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Loving The Playoffs Even Without the A's

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Well, it’s a rare occasion in this sport when things work out exactly the way you want them to. If that held true more often, the A’s would win the Series every year, Francisco Rodriguez would regularly embarrass himself on the mound, and rats would invade Angels’ Stadium.

Okay, just the first one then.

But since the start of the playoffs, October has gone almost exactly as I hoped it would. I picked the Rockies to beat the Phillies, and after that impressive sweep, I picked them to sweep Arizona as well. This happened on the strength of a 20 of 21 run, which has vaulted the Rockies to the World Series for the first time in franchise history.

On the other side of the National League, I really thought it might be the Cubs’ year. I never thought they were actually better than the Diamondbacks, but I thought they could win three games. Apparently, they couldn’t even win one. They were outmatched in every way, which turned out to be fine; because I have discovered that I really don’t like Carlos Zambrano.

Over in the American League, things were even sweeter. I didn’t ask much; just that the Angels would be bounced from the playoffs as quickly as possible, with humiliating losses for Lackey and Rodriguez. I thought Boston was the one AL team that could accomplish this, and it doesn’t get much better than what actually happened. Not only did Lackey get shown up by Beckett in a losing cause to drop game one, but K-Rod was on the mound to give up quite possibly one of the most impressive game-winning playoff homeruns ever, and got to watch as someone else, for a change, celebrated his baseball awesomeness.

I have mixed feelings about the last series. I wanted Cleveland to win, because; hey, it’s the Yankees, and also because they never do. It was nice to see pitchers like Sabathia and Carmona get some credit, instead of the all-Wang channel. That sentence did not type well. But I did want A-rod to be more of a success than he was; if for no other reason than to show up the New York media. Give credit to the Yankees though; they were the only losing team in the division series to even win one game.

And now, on the brink of the World Series, we see Cleveland just one win away from knocking off both AL East powerhouses in impressive fashion, and advancing to a showdown with the Rockies. I’m not a huge Cleveland fan, but I can’t not be right now. How can you begrudge a team anything when they emerge as winners from a pool that included the Angels, the Yankees, and the Red Sox?

I accept full responsibility for any jinx, but it looks like it will be Cleveland and Colorado in the World Series, and all I’ve heard from the national media is how terrible this is for baseball ratings. Sure, I agree; who wouldn’t watch another Yankees/Red Sox showdown in the ALCS, but by the same token, why are the playoffs limited to those teams? Why can’t Colorado’s success story be enough for even a casual baseball fan? Why isn’t Cleveland being lauded with praises by fans everywhere; fans of small-market baseball who still want to believe that their team has a chance every year, even with minimal radio coverage, limited TV appearances, and no money or superstars?

I think these playoffs have been awesome. And while I’m not arguing that they are good for TV ratings--with all of the short series, lesser-known teams, etc--I have loved them all the same. I would welcome a Rockies/Indians World Series, and I would watch every game.

Am I alone?