A Wild (Card) World Series Awaits
October 20, 2014

It's not so much that the Dodgers aren't playing for a national championship (I'm not over it, but I've almost come to terms with it). It's not even so much that the Giants are in it (I was okay with it in 2010, a little less in 2012, and can't deal with it at all now). It's that the Giants didn't even belong in the playoffs in the first place! If it wasn't for that second wild card spot, added just a couple of years ago, they would be sitting at home where they should be.

At least the Kansas City Royals were the number one Wild Card team in the American League, wouldn't have had to play the A's under previous rules, would have faced the Angels anyway, and things would have gone on from there. It's still a little wrong that neither of these teams won their division, but one of them in a week or so will be calling themselves champions.

It's too late to go into a long diatribe about the wild card. Baseball added it in 1994 (that's right, 20 years ago). We didn't get to see in action until 1995 after the baseball strike was settled, but everyone seems to love it, and claims that it adds more attention later in the season. I suppose that's somewhat true, but if you want to keep all the fans from all the teams involved, have everyone make the playoffs. Of course, then you have the NBA and the regular season would become meaningless. At least baseball hasn't sunk to that level just yet.

While struggling with the fact that a runner-up will somehow be crowned king of baseball, it would be more appropriate that we (I) focus more on the games themselves, and the storylines. The Giants are in their third World Series in five years, the Royals haven't been since 1985 (incidentally, another horrible postseason for the Dodgers, facing the Cardinals. Do the names Jack Clark, Ozzie Smith, and Tom Niedenfuer ring a bell?). The Royals are unbeaten in the post-season, and could become the first team to have to play more than seven post-season games to go through undefeated. The Royals also swept a three-game series against San Francisco in Kansas City in August. Another sweep perhaps?

Plenty of individual storylines to come. Panda? Posey? Panik? Peavy? Or maybe the non-alliterative guys like Butler, Cain, Hosmer, or Shields? Ned Yost or Bruce Bochy? The City or the Heartland?

Maybe they don't deserve the spotlight, but they're here, and they won the required games to make it. Play ball.

One for the books: Sunday night, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning set a new NFL record for most touchdowns in a career with 509, breaking the mark previously held by Brett Favre. It would be a little absurd to think of Manning as overrated, considering his longevity, and that he is in every commercial on television, but this is the way it oughtta be. Manning never talks trash, or is in the headline for anything off the field, and just loves to play the game. And what's really amazing is he's one of the few sports superstars that are like that. Another great thing about that record? He did it against the Niners! (at least something an LA fan can smile about).

You're (not) lookin' live: If you watch college football, you've probably noticed the absence of ESPN/ABC's Brent Musberger. He is off the ABC prime time telecast, but not by choice. The Worldwide Leader assigned Musberger to the brand new ESPN-owned SEC network, and does a game a week. It's assumed the 75 year-old Musberger was put on the new channel to give it some credibility, but one has to wonder why a sportscasting legend would be shuffled off to cable purgatory. Chris Fowler does the prime time games, including Florida State-Notre Dame on Saturday, with Brent's old partner Kirk Herbstreit.

The big one: Friday was the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake that interrupted the World Series, knocked down a span of the Bay Bridge, flattened the Cypress Structure in Oakland, and killed 63 people. Anyone who was anywhere near that area (I was in Chico) or remembers that day, should check out an ESPN documentary called 'The Day the Series Stopped'. There's footage you've seen a thousand times, and some you've never seen before, and the stories are not just about baseball, but about local heroes who survived, or saved others. I found the show by accident, but it was a gripping hour.

I found out through Facebook that an old high school friend Ron Garcia passed away suddenly over the weekend. Ron was a senior when I was a freshman, but was somehow one of those people that everyone liked, regardless of age, gender, grade, or whatever clique or group you hung out with. I never really understood why that was, but I guess it was just because Ron liked people. He would introduce himself, and say “Hi, I'm Ron and I'm running for President of the United States in 2004”. That was in 1979, and you laughed, but you also wouldn't have been surprised if it actually happened. I haven't kept in touch, but he was probably the first new person I met in high school, and he had a profound impact on me. He will be missed.

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