For some reason, I am not excited about this year’s playoffs as I have been in past years. Perhaps it’s because of the way the Cards played this year. There were times this past season where the team played great and other times where they played horribly. The Cards were terribly inconsistent this year, for reasons that others have written about and I won’t rehash here. It’s hard to stay interested in baseball too when your husband, who owns the remote, would rather watch reruns of Everyone Loves Raymond, NCIS, or The Big Bang Theory than Cards baseball and only flips over to the game during the commercial breaks of the aforementioned shows. When this occurs, I keep up with the game via Twitter. I may also not be excited about the playoffs (and baseball in general) because of what has been going on in my personal life this year. It’s hard to be interested in baseball when life is chaotic. But I digress.
You may recall that the Cards entered the playoffs as the wild card last year and they went all the way to win the World Series. Now that we have finally gotten used to (and sort of liked) the wild card format, MLB throws us a curve and gives us the 2 wild card team format, in which the 2 teams with the best records after the division winners play each other in a “play-in” game to get the chance to play a division winner in the NLDS. Confused yet? LOL!
Thanks to this new twist in the wild card scenario, even though the Cards finished second in the NL Central, they now have the chance to be the wild card and play in this year’s playoffs. That’s why the title of this post is Coming in through the back door. If it weren’t for the play-in game, the season would be over by now. We bloggers would be looking forward to the 2013 season. We would be discussing how to improve the team next season. If the Cards lose on Friday, the review of this season and speculation about next season will begin in short order, I’m sure.
So let’s discuss this play-in game. Is it game 163 of the regular season? It doesn’t count in the season standings, so it can’t be. Is it part of the playoffs? The Cards will play the Braves for the chance to play in the playoffs, so it’s not. It’s a game in limbo, hanging between the regular season and the playoffs.
Which team will go on and which team will go home? The Braves have the momentum. They have won 20 of their last 30 games. And this is Chipper Jones’s final shot at the playoffs before he retires, so there’s always that “let’s win it for Chipper” mentality. The Cards, however, have experience at being the wild card. Most of the players on the 2011 World Series championship team are with this year’s model. They know the pressure of winning and the joy of winning the whole shebang. They want to repeat. So who will win Friday’s game? We can speculate and dissect things all we want, but we won’t know for sure until after the final out.
MLB has swiped the NCAA’s Final Four bracket format and developed a bracket for this year’s playoffs. You can find it here if you’re interested in seeing it. I would have liked to have printed the bracket, but it would have taken all the black ink in my printer’s little black ink tank. Oh well.
Hope you enjoyed reading! See you next time!