A Tale of Two Cities

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Postseason baseball is…you guessed it…in full swing!  As the calendar begins to wind down, those of us with the nation’s capital in our backyard, find ourselves with double the excitement!! The Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals are representing their respective cities and division…but oh what a difference approximately 30 miles between the two cities can make…..

Baltimore put the domineering Detroit Tigers out of their misery rather quickly.  The series sweep included a Game 1 clobbering that had me looking on in disbelief at how outmatched the experienced Tigers lineup appeared to be….it was only to be outdone by a come from behind win in Game 2 so thrilling it left fans shaking their heads in a delightful mix of astonishment and amazement.  With all but the dustpan out--ready and willing to assist the broom, Game 3 went down to the wire as the Tigers threatened a comeback of their own in the bottom of the 9th.  With one player out, one player on and an intentional walk….a strategy that could go either way…I told my dining partner “I trust in Buck”, Showalter that is.  As much sense as it made, it was downright gutsy to actually call…and just like that, a ball was hit into the world of double playdom…and the Orioles were on to the Conference Championship!!

The road ahead does not get any easier….squaring off with the Kansas City Royals—who made mincemeat of the Anaheim Angels and their title of  best winning record in the league---will be a showdown of two dugouts, each wearing a “team of destiny” label….I have the hometown team to the north emerging victorious!!

My hometown team to the south did not travel the same road.  Early on, the Nats managed (pun intended) to find themselves fighting off the receiving end of a broom.  Games 1 and 2 versus the San Francisco Giants were both very competitive…it was the latter that left me yelling “noooooo” at first year manager (see pun intended above) Matt Williams.  Why oh why he felt the need to pull pitcher Jordan Zimmerman, who was totally on fire by the way, after two outs and a questionable walk remains to be seen. To his credit Williams hasn’t expressed any regret…after all, isn’t that what he’s supposed to say?  Yet, if I were a gambler, I’d bet that the plane ride across country to San Francisco…after losing an 18 inning bout and down two in the series…was filled with nothing but!

I held no ill will toward Williams.  Quiet as it is kept…although the Nats pitching staff was doing what it came to do…the bats had apparently gone into hibernation during the stretch between regular season and postseason play.  Of course hindsight is 20/20 and a Game 3 win by the Nats to keep their hopes alive made letting bygones be bygones fall into the no-brainer category. 

Washington faced an uphill battle but securing a win in Game 4 would have put them on the same playing field…wow, the puns keep coming…as the west coast team with the breathtaking stadium views.  Even though the series, on both sides of the field and both team rosters, developed into the Bryce Harper Show…it wasn’t quite enough as Washington lost the series 3-1.  I’m betting this time the long flight home was filled with thoughts of what might have been!

Elsewhere in the MLB…..the All-Star lineup of the Los Angeles Dodgers found itself down in their match-up with the mega champion ball club, St. Louis Cardinals.  While I was hoping Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig & Company could stage a fight for the ages and come back for two more w’s---it wasn’t meant to be as the Dodgers fell to the Cards.

This postseason has reminded me of why baseball was my first love…and even though dreams of a Beltway Series are a thing of the past….my heart has only grown fonder!  Go O’s!!!

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