The Conference Championships are tough.
On hand, they’re probably more exciting than the World Series. If you’re unsure on that, think of the Conference Championships in the NFL and use that logic. There’s something about the desperation to get to a World Series that’s more enthralling than what actually happens there.
I suppose, once you’re there, you’re remembered in history forever. If you fall now, it’s like the good you created during the entire regular season counted for nothing.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to potentially 14 games of baseball than even the casual viewer can become addicted to.
This is tension – this is baseball.
NLCS Preview: St. Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals
As of right now, the Nats are a game ahead.
But not only a game ahead, they outhit the Cards 10-1, which is a really worrying sign for Mike Shildt and co.
Potentially worrying for the viewer is that this series might fall victim of the magnitude of the other. While no game this late in the MLB season can be meaningless, its overall impact struggles to match that of its ALCS counterpart.
Many will look at the winner of this series as mere cannon fodder for the big two, but the Nats and Cards will prove that mediocrity meeting mediocrity can produce parity.
Indeed, both teams have overcome obstacles to get here and that narrative is meaningful in and of itself. It’s just many will require something special from one of these teams to genuinely make the World Series worth getting excited about.
However, if we go down that road and see a 4-0 sweep (that’s on the cards – no pun intended – at time of writing), then the entire series has been nothing short of lacklustre in the first place.
It’s hard to sell. But the core element of baseball simply isn’t to sell it – just to exist. For too long, the 162-game marathon has been misinterpreted as a means of entertainment. It may be the American pastime, but it’s also a competitive sport between athletes who crave nothing more than this.
The key matchup is projected for game three – a clash of Cy Young hopefuls: Strasburg v Flaherty. Given my believe in momentum coming from your ace – whoever wins that, wins the series.
The Nationals are -135 to pick up their third win of the series tonight with CanPlay.
ALCS Preview: Houston Astros v New York Yankees
In so many ways, we will look at the conference system and say it deprives us of a World Series consisting of the two best teams.
For many, this is the World Series in all but name – and even if you debate that, you certainly won’t argue that the Yanks and the Astros is the series you’ve wanted from the start of the postseason.
The Astros are in a position to rattle off consecutive World Series, minus last year’s blip against Boston in this very series. But those Red Sox have been negotiated. Now we see the best hitting team in baseball against the best team in baseball. Yes, technically Boston may have had the best record, but I’m not sure anyone could deprive these Astros of that moniker.
How the trifecta of Verlander, Greinke and Cole contain the top of that Yankees order is the big story coming into this.
At least, that’s unless you’re in that Astros lineup.