Friday, October 17, 2014

Wild Card World Series!

Last season, both Wild Card winners were out before the LCS round. The Pirates were ousted by the Cardinals in five games in their NLDS, and in the ALDS, the Rays were taken out by the Red Sox in four.

This year, the Royals and the Giants are not willing to go quietly. Since their respective Wild Card games, neither team has faced elimination - indeed, to the certain chagrin of network executives and advertising departments, none of the series this postseason have made it the maximum five or seven games.

Unfortunately, the efficiency with which the Royals and Giants have dispatched their opponents means we won't have any baseball until Tuesday.

On the bright side, these barren four days will be good preparation for the long winter that awaits on the other side of the World Series. Hopefully, the Royals and Giants can do what no other matchup has done, and extend this thing the whole seven games.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

NL Wild Card: Pirates vs. Giants

Choosing who to root for tonight is basically a no-brainer for me. The most obvious reason is the fact that the Giants have won two World Series titles in the last five years, while the Pirates haven't tasted victory in over three decades.

But as I've noted in this space before, the Pirates boast a player from my home town of North Conway, NH (population: 2,349). Though Jeff Locke isn't starting tonight's game, if Edinson Volquez can best Giants starter Madison Bumgarner, the Redstone Rocket is likely to get a chance moving forward.

The entire region is fiercely proud - we didn't boast nearly as much about our two winter Olympians a few months back as we do about Locke. It's simple supply and demand: if you live in the north mountains, excellent skiers are a dime a dozen, while baseball season is often snow-shortened, making professional-caliber players a rarity.

It's likely that Locke won't see the field tonight - he is, after all, a starter - but I can promise that New Hampshire will be watching for a glimpse of him in the dugout, and rooting for the Pirates to take the win so we can cheer him on in the next round.

It would be difficult for tonight's Wild Card game to top the drama of the Royals twelfth inning walk-off last night, but nothing is impossible in baseball!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

AL Wild Card: A's vs. Royals

I'm sure I'm far from the only Red Sox fan rooting for Jon Lester to lead the A's to a Wild Card win over the Royals tonight. But hoping for victory from one of Red Sox Nation's most mourned 2014 departures isn't the only reason to back Oakland over Kansas City.

The starter for the Royals is James Shields.

Yes, this James Shields:

(Interestingly enough, former Ray/A/Red Sox and current A Jonny Gomes is also involved in this fight)

And the presumable center field starter for the A's? None other than Shield's long-lost brawling partner (and former Red Sox), Coco Crisp.

Now, I won't go so far as to suggest that a Brawl 2.0 between the Crisp and Shields would be ideal, but it would lend even more drama to the win-or-go-home Wild Card game.

Given the choice between former (and hated) Ray James Shields and perennial Red Sox killer Billy Butler, and the horde of former Red Sox playing for the A's, and the choice is clear. Perhaps it makes us mercenaries, and it certainly makes us bandwagoners, but today, Red Sox Nation may as well be A's Nation.