MLB playoffs excite the nation

MLB playoffs excite the nation

Tyler Grove

The Tigers and Giants will fight in the 2012 World Series.

Robert Sweeney, staff writer

Sorry Carlsbad, another year we watched our San Diego Padres fail to make a run at the crown. A sub-par second half of the season was not enough for the Padres after their lackluster start. However, the rest of baseball has been a blast to watch.

Since the beginning of the playoffs on Oct. 4, Major League Baseball fans are ranting and raving about the surprises and excitement. From questionable calls to thrilling ninth-inning comebacks, spectators have witnessed what many are considering to be the most interesting year of playoffs yet.

The 2012 playoffs implemented a new system, where ten teams enter instead of eight. Four of these teams were supposed to play another in a one game series. Controversy erupted the first day when the Atlanta Braves lost potential game-tying runs when an “infield fly” was called by umpire Sam Hoolbrook. Replay clearly showed the call was incorrect, ending the Braves season and sending the St. Louis Cardinals to the next round. Although controversial by umpire judgement, the one-game series proved entertaining and successful.

The second round of the playoffs made history. All four series concluded in their maximum five games, a first-time event for the league fighting for the prized World Series crown.

In the National League, the San Francisco Giants surprised everyone by coming back after being down by two games and winning their series against the Cincinnati Reds. The Cardinals shocked the Washington Nationals with a six-run comeback in the ninth to win. It was the first time a playoff baseball game was played in the nation’s capital since the 1930’s.

In the American League, the Detroit Tigers, who many believe underachieved in the regular season (they made the playoffs with two games remaining), beat the Oakland Athletics. Many rooted for Oakland due to manager Billy Beane and his story made famous by the movie Moneyball.

The New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles, a battle between division rivals. Many preseason polls predicted Baltimore at the bottom of the league standings. They surprised all by making the playoffs and taking the Yankees to the brink of elimination.

The pennants featured the past three World Series winners. The Cardinals, winners of last year’s title, would face off against San Francisco, winners of the 2010 championship. The Yankees, victorious in 2009, would battle the Tigers, longing for their first title in over 30 years.

The Yankees lost captain Derek Jeter to an ankle injury in game one. They would struggle to the bitter end and lose to Detroit.

“My favorite moment of the playoffs was the Tigers sweeping the Yankees, because they were the underdog, and I hate the Yankees because they always win,” senior Max Gough said.

A key aspect that helped the Tigers advance and potentially capture the crown is pitching. Reigning Cy Young and MVP winner Justin Verlander stifled the Yankees and Athletics.

“I salute Justin Verlander because he had three wins in the playoffs,” senior Miles Anthony said.

The NCLS featured the showdown of the two most recent champions. After taking a commanding 3-1 series lead, the Cardinals took their foot off the pedal and watched the Giants shock the nation, winning the series 4-3.

Many students see the Giants as the favorite to win the championship.

“I see San Francisco winning in seven games,” senior Brian Thompson said. “Their pitching has more depth than the Tigers, and they have home-field advantage.”

Even with Triple Crown winner (also probable MVP winner) Miguel Cabrera and star Verlander, Anthony doesn’t think they stand a chance against San Francisco.

“The Giants will sweep,” Anthony said. “Verlander will be too distracted by Kate Upton to focus.”

Although the Padres golfed during October, San Diegans still enjoyed exhilarating playoff stories. Game one of the World Series begins Wednesday, Oct. 24 in San Francisco. The world will watch to see whether the victor will be the Giants, the comeback kids or the Tigers, the star-filled roster longing for their first title in 32 years.