Mets would go on to win game seven and take the World Series. The blame was placed squarely on Buckner who received death threats from an irate Boston fan-base. You never know when you may witness an epic blunder like that again.
There is nothing wrong with wearing your team's colors with pride as you stride along the streets with a hint of cockiness in your step that day knowning that the post-season is upon us and the boys whom you have cheered all year long have made it one step closer to the Commissioner's Trophy. You feel a sense of deserved-delusional-recognition as though in some capacity you helped contributed to the team getting to where its at … but that's all right. The delusion is just a part of being a sports fans. Walk around with self-righteousness. Display your pride.
10 Bragging Rights
Isn't it just great when your team makes it to the post-season and your buddy is left wondering where it all went wrong with his favorite squad? Even better, when your teams face-off in the post-season and it is yours who comes out the victor of the series. This is the wonderful world of bragging rights. The right to talk smack. The right to make fun. The right to unmercifully disparage another team simply because yours is better. But, at the end of the day; it is just a game. So, give your buddy a pat on the back and tell him/her that there is “always next season.”
Heartbreak is generally considered to be a dark subject. But, when its comes to baseball, heartbreak is just a part of the beautiful story being told. Whether its the fans or the players, the post-season will provide just the right amount of heartbreak to each class. Tears will flow from grown men who have lived their lives on grass and dirt just hoping to one day be called a World Series Champion. And, just like that, the hope dies and the season is over and there is nothing left to do but sit and wallow in the self-pity of million-dollar-defeat.
If you live in a city that does not have its own major league team, it may be hard to find common ground with your fellow baseball fans as chances are, you may be routing for different teams come post-season. And, if you don't have a friend to cheer along with you or a girlfriend to at least pretend, where exactly do you find that comradery? Sometimes, you may find someone at the bar, sporting the same cap as you and that's a small start. But, the best way to find that comradery you seek is by watching a home game and getting lost in a trance as if you were there as one of the hometown crowd.
7 The Grind
Being a baseball player is a grueling profession. Each season, Major League Baseball teams play one-hundred-and-sixty-two game schedules. That's the most in any sport and by seasons end most teams are completely burnt out on exhaustion and ready to sleep the autumn away. But, for the teams that make the post-season, it makes it that much sweeter. The fact that you were able to endure the grind and come out of it still hungry. It makes the baseball post-season feel like the players have earned it that much more.
6 Game Winning Hits
The game winning hit is the most exciting play in all of baseball. This applies to any league, any where in the world. Even down to pick-up ball at the local ballpark between friends on a Saturday afternoon. But, none is more exciting than a game winning hit in the big leagues in October. Especially if that hit is a home run. The sight of a walk-off game winning home run is something to marvel at – fully aware of the significance of the moment. Who hasn't fantasized about hitting the walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth during game 7 of the World Series?
During the post-season the pitching staff is called upon more than ever to control the game at hand. From the starting rotation to the bullpen, everybody must be ready to throw at any given moment. Often times starting pitchers, particularity the ace of the staff, is sent out to pitch on only three days rest. This is not to show lack-of-confidence in another starter but to show the utmost-confidence in the selected ace. When the team needs a win they must go with the star of the staff and in turn he must prove why he has been given that distinction.
4 Guts for Glory
The post-season will provide you with a clear understanding of a man's true grit. How much heart is inside of that chest? From Kirk Gibson's pinch-hit walk-off home run in game 1 of the 1988 World Series, when the man could barley walk, to Curt Schilling's bloody sock performance in game 2 of the 2004 World Series. There is no time for pain when you're on a championship run. The guts take over the human condition as your vision becomes tunneled and all your focus becomes clear.
3 The Unsung Hero
Every team has its clutch hitter but what happens when that hitter is unable to produce during the post-season? Like A-Rod. Someone has to step up and assume that role whether they mean to or not. The unsung hero is a dramatic part of the baseball story. That no-name bench player who throws on a batting helmet and steps into the batters-box with that gleam of childlike hope in his eye. And suddenly, comes through with the biggest hit of his life, proving that there is always time to shine for the unsung baseball heroes.
2 The Best of the Best
Of all the major sports, the MLB post-season consists of the fewest teams. Only ten squads will qualify for the playoffs, one-third of the entire league. This provides fans with the best of the best. The top that Major League Baseball had to offer for said season. It is that narrow window of opportunity to play beyond September that makes the post-season that much more special. As a spectator you will become well aware of the circumstances surrounding each individual team and how they made it that far and that they were in fact; one of the best.
1 The Majesty of the Game
The main reason to love post-season baseball comes down to one simple fact, the majesty of the game is just too hard to ignore. Baseball in its purest form is precise and poetic. The kind of game that tells a story, paints a picture, and even breaks a heart. Major League Baseball has been riddled with scandal for the past number of years but let's not forget about what lies beneath all the shame and scrutiny … a game. That's all it really is for the starry-eyed kids and the wrinkled old men. The die-hard fans and the mockers of friends. It's just a game … a sacred pastime.
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