From my latest article at WorldMag.com:
The Kansas City Royals made the playoffs this year for the first time since 1985, and then swept the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the team with major league baseball’s best record, to advance to the American League Championship Series.
The Baltimore Orioles won the American League East, the division that has been baseball’s best over the past decade, and then promptly knocked off the Detroit Tigers and the last three AL Cy Young Award winners in three-straight games to move on to the ALCS.
Matt Adams, the St. Louis Cardinals’ lumbering lefty first baseman, hit a hanging curveball off of Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw for a go-ahead three-run homer to put the Cards into the National League Championship Series. It was the first time a lefty major leaguer has ever gone deep on a Kershaw curveball.
The San Francisco Giants rolled into the NLCS with the same quiet excellence they have exhibited for years, defeating the Washington Nationals through execution and pitching instead of star power and flash.
Baseball’s postseason exemplifies everything that fans love about the game.
. . .
Among the greatest aspects of these playoffs is the excitement of two beleaguered fan bases, those of Kansas City and Baltimore. After years of futility, disappointment, and embarrassment, one of these two teams soon will capture the AL pennant and play in the World Series. No matter how it ends up, their fans have memories and excitement and optimism.
In the National League, the opposite happened.
. . .