Whenever October rolls around there is always a different atmosphere in the air. The leaves are falling, it is starting to cool down and the football is in full force-but before the national pastime is put to hibernation, a champion must be crowned.
Like the Dane Cook has said in the past, there is only one October. Four teams from two leagues come together to resolve the last six months of grueling play, but as different as the national media will lead you to believe this baseball is, it is still the same game. Same rules, same players, same game.
It seems like as soon as the calendar flips to October, baseball changes completely. Television analysts throw out all of the common sense that they have learned and start using a completely different set of guidelines on how to break down what is happening in front of them.
For starters, take statistics. The regular season statistics are not shown in post-season broadcasts. Instead of just using the numbers from the regular season, which represent an accurate description of what kind of player they presently are, they give all the players a clean slate. So if Player A is 1-for-11 in post season play and Player B is 7-for-8, the former is going to be recognized as a bad player, while the latter will be praised for a heroic October performance. This sample size is absolutely ludicrous, and if it was used in a regular season context, it would have zero credibility.
Something that the national media loves to talk about is experience-but does experience really matter? What about the 1968 Mets? The 1997 Marlins? Even the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays are four wins away from going worst to first. The list of teams with very little experience, but still able to perform in October goes on.
Teams that do well in the post-season do it for one reason. They do not care what month it is. They do no let pressure get to them. They realize that this is the same game they have been playing since they were little kids and these games are no different than the ones that they played in April. Good teams play good baseball no matter what the situation.
Why do people like Jayson Stark pick teams like the Angels to win the World Series over the American League East Rays or Redsox? If only baseball writers could look a little closer. The Angels played 46 percent of their regular season against three of the worst teams in baseball that call the American League West home. Texas had the next best record in the division at 79-83, four games under .500. That is pretty pathetic considering the Rays and Redsox played all year against the AL East who only had one team under .500. As for the National League not one of ESPN’s eighteen baseball experts picked the Philidelphia Phillies to go to the World Series.
A lot of writers choose predictions based on nothing but childish nostalgia and what would make their stories easier to write. Just because the Cubs have not won in a hundred years, does not mean that they are going to win, no matter how round that number sounds. Just because it would be great to write about Manny Ramirez and Joe Torre heading back to Fenway for the World Series, does not mean that it is going to happen. Predictions should be based on in-depth analysis of teams, not off of silly storylines.
So while the post-season is great, the coverage is not always the greatest. Always watch baseball objectively. The truth is out there, you just have to do the math.