Two five-game series decided, two about to be. You can’t ask for more bang from your postseason buck.
After tonight, we’ll have a better feel for what this October will be historically. Even though the Division Series round has been maximized — and that in itself is historic — the LDS stuff can’t help but eventually get pushed into the corners of the fan subconscious unless it’s your team winning a decisive game on a walkoff homer or a one-hitter. When the 2011 story gets retold, for example, there’s not much emphasis on how valiantly the Diamondbacks battled the Brewers for five games in their set. Arizona disappeared and Milwaukee was to become fine print in what wound up a Cardinal epic. That’s why it pays to keep winning.
We bade adieu Thursday to the Reds and to the A’s, and two more teams will follow them out the door imminently. Somebody’s got to lose, but too bad, in a way. Too bad we don’t get to hold onto those whose exploits we experience for just a moment. The minute we think we might want to see more of an individual or a unit or a ballpark even, they’re gone. What I’d really like to be able to do is pick and choose among the most intriguing of the October participants and keep them around a little longer.
Give me Davey Johnson’s eternal self-assurance. Carlos Beltran gliding into a relit spotlight. Brandon Phillips’s magnetism. The possibilities inherent in Manny Machado. Justin Verlander on the mound with everything on the line. The breathtaking excellence of Buster Posey. Those Oakland fans connecting with those Oakland players as if they’re all on the team. I might even be persuaded to welcome back the impenetrable Craig Kimbrel and find a potential route to redemption for the perennially frustrated Texas Rangers.
Let me see Jay Bruce take one more shot at winning the big one. Let me watch Josh Reddick spark another ninth. Give me Bryce Harper as he’s still getting acclimated. Bring Tim Lincecum out of the bullpen. Let’s learn how Miguel Cabrera’s triple crown translates as the statistics start over again. Let’s find out if Jim Leyland knows how to smile. Let us give Jim Thome another swing and former Long Island Duck Lew Ford maybe a little shorter lead off first.
And obviously, let’s be done with the bleeping Yankees once and for all.