Nine thoughts as the playoffs begin

Nine things on my mind as the major league playoffs open:

  1. I can’t ever find myself rooting for the New York Mets. But I’m a big Buck Showalter admirer, and it’s hard to root against him. I appreciated him as a player, well back in his Double-A days in Nashville, and am grateful for his generosity in my reporting the book that is the namesake of this blog site.
  2. Good for Aaron Judge. And if he had been chasing that 62nd home run while wearing the uniform of the Kansas City Royals or Minnesota Twins rather than that of the Yankees, we’d have barely heard about him. By the way, what lame columns and blogs emerged from viewers complaining that ESPN and ABC did cut-ins of Judge at-bats during SEC football games. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the sun does not rise and set on the Southeastern Conference. It just means more to a small sampling of the U.S. population.
  3. Subscribing to a streaming service, only sparingly did I see the Braves play this year. Looked pretty stout, though. I’ve never been a Braves fan – too many years of impartiality while covering the team – but it’s good to see them back in the postseason.
  4. I saw two major league games in person this summer, and the Mariners were in both. So, sentimental favorite for me. I’d love to see Seattle’s World Series drought end.
  5. The pitch clock will save Major League Baseball from itself. Trust me.
  6. I chalked off my 40th different MLB stadium this summer. I’m not quite so anal as to have a list 1 through 40. Ironically, though, top 5 stadiums aren’t in use this post-season: Camden Yards, PNC Park, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park and Oracle Park in San Francisco.
  7. So happy for the late-career renaissance and attention brought to Albert Pujols. Yes, your Aunt Hazel can outrun him, home to first, but in a sporting world desperately lacking in generational talents who carry themselves with such grace and humility, he’s to be cherished.
  8. Shohei Ohtani is the greatest sporting phenomenon of the 21st Century. Alas, I’m not sure the Los Angeles Angels front office could run a mini-mart, much less a competitive franchise.
  9. If you didn’t see catcher Logan O’Hoppe play for the Rocket City Trash Pandas, you merely missed one of the top 5 prospects for a Huntsville-area franchise since 1985, along with Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Ryan Braun and Nelson Cruz. He’s a future MLB All-Star.

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