Wednesday, 15 October 2014

That Time of the Year (Again)

It's now mid-October; cool temps.  Earlier and earlier sunsets.

And playoff baseball.

It's a time of mixed emotions for me.  On the one hand, I enjoy the World Series, despite the fact that my team has missed the playoffs again, making it 21 straight seasons of futility.  I've many fond memories of past seasons that were again, a mixture of joy and sadness.  On the other hand, it also means that baseball season is almost over, and that feeling is made even worse by the reality that football season has begun.

I live in Europe now, so it's entirely possible to simply ignore the noise of football, which is another tick in the "Plus" column for life in France.

Though I'm less and less a fan of baseball as I get older (and now, removed by physical and temporal distance), I still find the games interesting and try to follow, if not quite as closely.

A nice story unfolding is the Kansas City Royals, who prior to 2014 had not made the playoffs since 1985.  That, incidentally, was the first year that my beloved Blue Jays were in - and they collapsed in epic fashion to the Royals, becoming the first team in the history of baseball to blow a three games to one lead in a best of seven series.

The Royals then immediately turned the same trick on Saint Louis, whom they came back to beat four games to three.  The teams on the field at that time had rosters with guys like George Brett, John Tudor, and Dan Quisenberry.

KC has suffered through 29 years of mostly less than mediocre play.  But this year, everything has come together, and the Royals are now one game away from returning to the World Series, having again knocked off the Baltimore Orioles last night.

It's been many years, of course, but the win is the Royals' 10th straight (they are thus far undefeated in seven playoff contests this year, after their remarkable three straight to pull out the '85 Series).

In looking at the box score, old friend Jason Frasor was the winner last night in relief. Frasor pitched for the Blue Jays on a couple of different occasions, over nine years, and is the team's all-time leader in games pitched.  In other sort of weird trivia, Frasor was born in 1977, the year Toronto played its inaugural season.

In the NL contest, San Francisco continued to win in, shall we say, odd fashion.  The Giants managed to squander a four run lead, before ultimately winning in extra innings on an error by the pitcher.  The night before, San Frrancisco tied Saint Louis (them again!) on a truly bizarre play, where the runner on second scored on a wild pitch.

Seems that Saint Louis is bent on inventing ways to fail this year.

It looks like it may be a SF-KC series this year.  Two teams without truly "great" players who scrap their way.  Not sure whom I would cheer for - I lived in the Bay Area for many years and was a fan of the Giants when I lived there.  During those years, the Giants never actuallty won of course - indeed, San Francisco as a franchise had never won the World Series prior to 2010 following their move 50 years earlier to California.  They've won the two most recent 'even' year Series (2010, 2012).  But it's tough to root against a team like KC, who have waited so long to get back, and may not come back again for another third of a century.

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