100 reasons we love the MLB playoffs
The Tigers flopped, the Yankees spent and spent and spent, the Mets choked (again), the Mariners disappeared and the Pirates finished last.
But we don't care about those teams. We're excited about the eight teams playing for a World Series trophy. And we're going to love every minute of October baseball. Here are 100 reasons why:
1. The possibility that Steve Bartman might finally be forgiven.
2. Because we love us some Chone Figgins.
J. Meric/Getty Images
If you translate Kazmir's AL East stats to the Mets he would have been 23-0 with a 0.98 ERA.
4. The possibility of Jacoby Ellsbury's scoring on a wild pitch from second base.
5. To see whether Garth Iorg really is the change of pace at the third-base coaching position the Brewers needed.
6. To see the expression on Brad Lidge's face if he has to face Prince Fielder with the game on the line.
7. K-Rod versus Big Papi bottom of the ninth. Sox down one. One runner on.
8. Dodgers fans so excited by the postseason that they stay until the seventh-inning stretch.
9. Not having to listen to Ronan Tynan this year.
10. To see whether Jim Edmonds, washed up in April with the Padres, will provide that key lefty bat in a Cubs lineup filled with righties.
11. Believe it or not -- man cannot live by Brett Favre alone.
12. No mentions of Brett Favre.
13. Well, fewer mentions of Brett Favre at least.
14. For the lesson of Jamie Moyer: Old people still have value in our society.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
You can still have a gun of an arm with the paunch -- just ask Michael Cuddyer (and Peyton Manning).
16. The sight of 45,000 new caps and T-shirts during Game 1 of the ALDS.
17. To see a historical postseason home run poetically clank off the Tropicana Field catwalk.
18. To see whether Ryan Howard can continue his sick September: .352 batting average, 11 HRs, 32 RBIs, .852 slugging percentage.
19. To see whether anyone will actually recognize the fact that the best player on the Phillies is Chase Utley.
20. Knowing that every Vlad Guerrero at-bat is an event.
21. Knowing that you don't want to touch the top of Vlad's batting helmet.
22. The oddly hypnotic music made by the Red Sox Bullpen Band.
23. The chance to see Carlos Zambrano (.337, 4 HRs) hit off CC Sabathia and CC Sabathia (.235, 2 HRs) hit off Carlos Zambrano.
24. [Insert player here] is batting .023 lifetime against [insert pitcher here] on the screen seconds before a home run.
25. The great Jim Thome with the chance to finally win one after 18 years on the job.
26. Because we now can buy Rocktober gear on the cheap.
Joe Corrigan/Getty Images
If Wade isn't going to arrive on horseback, then he shouldn't arrive at all.
To see the TV cameras pan to Derek Jeter's parents in the stands.
29. To see the cast of "Bones" or "House" frowning in the stands about being sent from Hollywood to Milwaukee for a few seconds of promotional face time.
30. To marvel at the majesty of Daisuke Matsuzaka's rocking windup, the sweeping beauty of his curveball, the darting madness of his sinker, the 3-2 count on every batter he faces, the 100-pitch total by the fifth inning, the guaranteed four-hour game whenever he starts.
31. In hopes the cool autumn air will cause Charlie Manuel to wear more layers.
32. Because it means we officially made it through the regular season without Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens.
33. To see Greg Maddux one more time in a big game, in which maybe he'll throw 47 pitches in six innings like he did in his final start of the regular season.
34. Because the path to a World Series title for the Dodgers or the Red Sox might go through Eric Gagne.
34. Two words: Rays tradition.
35. Asking the guy next to you whether he knows how many Octobers there are right before that Randy Jackson ad comes on.
36. Ozzie Guillen.
37. Any day game in Philly (that means the alternate unis -- the best in the game).
38. Any time a team is down 0-3 and the graphic appears that starts, "The last team to come back from a 3-0 deficit "*
*Insufferable Red Sox fans only
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Nothing says you're a pure baseball fan quite like banging plastic balloons together.
40. Thinking the cowbells are pretty cool after Evan Longoria hits a big home run.
41. Because if we're lucky, during a Brewers game, we'll get a Gorman Thomas highlight montage.
42. Wondering whether Mike Scioscia will dare to bring in Francisco Rodriguez before the ninth inning. K-Rod did not enter before the ninth once all season, but the past three World Series winners have used their closers for more than one-inning stints. In 2007, all four of Jonathan Papelbon's postseason saves were more than an inning; in 2006, Adam Wainwright saved three games and won another in which he pitched more than one inning; in 2005, two of Bobby Jenks' four saves were more than an inning.
43. To wonder exactly what the heck Ryan Dempster is doing with his hands as he begins his windup.
44. Bernie Brewer versus the Phillie Phanatic: Quien Es Mas Macho?
45. Seeing millionaires sweat it out (emotionally and physically) on a 52-degree night.
46. Scott Kazmir's electric stuff. Seriously, Victor Zambrano.
47. The possibility that A.J. Pierzynski might decide to brawl with somebody for no reason in the sixth inning of a playoff game.
48. Any delay that prompts footage of The Bug Game.
49. Lou Piniella's veins in HD during any play that doesn't go the Cubs' way.
50. To watch Carlos Marmol (.098 average allowed versus right-handed hitters) stare down Manny Ramirez in the eighth inning of a tie game with two runners on base.
51. Because we're going to keep track of how many times the announcers call Dustin Pedroia "scrappy."
52. The leading team looking like it'll never lose and the losing team looking like it'll never win -- until one play changes all that.
53. To see whether we'll get a Phillies-Dodgers NLCS, rekindling memories of the 1977 and 1978 playoffs and Greg Luzinski's miscue, Bake McBride's hair, Black Friday, Ron Cey, Garry Maddox's misplay and Steve Garvey's forearms.
54. To see whether the Brewers go with a rotation of Sabathia and Sabathia and pray for rain.
55. Singing "Sweet Caroline" in the auxiliary press box.
Steve Grayson/Getty Images
Go ask Barry Bonds and the 2002 Giants what happens when you don't fear the Monkey.
57. In hopes that Scooter the talking baseball will come back to finally explain to us what this "curve" ball thing is that we keep hearing about.
58. Because Ned Yost invited us over to watch the games at his house.
59. We need something to watch on the one or two nights a week football isn't on -- and America's pastime will do!
60. Because the Dodgers have the worst record of the playoff teams, but they might have the best 1-2 starting pitcher duo: veteran righty Derek Lowe, who went 14-11 with a 3.24 ERA; and 24-year-old righty Chad Billingsley, who went 16-10 with a 3.14 ERA and ranked third in the NL in strikeouts per nine innings.
61. For the chance to see J.D. Drew prove he really is clutch for the second year in a row!
62. Shadows creeping across infields earlier and earlier.
63. Because we'll laugh ourselves silly when CC is inevitably referred to as "a mountain of a pitcher," even though at his listed weight of 290 pounds, he'd be too small to play offensive line in the NFL.
64. Because there's no better way to grow a child's love for the game than to make him or her stay up watching games until 1 a.m. for
three four consecutive weeks.
65. Carlos Pena, the sweet-swinging, nice-guy first baseman no one wanted, hitting a game-winning homer to win a series.
66. Because Bernie Brewer is one of the last American-owned brewers.
67. The emergence of the "Rayhawk."
68. Seeing the good, bad and ugly versions of Manny Being Manny. But, hopefully, mostly the good.
69. Knowing we will get at least three double-feature news conferences starring Dale Sveum and Charlie Manuel.
70. Ozzie Guillen's face melting off after the bullpen blows Game 1 of the ALDS.
71. Cole Hamels' fastball/changeup combo.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
After missing the playoffs for 26 years, Brewers fans will take anyone on the mound.
73. Thinking for 162 games that being a manager is easy, then realizing how easily a manager can screw up your team's chances.
74. Those ridiculous bets the city mayors make with each other.
75. The passive-aggressive smirk on Joe Torre's face when he is asked about the Yankees.
76. Because, hey, who doesn't want to hear a new tune by Kevin Costner?
77. Watching the ivy change colors at Wrigley.
78. "Frank TV" is back!
79. The inevitable Bill Murray interview. Seriously. We can't wait. The guy was great in "Lost in Translation," but he's really in top form during those live TV interviews. Did you know he's a big Cubs fan?
80. Important games being played right after your lunch break.
81. To hear the phrase "Harvey's Wallbangers" meaningfully invoked for the first time in 26 years.
82. To watch an October in which A-Rod has a legitimate excuse for going hitless.
83. The possibility of Josh Beckett's pulling a Willis Reed, followed by a Josh Beckett.
84. Because perhaps we finally will learn exactly how Anaheim is in Los Angeles.
To see Fox executives leap for joy when the Rays meet the Brewers in the World Series.
86. Because maybe this year we'll get a seven-game World Series.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
"Come on! How many times is the hot dog guy going to ignore me? Dude! Right here!"
88. Because there is nothing else of national significance going on right now.
89. For the chance to tell our grandkids that we saw Ryan Howard set the single-season playoff record for strikeouts.
90. The dependable consistency of seeing the Yankees playing in Octo -- uh, never mind.
91. Because we were running out of Mets bullpen jokes anyway.
92. A packed Dodger Stadium going nuts for a Manny Ramirez game-winning homer.
93. A packed Wrigley Field going nuts for a Carlos Zambrano masterpiece.
94. A packed Citizens Bank Park going nuts for a Jimmy Rollins bases-clearing triple.
95. A packed Miller Park going nuts for a CC Sabathia shutout.
96. A packed Fenway Park going nuts for Jonathan Papelbon closing out a win.
97. A packed U.S. Cellular Field going nuts for a Jermaine Dye home run.
98. A packed Tropicana Field going nuts for Grant Balfour striking out the side.
99. A packed Angel Stadium going nuts for K-Rod entering in the top of the ninth.
100. To see how the Cubs will detonate the hearts of their fans this season or to see whether Kerry Wood can erase the memories of 1998, the elbow injury of 1999, the Game 7 start in 2003 and the years of DL stints and be on the mound, leaping for joy, when the Cubs finally win the World Series.
Jim Caple, DJ Gallo, Michael Philbrick, Thomas Neumann, Kieran Darcy, Jonah Keri, Paul Lukas and David Schoenfield contributed to this list.
CUBS TO WIN WORLD SERIES
A century of failure will be history on the North Side of Chicago because the Cubs will be the champions in 2008. Jayson Stark
• Our experts pick the playoffs
• Watch: Life of Reilly -- Cubs buzzkill
• Scoop Jackson: A city roots for its favorite child
• Jerry Crasnick: Ranking 1-2-3 playoff starters
• Page 2: Loving the postseason
• Drehs: Cubs remain optimistic