October 01, 2002

Strike? What Strike?: The magic of baseball's September makes fans forget the dark days of late August

The national pastime did it again to the fans. It made us mad as hell with the players strike within hours of becoming reality on August 30, then sprung the great Western races in both leagues to seduce us again into loving the game. A month ago, I was microscopically close to considering baseball dead to me if the players walked off the job. Pundits said that the sport would never recover if the strike came, and the night before the strike saw fans' emotions finally sway the powers that be in baseball to do the right thing for once. That would have been enough to satisfy me, but then the Angels and A's just had to have a classic race to the finish in the AL West. With all apolgies to the Yankees and Twins, I'd be happy to skip the Divisional Playoffs and put Anaheim and Oakland in the AL Championship series and pray for a seven game masterpiece. Chances are we'll get that prayer answered. As for the NL West, the last week was full of drama, with the sudden collapse of the Diamondbacks leading to a exciting final week that saw the Dodgers and Giants get into the hunt at the eleventh hour. While the D'backs eventually won the title, and the Giants captured the wildcard, the Dodgers became the best team not in the playoffs this year. As for the postseason, the Twins are clearly the sentimental favorite to win it all, followed by the Giants. For once, the sentimental favorites have a great chance to win it all. Then there is the story of Barry Bonds. Can he put to an end the postseason demons once and for all and have a great post-season? And what about the Braves? Can Bobby Cox having John Smoltz in the bullpen and Gary Sheffield in the outfield finally end the curse of the postseason? Whatever the outcome, it looks as if the fans might be getting not just a postseason after all, but a great one. Maybe I end up looking foolish in the end, but we can hope for a great October. So the sport that had so many ready to dump it for NASCAR, the WNBA, and the MLS once again reminds us why we love it so much. Forget the owners and players greed, forget the mismanagement and poor public relations, and forget the fact that baseball was at its darkest point just a month ago: baseball has once again weaved its magic and given us a great reason to watch the postseason this October. To paraphrase the great Mark Twain, rumors of baseball's imminent demise were greatly exagerated. Let's hope that Bud Selig and Donald Fehr have learned their lessons and listen to the fans from now on.

posted by jasonbondshow to commentary at 01:54 PM - 0 comments

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