Kasey Anderson recently called in to the radio show and talked briefly about what his dad told him concerning baseball:
- Don’t look at the standings for a while.
- Check around the trade deadline.
- After the trade deadline look every day.
I am paraphrasing (for Kasey’s exact phrasing check out Ky Sports Guys Show 79). But the point is that the time to check the standings is now. And that is fun. Especially if you follow a team in the race.
As a Pirates fan, I have spent many years with little need to check. but over the past eight, I have at least had the pleasure of looking well into August if not September.
Which is a blessing because being a fan in the midst of a pennant race is one of the greatest things I know.
I often say that comparison is the thief of joy and it is, so my intent is not to necessarily compare baseball to other sports to prove it is better. But, by way of contrasting, I do hope to emphasize what makes a pennant race unique.
First, few baseball teams make the playoffs. Only 10 of the 30 get in. And 4 are sentenced to a one game do-or-die play in game. So the actual number of teams who get an actual series is eight. Of the four major sports, baseball is the most selective. Which makes the pennant race (or playoff hunt) all the more exciting.
Second, baseball is every day. many people bemoan the fact. But, in its dailiness, the waning games of the season become impactful and suspenseful. A three game series between contenders become must watch viewing and every pitch is a “hold your breath” kind of event.
Third, each team is playing for a chance to win the World Series. Getting in, means a legit chance to win it all. This is somewhat true in the NFL or NHL but usually not. And it is definitely not true of the NBA. In fact, most of the playoff teams in the league are merely NBA versions of the Washington Generals.
So, as my underdog Pirates try to use these last 50 games to get in the playoffs, I look forward to the daily grind of it. My cupboard is stocked with popcorn, my grill is ready for brats and dogs. And the cold drinks are in the fridge. For the next couple of months if you are looking for me, I’ll be glued to a TV, tucked away somewhere at home. But, it’s OK. I have a real case of Pennant fever.