THE BIG HIT | The ONLY Postseason Preview You Need

By Ken Napzok

As the regular season comes to a close, we can start to look back at the season that was and find all the great moments that we’ll remember forever. Our thoughts also begin to turn to the awards and the players that we feel — ah nuts to all of this — IT’S TIME FOR THE PLAY-OFFS.

It is the duty of this very column to get you ready for the postseason by looking at every team and breaking down their strengths, weaknesses, and chances for winning the World Series through a series of well-researched statistics, insightful revelations, and hard truths.

It is the duty of this very column to have a clear picture of the games we are about to watch and the players that will be taking the field. It is ALSO the duty of this very column to be honest. 

No one really knows what is about to happen. 

No one.

Not ever Peter Gammons.

Peter. F***ing. Gammons. 

The magic of the postseason is that all the talk, all the stats, all that we think we know goes out the window and it is all decided between the lines. We’ve all watched October (and occasional November) baseball long enough to at best get a feel for what we are about to watch. Surprises will emerge like the underdogs winning (the ‘69 Mets, ‘88 Dodgers, ‘90 Reds), the hero being the player you least expected, and one strike away not being close enough. 

So with that in mind — this is the ONLY postseason preview you need.


HOUSTON ASTROS

107-55

Star Players: Justin Verlander (21 wins, 3,000 career strikeouts, playing pissed because of the juiced ball), Gerrit Cole (316 K’s, 2.52 ERA, submitting evidence for a huge contract) Alex Bregman (41 HR, 1.012 OPS, possible MVP award coming), Jose Altuve (31 HR, 3.6 WAR, still only 5’ 6”)

Reasons They’ll Win: There is a chance they are the modern equivalent of the 1927 Yankees or the last roster you put together for a baseball video game. Three front line pitchers that are great at sitting players down on three strikes in an era of whiffing being an art form. George Springer is upset that I didn’t list him in the star players section.

Reasons They’ll Lose: The 1988 Oakland A’s. Dominate offense, sublime pitching, and the predetermined feeling of victory from fans and experts alike. That’s how underdogs and Mickey Hatcher World Series home runs are built. 

Pressure To Win Factor: Medium. While some of the star players are aging up, the core is still young. Verlander won’t stop pitching like this until dead balls are tossed back in by the umpires. Thoughmight lose Gerrit Cole, plenty of potential stars will consider playing here because of the fajitas at Original Ninfas alone. 

Most Heroic Player (MHP) Prediction: Josh Reddick. He was a key member of the 2017 squad, but has moved to the shadows with new blood like Michael Brantley, Yordan Alvarez, and Kyle Tucker. There are no shadows in the postseason. Players like Reddick get to shine. 

Prediction: World Series Champs!


NEW YORK YANKEES

103-59

Star Players: Giancarl — no — wait — DJ LeMahieu (.329 average, 102 RBI, will have more postseason at-bats than Manny Machado this year), Gleyber Torres (38 HR, 96 runs, wasn’t born when they won in 1996) Aaron Judge (27 HR, 54 RBI in an injury shortened season, presiding judge of the court in the right field bleachers)

Reasons They’ll Win: Despite being a team and franchise steeped in the tradition of winning, something that often trips up teams in the postseason, these Yanks are in large part because of players once overlooked, cast aside, and thrown into the fire. That translates to a whole lotta heart.

Reasons They’ll Lose: There are a lot of questions about their pitching, probably too much. The Astros front three starters are salivating about facing a team with five players with 100 plus strike-outs. There are still too many names hurt or playing hurt. 

Pressure To Win Factor: High. You think George Steinbrenner isn’t still frowning behind his turtleneck from the after life until this team wins again? 2009 is a long, long time ago. 

Most Heroic Player (MHP) Prediction: James Paxton. He won 15 games with a sub-4.00 ERA, but Paxton’s first season in the Bronx will be measured by what he does in October. He’s got a fresh nerve related injury that reports say won’t be a factor. The Yankees are going to need pitching to come through if they’re going to win. Paxton could be the one to lead them. 

Prediction: World Series Champs!


LOS ANGELES DODGERS

106-56

Star Players: Cody Bellinger (47 HR, 1.033 OPS, many employee of the month parking spots), Hyun-Jin Ryu (2.32 ERA, WHIP near 1 flat, now a home run threat), Clayton Kershaw (16 wins, 189 Ks, not as old as his beard makes you think), Max Muncy (35 HR, 98 RBI, one of the best baseball sounding names in the game)

Reasons They’ll Win: Sometimes the team that is the best is the best. Simple answer. No stats needed. The Dodgers have been the best of National League for the past two seasons and this year is looking to be no different. They’ve got pop, the pitching, and also played with a lot of clutch magic throughout the season.

Reasons They’ll Lose: Getting to the World Series three straight seasons is a hard task. No matter what they do to change that, history might not be on their side.

Pressure To Win Factor: Very high. All of the success this organization has enjoyed over not just the last two seasons, but the previous seven seasons, will be a footnote to the bigger story of never winning the title. Ask the Braves. Hell — ask the Buffalo Bills. No one wants that hanging over them. This is the season they need to burn some sage to ward of the ghosts of the past.  

Most Heroic Player (MHP) Prediction: Rich Hill. He’s 39 on a team of young studs and Cy Young contenders. Yet you heard it hear first — that curveball will get some big outs in the fall. 

Prediction: World Series Champs!


MINNESOTA TWINS

101-61

Star Players: Nelson Cruz (41 HR, 108 RBI, almost alive in the 1970s), Eddie Rosario (32 HR, 109 RBI, did not live in the 1970s), Jake Odorizzi (15 wins, 3.51 ERA, spell check required to type his name) 

Reasons They’ll Win: With all eyes on the Astros and Yankees this club quietly went out and won 101 games with an explosive line-up that was the first to cross the 300 home run mark. Can a team with this much going for them be an underdog? I guess so, but no one on that field will be overlooking them. 

Reasons They’ll Lose: If their pitching doesn’t step up and hold those beasts in the east back, then the wait for the long ball offense might be constantly playing catch up. 

Pressure To Win Factor: Low. Notice a theme here. Other teams have the spotlights on them and therefore the higher pressure. The Twins organization needs a win. 1987 and 1991 are not enough for any one in that great city, but not doing it this season isn’t going to break too much of what has been built here.

Most Heroic Player (MHP) Prediction: Mitch Garver. There is just something about Garver and his stat line that reminds me of those slugging catchers of the past. Those Gary Carters, Ted Simmons, and Lance Parrishs of the 1980s that came through in the postseason. Garver and his 31 home runs are one to watch in the Twins run. 

Prediction: World Series Champs!


ATLANTA BRAVES

97-65

Star Players: Freddie Freeman(38 HR, 121 RBI, long sleeve trendsetter), Ronald Acuna Jr (41 HR, 37 Steals, healthy — please be healthy), Mike Soroka (13 wins, 2.60 ERA, young enough to not know you shouldn’t be this good) Josh Donaldson (37 HR, 94 RBI, still an ex-MVP)

Reasons They’ll Win: The Atlanta Braves seem to have the perfect mix of veteran know how and youthful exuberance and that makes them hard to pin down. Though they do like to swing and miss they have a relatively well-balanced attack and the arms to back it up. Yes, this isn’t the 1990s, but that just might be their strength. 

Reasons They’ll Lose: I mean, that’s A LOT of strikeouts on that stat line. 

Pressure To Win Factor: Medium. The organization’s history definitely adds some pressure. The one win in ‘95 flaps in the wind with a sense of pride and a touch of pain.

Most Heroic Player (MHP) Prediction: Austin Riley. Often you look for the aging bench players or pitchers looking for redemption, but we’re predicting Austin Riley will use the postseason to let the entire baseball world that he has arrived.

Prediction: World Series Champs!


ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

91-71

Star Players: Paul Goldschmidt (34 HR, 97 RBI, has ‘gold’ in his name), Jack Flaherty (11 wins, 2.75 ERA, legend has it he didn’t give a run in the second half), Dakota Hudson (16 wins, 3.35 ERA, 1 Save — yeah 1 save), 

Reasons They’ll Win: This a well put together 91 win team. Like an old school team in another era, they’ve got big pop mixed with reliable veterans and two young arms leading their pitching staff. Flaherty went on a historic tear in the second half of the season and if he can keep that going in October that just might be the edge they need.

Reasons They’ll Lose: Stats don’t always tell the full story, but taking a closer look at the line-up reveals not one .300 hitter or OPS above .900 on a full-time basis. Guts and heart are powerful, but still can’t hit a three run homer.

Pressure To Win Factor: Medium. This town expects winners and 2011 was the last big one and this fun team has a lot of names starting to think about what to do after baseball.

Most Heroic Player (MHP) Prediction: Adam Wainwright. Flaherty and Hudson are the young bucks, but Wainwright is ready to remind everyone what he can do in the postseason.

Prediction: World Series Champs!


OAKLAND ATHLETICS

97-65 

Star Players: Marcus Semien (123 runs, 33 HR, spark plug aura), Mike Fiers (15 wins, no-hitter pedigree, beard might be magic), Matt Chapman (36 HR, 91 RBI, described on MLB The Show video game as “intense”.) 

Reasons They’ll Win: I can’t tell you how many times in water cooler conversations that I’ve heard someone say, “But, I’ll tell you what — I’d be afraid of the A’s.” That says something. This collection of Athletics might not have any bash brothers, stern aces, or mullets in the bullpen, but they have a special energy and just might have lulled an entire league to sleep by winning quietly out west after the fish wrap writers went to bed. 

Reasons They’ll Lose: Similar to the Cardinals, their pop might not be as poppy as truly needed in October. If they get past the wild card, a lot of pressure will be on their pitching staff. It’s an underrated staff, but can they stand-up to the glare of the spotlight. 

Pressure To Win Factor: Medium. Every few seasons on Oakland team gets put together that has the skills to win and they don’t — yet no one seems to panic. The organization just rolls on with their Moneyball mindset. Bob Melvin and company deserve the win, but no one will crucify them if they don’t get it.

Most Heroic Player (MHP) Prediction: Terry Steinbach. But since it turns out he’s not playing any more, we’re going with Kris Davis. Did you forget that he hit 48 bombs last season? The postseason baseball gods didn’t.

Prediction: World Series Champs!


TAMPA BAY RAYS

96-66 

Star Players: Charlie Morton (16 wins, 3.05 ERA, used to play for the Astros) Austin Meadows (33 HR, 89 RBI, has a name that sounds like it comes with a sweet sing) Tommy Pham (21 HR, 24 stolen bases, once correctly blasted Tampa’s lack of a fanbase)

Reasons They’ll Win: Do you think they’ll win it all? No, right? Same here. And that’s why they just might do it. They are the whole point of this column. There is a lot to like about this underdog team and things on the field that you can’t measure, especially in October. Watch out, world. 

Reasons They’ll Lose: That said… we’re just not sure the baseball gods want a team in Tampa Bay to win the World Series. 

Pressure To Win Factor: High. If they don’t win perhaps one day soon they’ll be the Montreal-Ottawa-Nashville-Tampa Bay Rays. No one wants that.Winning will help cure all of that.

Most Heroic Player (MHP) Prediction: Willy Adames. There is a good chance that many of your reading this do not know who Willy Adames is. 23 years-old, 20 home runs, 4.2 WAR. Good stuff, but whatever — point is THIS is the kind of player that comes up big when no one in the universe expects it.

Prediction: World Series Champs!


WASHINGTON NATIONALS

93-69

Star Players: Anthony Rendon (34 HR, 126 RBI, free agency looming) Juan Soto (34 HR, 109 RBI, has to celebrate with the clubhouse water), Stephen Strasburg (18 wins, 251 Ks, quietly as good as that hype in the days of old) 

Reasons They’ll Win: If you had to face Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, and Max Scherzer in a short series or stretch, you’d be worried. Yes, they aren’t the Astros front three, but I’d put faith in them. You should too. Also, Rendon, Soto, Robles, Turner, and the rest of the line-up has made everyone in Washington not miss Bryce Harper. This is a great roster for one important month.

Reasons They’ll Lose: The youthful stars could be exposed under pressure. The veterans could age too quickly. The Washington Nationals are going in as a wild card team and that just might make it one step too far to put it all together this year.

Pressure To Win Factor: Medium with a touch of high. The core of this team is in place, but they could lose Rendon and Scherzer’s window is closing. Winning now is still a priority though the future still looks bright.

Most Heroic Player (MHP) Prediction: Adam Eaton.With kids — actual kids – playing around him, Adam Eaton is still a quality bat to count on. He .279 and scored 103 runs. The Nationals will need players like him to step-up just as much as the players getting bigger headlines. Eaton should be up to the challenge.

Prediction: World Series Champs!


MILWAUKEE BREWERS

89-73

Star Players: Christian Yelich (44 HR, .329 avg. and still the most talked about player on this team despite not being able to play), Ryan Braun (22 HR, 75 RBI, still got it), Josh Hader (37 saves, 138 strikeouts in 75.2 innings, most luscious locks in the game) 

Reasons They’ll Win: Magic. Pure magic.That September run was nothing short of impressive and inspirational. Yelich falls and everyone in the organization — from the front office to Ryan Braun to the crew working the left field concession stand — stepped up. They have that kind of momentum going that gets rewarded this time of year. We say “that’s why they play the games” because of teams like this. Let’s see if they can keep going.

Reasons They’ll Lose: No one will be healthy enough to play in the outfield by the time I reach the end of this sentence and the luck will finally have run out.

Pressure To Win Factor: Low. They weren’t supposed to be here at all after Yelich went down. This was the Cubs spot. They’re playing with house money at this point. Sky’s the limit here. Dream big, Brew Crew

Most Heroic Player (MHP) Prediction: The entire roster. Seriously.

Prediction: World Series Champs!

And there you have it — the ONLY postseason preview you need. Happy watching. 


Power Rankings

The baseball week that was

5 – Being So Close

Last week was the 31st anniversary of Jose Canseco founding the 40/40 club and among all of the records and accomplishments bursting out of this season, Ronald Acuna Jr joining the club that only Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriquez, and Alfonso Soriano are in was one of the feats many were looking forward to seeing. His admission into the exclusive club seemed inevitable. 

Then on Tuesday, the bat flipping future of baseball felt a tinge in his left groin and was (correctly) shut down for the remainder of the regular season. The Braves had to do it to fuel their postseason run. Acuna Jr is expected to be ready for the NLDS.

But damn…

Really. Damn. With balls flying out of yards at previously unimaginable rates and strike outs piling up behind those, Acuna — who does his fair share of swinging and missing — was going to accomplish something that still had a mythical aura to it. When Canseco did it, it seemed like a new door had been opened and this would be a barometer of measuring the modern offensive superstar. It proved — to Canseco’s credit — to be a perpetually challenging mark. Even more so now that stolen bases have gone the way of Canseco’s rookie card mustache. Acuna Jr will certainly have another chance to get there, (Soriano was one homer short in 2002 before getting there in 2006.) but, for now, it’s all about being so close

40 home runs. 40 stolen bases. Maybe next year…

4 – Saying Good-bye

King Felix has not retired.

Let’s just make sure the record reflects that. At this point in time, the 33 year-old Felix Hernandez is just set to be a free agent and he will not be hurling for the Mariners any longer.

However, the Major League career that began at 19 years of age in 2005 definitely seems to be winding down and on Wednesday, September 26th, Hernandez was symbolically removed from the game in the sixth inning. 

The hometown faithful showered him with cheers while the tears flowed freely on the mound, in the dugout, and all through out the stadium. As they should. This time of season the fine art of Saying Good-bye is often on display. Veterans with the luxury of knowing their career is coming to a close get the last send off they deserve. The hero going out on their shield. It’s bittersweet at best. Heartbreaking at its core. 

We follow these players from fresh faced rookies with big dreams and raw talent and watch as they slowly transform into the anchors of the teams we love and the sport we follow. During these runs, these amazing careers, we take them for granted as the are the constants that every spring is built around. They are the middle of the line-ups, the anchors of the rotation, and the door slamming arm at the end of the game. Season after season we watch them work and forget that time is marching on. Then, one day, one final game, it’s over. And you look up and find that you are older, too. Time has past for all of us. The Good-bye is baseball’s reminder that this is all finite. Cherish every moment. 

Whether Felix Hernadez throws another pitch or not in this great game, there will definitely be a conversation about him and the Hall of Fame. 169 wins, 3.42 ERA, and 2,521 strike outs are traditional numbers that might not move the needle in another era of voting, but one Cy Young award, a perfect game, two ERA crowns, and the fact that he only three pitchers in the expansion era, Jim Palmer, Pedro Martinez, and Roger Clemens, have had more sub-2.50 ERA seasons than Felix’s three is enough to remind you that he is one of the best and was one of the game’s top arms from 2005 to 2016. Judge them by their stats and the era they dominated. 

But that debate will come another day — for now King Felix has left the throne room and another page in all of our baseball lives has turned. 

3 – The Polar Bear Express

Full disclosure: Pete Alonso is on my fantasy team. Last season my co-owner Corey made it a point to pick up this young slugger in our long running National League-only 5 X 5 keeper league. We grabbed the kid for $2 of delicious FAAB money and waited. He wasn’t called up in September (oh those unsexy business decisions). So we had to wait some more.

The Polar Bear Era began in April and the wait was well worth it. The season put together by Pete Alonso is one for the memory books — just not the record books. A record setting 53 home runs, 120 RBI, and an OPS of just under 1.00 are those traditional numbers that stat heads will look to first, but he had one of those rookie seasons that dot the pages of the game’s history. They are vibrant seasons that transcend the normal measuring methods. Aaron Judge logged one just two seasons ago, but in the past it was seasons like Pujols’ 2001 campaign, Piazza’s 1993 arrival in Dodger blue, Mark “The Bird” Fidrych in ‘76, Fernandomania in ‘81, and Dwight Gooden in ‘84, and Mark McGwire’s 49 in 1987. Jackie Robinson’s 1947 barrier breaking rookie season topping them all. These are the seasons in which a new star arrives and captures the imagination and attention of everyone. Alonso’s 2019 now stands high on the list.

With each opposite field blast, clutch hit, or uniform being ripped off, Alonso kept a frustrating season for Mets’s fans burning bright. 

You can never tell what comes next. More often than not these great rookie seasons are a launching pad to long term excellence. Sometimes they’re not. (That’s another list all together) But the thing is: We don’t have to worry about that right now. The future is just that — the future. For now, let’s enjoy all that Pete Alonso accomplished THIS season. 

2 – The Clinch

As I’m typing this, the Tampa Bay Rays are one strike away from clinching the final spot in the American League wild card race. The players are hanging onto each other at the edge of the dugout. Smiles abound. Anticipation even more so. The road ahead is no doubt full of glory. 

Wind up. The Pitch. Ground ball to first. The Tampa Bay Rays are going to the playoffs. Hug it out, boys. 

The Clinch is one of the more simple, pure, and fun parts of baseball. It’s just fun to watch. September baseball is all about getting to The Clinch. Sometimes it comes early and sometimes it’s in the final at-bat of the season’s final inning, but however you get there The Clinch is the same thing. The Clinch is a celebration of all that has come before. Those drills in spring training. Those long flights to the next city. The loses you thought had buried you. It’s all behind you when you clinch. For you this is the joy of hope. A dance in the morning sun. 

The playoffs are still in your future. As are the possible disappointments and failures that will make that joyous clinch a part of your distant past. But none of that matters in the moment that you punch your ticket to the most important party in town and rush onto the field to join the pile. Pop the cork for the playoffs are here and you have Clinched. 

1-  Marty Brennaman

He called Aaron’s record breaking 714th, Rose’s all-time hit record, Griffey’s 500th and 600th, Halladay’s postseason no-no, and was the voice of the Big Red Machine’s dominance. This season was the final one for Marty Brennaman. THE voice of the Cincinnati Reds. 

Every team or baseball region has “their” voice. The one that becomes the very sounds of summer for all those that tune in. For Reds fans and those baseball fans all across the midwest, Brennaman was one of those legendary voices. His time behind the microphone began in 1974 alongside former major league Joe Nuxhall. Marty and Joe became quite a duo in and out of broadcasts and Brennaman, as mentioned above, was present for several great eras in Red’s baseball and witness to some of the most historic moments in baseball. 

Brennaman was also outspoken and unapologetically in the corner of the Reds. His comments about Cubs fans in 2007 got him in a bit of trouble and in 1988 he was accused of inciting a riot in the stands that delayed a game after Reds manager had a contentious encounter with umpire Dave Pallone. He was very much himself. He was very much Cincinnati. 

Brennaman retired after 46 seasons in the booth leaving behind season after season of great calls and stories that will remain in the ears and hearts of so many fans. It’s another great voice walking into the sunset. Cherish these voices of summer. These custodians of our daily escapes into those fields of dreams. For this week, for this column’s ranking, “This one belongs to the Reds.” 

Thanks, Marty.

In the Bullpen…

Quick thoughts on the week ahead.

* Joe Maddon and Clint Hurdle are no longer leading the Cubs and Pirates respectively. Andy Green was asked to pack up his belongings by Padres last week. And that’s just as of this writing. The end of the season chopping block is here. Where will it slice next? I had a long conversation with a Met fan this weekend who provided a lot of reasons for Mickey Callaway to be gone come the winter. Yet he also had a lot of reasons for staying around to build on some of the highlights that took place this year. Ausmus in Anaheim, Kapler in Philly, and maybe even Dave Roberts in Los Angeles if they can’t take home the title. (Which doesn’t seem fair, but that’s the way of it.) This week we can turn our eyes to major league job board as the skippers in the dugout are held to the flames for the sins on the field. 

* Don’t worry about anything else this week. It’s the playoffs. Let’s enjoy it. 

This week in baseball history…

Every season on or around October 1st some mention or write-up about Roger Maris hitting his 61st home run will appear. As it should. Any baseball fan who has hung around for more than a couple of innings knows the story of 61* in 1961. Maris and Mantle went beat for beat in pursuit of the Babe’s seemingly impossible to break single season home run record. The world was behind the living legend Mantle, but it was the quiet, serious, misunderstood and overlooked Maris that hit the record breaking shot of Red Sox hurler Tracy Stallard on October 1st, 1961. 

For better or worse. Often worse. 

Roger Maris went through torment inside and out, lost hair, faced the scorn and suggested asterisk of commissioner and former Ruth cohort Ford C Frick. His 1962 was All-Star worthy, but the toll had been taken. By 1968, following two final seasons in St. Louis, Maris was gone from the game. As bigger headlines and records rolled out in an ever — sometimes slow — changing game, Maris himself seemed to become an asterisk. As if one player just happened to get lucky one season. 

Well that’s just not true. Maris was a two-time MVP. A key part of the vaunted Yankee dynasty. And he earned his spot in that batter’s box in 1961. This October 1st, don’t just relive a historic moment, remember the player that paid the price for his place in history.  


Remember when… 

… the wild card was new?

And I hated it. Good chance one of your Uncle’s did as well. The shady guy running your local baseball card shop probably did too between unsealing wax packs to swipe Chipper Jones rookie cards. The wild card was brand new in 1994 and was going to make it too damn easy to get into the postseason for purists. You should have to eeeeeearrrn it, you see? 

Look, change is hard. Especially so for baseball fans. And the sport was going through some important changes in the mid-90s. A new round of expansion, interleague play, and the wild card were at the forefront of these changes while a new round of labor unrest was simmering in the background and a bevy future stars were arriving on the scene. This hadn’t happened to this degree since the late sixties when — you guessed it — a new round of playoffs and teams were introduced while a new generation of stars arrived on the scene. The cries then were the same as 1994. More playoff teams would water it all down. 

The strike delayed it. Cleveland and Atlanta would have been the first wild cards had the standings on August 11th, 1994 stayed as is. 1995 would be the first time the wild card would become a reality and the honor went to the Yankees and Rockies. 

I was a Yankee fan. Suddenly this didn’t seem so bad. 

The Rockies ran into the Atlanta Braves buzz saw but the Yankees met the Mariners and the first ever American League Division Series featuring a wild card team became an instant classic. Don Mattingly touched postseason infield dirt, the longest playoff game ever in terms of playing time (then) was decided on a Jim Leyritz blast into the old Yankee Stadium seats, and the first three playoff games ever played in Seattle played host to one of the best comebacks ever that culminated with The Double that helped keep baseball in Seattle. 

In one series the concept of the wild card went from a mere curiosity and challenge to the Old Way to a stage full of drama, tension, and heroics fit for the history books. Yes, both wild cards lost that season, but their very presence there didn’t seem wrong. It was still the postseason. In 1997, an Edgar Renteria line drive nearly took off Charles Nagy’s ear and a wild card team took home the World Series trophy for the first time to cement this fact. 

Of course, above all, the true desired effect of the wild card — and now wild cards — was to give more teams a chance to pursue a spot in the postseason and all the extra trappings that come with that. The fan interest, extra revenue, and that touch of prestige to help make it all worthwhile. As this season winds down and you watch the excitement in Tampa Bay, Oakland, Washington, and Milwaukee, you can’t deny that not only is wild card very much part of the game, it’s one of the best additions since that old senior circuit that National League agreed to take on those rowdy upstarts in the American League to determine the real world’s champion. 


Walk Off Quote

“I can honestly say it took two full years for me to get over the fact that I was no longer a baseball player.” – Nolan Ryan

***

Ken Napzok cried when Edgar Martinez hit that double down the line to end Don Mattingly’s playing career but is the author of Why We Love Star Wars and host of The Napzok Files podcast feed. 

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