Sunday, October 28, 2012

When Our Outlet Fails Us

You unwrap the new video game.

You turn on the sporting event.

You go see the movie.

You tinker around in the garage.

We do these things because they relieve us from reality. On a day where work, home, family, or friends disappoints us, we have that optional list of things that keep us from thinking about reality for a while.

Some people call it their "outlet."

But what happens when the thing that causes us to jettison out of reality abruptly crashes to the ground? Or - even worse, slowly sinks into oblivion. What happens then?

I am asking myself that question tonight, on a night where my outlet - sports - failed me. Michigan couldn't score a touchdown in a 23-9 loss to Nebraska, and the Detroit Tigers couldn't score a run in a 2-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants. My night ended with a bad taste in my mouth, when it could have just ended on a good, relaxing note simply by ignoring both games.

Instead, I listened to the Tigers game on the radio (I refuse to listen to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver on principle), and had the Michigan game on mute on my TV. After a very nice day sleeping in, grocery shopping, exercising, and cleaning, I wanted to end it by cheering on my sports teams.

Instead, my sports teams decided not to show up. At least, that's how it felt.

So what am I to do? What are any of us to do? Michigan lost control of the Legends division with the loss. The Tigers are on the brink of being swept in the World Series. After following the teams passionately for the past few months, it feels like ignoring them would be to go cold turkey on them.

You get to the part of the video game that you can't figure out.

Your team keeps losing.

Your movie was lousy.

Your tinkering is just breaking things instead of fixing them.

These are the things that are supposed to relax us, and instead they infuriate us! We may even get more stressed over our hobbies than we do over our regular lives! Why do we do this?

I'll tell you why: because the payoff is just that sweet.

You do these things hoping that we can see everything just like we have in our heads:

You win the video game.

Your team wins the championship.

You have seen the best movie of all time.

You created the greatest machine ever made.

We keep going back because we hope that, someday, those "outlets" will reap the finest rewards.

We will go to another Michigan game.

We will turn on the television or radio tonight to see what happens in Game 4.

And next season, we'll be back again. They can crush our souls, take our money, and stomp on our hopes and dreams, but we'll always come back. We'll come back more passionate than ever. We'll call into radio shows, check out the websites, buy the merchandise, and drive our friends and family crazy. We may take a vacation from our outlet to clear our heads, but we'll return. We know that someday, we will be lifted into a feeling of euphoria - a feeling that no one can take away from us.

And we will celebrate in triumph knowing that we were there all along - through the thick and the thin.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Let's Get This Thing Started!

On Thursday, the prospect of playing the National League champion felt completely manageable. 

On Friday, it got cloudy. 

On Sunday, it got scary.

And on Monday, it got scarier.

Now I don’t know what to think anymore. 

On one hand, the Tigers have dominant pitching and the Triple Crown winner.

On the other hand, the Giants are riding the most giant wave of momentum there can be, with their aces and shortstop taking them off the cusp of elimination…again…and into the World Series with just a day’s rest. 

The Tigers will be forced to go against the trend - in the three times where one LCS champion has swept and the other one won in seven, the one that went the distance won the World Series. Including 2006.

I want to believe that the writers and analysts will pick the Giants to win on the basis of which they can’t be eliminated. They’re like the John McClane of baseball right now. The problem is, the media isn’t. They are declaring that while the Giants are scary, the Tigers look like the team that will win. But they always mention that the Giants are a threatening team right now and could pull an “upset.” 

So try to help me with this…when the media declares that the Tigers are the favorites, yet say that the Giants are going to win, doesn’t that mean the Giants are the favorites? They pick the Giants without actually picking them, and it’s to prove that when the Giants do win, the media can pull out the “I knew it all along” card.

I know that baseball is built on momentum, but let’s remember the regular season here: the Giants finished with a 94-68 record and won the NL West, a division that also had the upstart Arizona Diamondbacks and the well-paid Los Angeles Dodgers. The Tigers went 88-74 and came into the playoffs with the lowest wins of any division-winning team in the postseason. Why do people have to favor us?

I want to fly under the radar. It is entirely possible – it’s happened to opponents of championship favorites all the time. I keep hoping to hear more pro-Giant talk, but I don’t! 

If the Tigers are going to win this series, they are going to have to win in five or less. I have very little hope that the Tigers could go to San Francisco for Games 6 and 7 and pull off a win.

So here’s to you, Justin Verlander. As the starter in Game 1, he has the ability to squash the Giant momentum. At this time, this game is the biggest of his career. He’s thrown for a Game 1 World Series before, and didn’t look that great. He’s thrown for a do-or-die series clincher, and he threw a complete game gem. He’s thrown against one of the biggest payrolls in baseball, and while he didn’t look bad, he was a little shaky, especially in the end.

Verlander needs to do just enough to stop the offensive luck of the Giants, while the defense behind him has to stay sharp, unlike how the Cardinals closed out the NLCS. 

We could look at the other starters in upcoming games, but I’ll just dissect one game at a time. Tomorrow is huge – it will show us if the Tigers took the layoff well, or if the Giants are tired, or if the Tigers already wrapped up the season, or if the Giants will just keep rolling. 

I think I will feel much better after just one game. I can stop listening to the speculation and finally have some inkling of what’s going to happen in this series.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Celebration Time is Over.

So here we are again. Back to another World Series, six years after we experienced an eerily similar situation. Survived an ALDS, swept the ALCS...and a little under one week before the first World Series game.

I remember having a week of glee, of giddiness. The Tigers are going to the World Series! Just the fact that they were going was enough to make the city of Detroit beside itself with joy. The team had just endured over a decade of bottom-of-the-barrel failures, including the infamous 2003 season that saw them nearly break the record for most losses in a season. So the fact that 2006 brought so much joy in the first two postseason series was enough to lift the spirits of the city (and the fans all over) for another few years.

The Tigers were finally relevant again. Comerica Park wasn't a sellout for just Opening Day anymore. The summer once again revolved around the Tigers. I printed out the Tigers' season schedule so I could keep track of where they were (and what time they were playing). Going downtown for a game was an event.

But do you really remember the 2006 World Series? I sure don't. I remember watching the first game and feeling down, then watching the second game and still feeling down because Kenny Rodgers got caught with pine tar on his hand (even though the Tigers won that game). I don't even think I tuned in for the final three games at all. I simply heard the Cardinals won, sighed, and went on with life.

All this postseason, I have been determined NOT to be content with just going to the World Series. Whenever I think about it, I just utter one phrase:

I want to win the World Series!

What the Tigers did in the past week has been nothing short of amazing. No one really gave the Tigers too much of a chance against the Yankees, fresh off the best regular season record in the American League, an Eastern Division championship, and a solid drubbing of the Baltimore Orioles in game 5 of the ALDS. Plus, they opened the ALCS in New York, while Detroit had to take two flights in two days: one from Oakland to Detroit, and another from Detroit to New York.

But that was just the ALCS. What we need to figure out is that there is more. The team celebrated with the fans, and gave all the credit to all the right people, and said all the right things. But there's still more to come! The Tigers have only become the champion of one league.

I think the team has realized that there is more to strive for. Jim Leyland said as much in his postgame interview with Matt Weiner of TBS. He mentioned that they wouldn't be sitting on their butts like they had to last time they had a week-long break between series. Justin Verlander was talking about Game 1 of the World Series...after Game 3 of the ALCS. Veterans of the 2006 squad - which I just realized are few - will tell teammates that the ALCS is great and all, but it can be better.

Compare this ALCS to a Red-Wings/Avalanche series in that rivalry's heyday (between 1995 and 2005). The two teams couldn't meet in the Stanley Cup Final - the highest playoff series where they could compete against each other was the Western Conference Finals. But the Red Wings knew full well that the momentum had to keep going after the exhausting, yet exhilarating defeat of Colorado. There was more to play for.

The Tigers need to remind the fans of that.

I want to win the World Series!

Getting to a World Series is a huge accomplishment. There are so many teams in Major League Baseball that haven't sniffed a World Series in 20, 30, 40, maybe even 50 years (or more!) - which are long periods of time in fan years. The Tigers have done it for the second time in six years. Wouldn't it just be fair to celebrate the accomplishment, even if they lose?

NO! NONONO!! Getting there isn't acceptable anymore. This team has had a solid core for quite a few years. Who's the ace? Justin Verlander. Who's the slugger? Miguel Cabrera. Who have climbed the ranks to be valuable assets? Alex Avila and Austin Jackson. More than that, much of the front office and managerial staff has stuck around, aside from some minor shakeups. In a few more years, some of those players and coaches might be gone. The Tigers may have to start from scratch - have a few subpar years - the fans might waver and even leave. The time to strike is now. Solid pitching has held up the Tigers - solid pitching that not many teams have. Take advantage of the amazing talent on this team and WIN.

I want to win the World Series!

The St. Louis Cardinals are up 3-1 in their series, with Game 5 in St. Louis. Our opponent in 2006 was St. Louis. (We lost.) Our opponent in the 1968 World Series was St. Louis. (We won.) Our opponent in 1935 was St. Louis! (We lost.) If there was ever a National League team who had a lot of history against an American League team (and didn't share a city), it might be St. Louis and Detroit. It is a classic series, and it might happen again.

St. Louis played Detroit in interleague play in June (I should know - I was there.) Detroit fans know what St. Louis has done to us in the past, and they don't like it.

Detroit has less experience with San Francisco, but the mere fact that we'd have to do one or two more West Coast trips is fear enough. But their lineup and pitching is also something to fear.

Whoever is on the mound in Game 1, Detroit has time to prepare. The Tigers can watch film, stay conditioned, maybe throw some virtual games to keep the arm in shape in order to be ready.

We as fans need to get ready too. Don't spend too much time celebrating this pennant win. Feel free to celebrate the season in two weeks. But right now the "three million Detroit fans" have to get mentally prepared for a World Series that has the potential of having a lot of low-scoring games with role players getting a chance to shine. We can't be hungover come October 27. They need us to come out with intensity - towels waving, cheering reaching unsafe decibels, and encouraging our boys to the win. If we choose to sit in our chairs with our hands under our butts, the team will reflect the discouragement or frustration. We don't want to act like New Yorkers now, do we?

We have gotten commendations today for being great fans. The Tigers organization has been commended today for its family atmosphere and positive attitudes - something the media must have noticed due to the contrasting atmosphere of the opposing team's locker room. Keep it going.

I want to win the World Series!

The season is far from over. The Tigers are getting ready for their toughest series yet. Don't buy the American League Championship shirts and hats. Delete the Game 4 clincher from your DVRs. It's time to focus. Watch the final game(s) of the NLCS, do your research, and get ready to cheer hard for your Detroit Tigers. The will to win is vital.

I want to win the World Series!

Just keep saying that to yourself. Beating the Yankees in the ALCS is great, but for a fan born after 1984, I need to see for myself that a World Series celebration is the biggest and best celebration of all.

Now let's say it together:

I want to win the World Series!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

A National Mystery

Amidst the media crisis that is the Yankees, there only seems to be three markets that remember that there is another Championship Series going on in baseball right now: San Fransisco, St. Louis, and the MLB Network.

I have been prone to dismissing the National League Championship Series, simply because my Tigers aren't in that league, and barely plays any of the teams in that league. Such dismissal happened back in 2006, when I was wrapped up completely in the Tigers' improbable World Series run. That was a big mistake - the St. Louis Cardinals kept cruising after a 7-game series with the New York Mets and beat Detroit in five games. I forgot that not every team was going to roll over for the Tigers in that postseason.

I barely heard much of anything about the NLCS this morning as I prepared for work. Actually, I barely heard anything about the ALCS, either. Any baseball news was all about instant replay and how Joe Girardi - who three years ago was insistent that it not be used (I'm not even kidding - USA Today dug up a good quote from the ALDS in 2009) - was adamant that it be instituted as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, there was more instant replay controversy in the NLCS tonight, when Jon Jay made a spectacular catch in right field and Allen Craig caught Gregor Blanco at first base on a tag...and none of the umps saw the tag. It wouldn't have ended the inning, but it did allow the Giants to score two more runs in that inning. This isn't going away.

I am making an effort to watch more of this NLCS because whoever the NL champion plays in the World Series (please let it be Tigers...), I want to be prepared and have a good idea what kind of Series I'm going to watch.

Initially, I had a feeling that St. Louis was the more dangerous team. The Cardinals, going back to last year, have a team where you never know from where the runs are going to come. Between David Freese and Daniel Descalso, who have the ability to fly under the radar till the postseason, their entire lineup is dangerous (I did get the opportunity to see this team in person in June, when they were in Detroit). Meanwhile, San Fransisco lost Melky Cabrera in the summertime due to his doping suspension, but that didn't deter the Giants from crushing a formidable division with pitching that was both outstanding (Matt Cain's perfect game) to middling (Tim Lincecum's below-average season), and surrounding them with reliable offensive juggernauts like Buster Posey, Angel Pagan, and Pablo Sandoval. Game 1 didn't deter my opinion at all.

Game 2 was a different story. After a questionable slide into second base by Matt Holliday into Marco Scutaro, the Giants were energized and pounded Cardinals' pitcher Chris Carpenter, while Giants' pitcher Ryan Vogelsong continued his solid pitching in the playoffs, only allowing one run.

But if there's any team that would easily halt a momentum swing, it's the Cardinals. Washington tried so hard to drive the Cards away in each game, trying to put a streak together, and the Cardinals would not let it happen. A lot of times a game is decided on streaks. And when a team has the ability to stop a streak, it is admirable...and scary.

Make sure to pay attention on the other Championship series, which can display just as much drama and momentum shifts than the ALCS...and with far less media overload.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Which Team Does Derek Jeter's Injury Hurt More? (I'm Serious!)

In the top of the 12th inning in tonight's game, Derek Jeter was going for a routine grounder to short that went to his left side. But he didn't get up. He ended up fracturing his left ankle, and his manager is reporting that Jeter is out for the rest of the postseason.

Tigers fans might initially say, "Yess!!" Jeter is gone! We don't have to face him in the lineup! The gold-glove infield has a hole in it!

But take a step back. Teams that lose their captain usually rally very well. They get behind the team. They regroup and strike back with a force previously unseen. And the Yankees aren't a sub-.500 team who might just collapse and give up the rest of the series. These guys won the Eastern Division and fought back to win a series against an upstart Orioles team. They aren't just going to roll over.

I could easily see Alex Rodriguez suddenly be inspired to hit again...if Joe Girardi even puts him in the lineup in this series.

But then again, the Tigers did not give up this game, like they could have. They brought in young pitching to fight through the extra innings, and Delmon Young continued his Yankee-killing ways. The Yankees are losing the one bat in the starting lineup that actually showed up for the ALDS, regardless of lingering leg injuries.

I want to see how this game shapes up tomorrow. Tomorrow's game is huge, to gauge how the Yankees bounce back from the loss of Jeter and how the Tigers bounce back from a closer implosion. The three million Tigers fans out there, wherever you are, keep a positive outlook tomorrow. I think the Tigers are capable of taking tomorrow's game, but they can't let Jeter's injury spark the Yankees. They've got to stomp on that spark until it is completely out. That is most definitely sure.

Oh - and Anibal Sanchez has to pitch a complete game. But that's just a given.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Baseball...It Prevents Us From Going Crazy

You may think that the title of this blog is a little off. After all, the four series that took place this week all went to five games. A fan of any of the eight teams might be feeling a little crazy right now! Between the team that lost two games at home but managed to win all three games on the road (in a row!) to the teams that kept going into extra innings, to the team that just had to win one on the road...and it took them three tries and an inconceivable performance by their ace to do it.

But could you imagine a fall season without baseball? It has happened before - but that was eighteen years ago, in 1994. Sportscenter was just beginning to become the regular hangout for people when they woke up in the morning. ESPN2 was still the place for skateboarding shows and men lifting tractor tires.

Our normal lives kept the human race from going nuts. But in the days of 24-hour sports networks, Internet blogs (like this one!), and the constant barrage of social media, baseball is the only thing that is keeping the nation from overloading

If we didn't have baseball right now, the only thing out there is football. High school football, college football, the NFL, fantasy football, Monday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, football commercials, football behind-the-scenes, football analysis, analysis of the football analysis, year-round speculation of football plots, and the Super Bowl. The NHL is locked out and all its players moved to Europe and Asia to play the game. All that the NBA does right now is argue with each other. That sport doesn't become relevant till Christmas.

I imagine that if ESPN or the NFL Network had the chance, they would spend 24 hours straight dissecting the logo color of the Dallas Cowboys.

The only thing that is stopping us from this madness? Baseball.

Because of baseball, we have another outlet for our sports fandom. Anyone will tell you that if you spend your whole life doing just one thing, it will drive you mad. You need to add that second (or third or fourth or so on) hobby to relieve the stress and work another part of your brain.

So thank you, baseball, for providing sports fans with an alternative choice of sports programming. It prevents me from having to read an article at the end of October about Aaron Rodgers' fifth word in his eighth interview of the day implying that his wide receiver's route in the eighteenth play of the fourth game of the season caused him to develop a pinky tic that may or may not prevent him from throwing a slant route pass against AFC teams with right-handed defensive backs who went to an SEC East (not West!) university.

Because when we do see an article like that, we can just flip to baseball instead.

Thank goodness.

A few other baseball playoff, oops, I mean Postseason oddities. The word "Postseason." In any official MLB promotional materials, they will never say playoffs. It  has to be "Postseason." And this from the only  league that doesn't have a's Spring Training.

I wonder how long the Yankee's champagne bath lasted tonight. They probably have to be at the ballpark around 2pm tomorrow to prepare for that evening's game against the Detroit Tigers. Or maybe they did what they should do after a simple ALDS win...congratulate each other, take a shower, and go home! What's up with the constant locker room celebrations? I can understand celebrating a berth in the playoffs Postseason, but does beating the fifth-best (second-best Wild Card) team warrant the plastic over the lockers and the coolers full of horrible alcohol to waste?

I seem to remember the 1995 Detroit Red Wings celebrating the Western Conference championship like they'd won the Stanley Cup. Then they got swept in the Finals Final by New Jersey and vowed never to celebrate that stupid trophy ever again. And they still don't celebrate it! Why can't teams take a cue - don't celebrate the little steps like you've won the championship. Win the championship, then celebrate!

With the 2-3-2 NBA Finals-like setup of the ALCS this year, it is crucial for Detroit to get one of those first two games in Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have just played three straight games against a formidable Orioles team who gave everything they had. They showered each other in liquor for a while tonight (for some reason - see above). And now they've got two games on Saturday and Sunday against Detroit. This is the perfect time for Detroit to take advantage of that exhaustion - and the fact that the Yankee's lineup is depending on second-tier replacements to win games for them while their starters hit below the Mendoza line.

I don't make predictions - I pray. Dear Lord, let the Tigers win in five. And thank you for preventing me from having to listen to Joe Buck for another week or two. Amen.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

9.79* Reflection

If ESPN is doing one thing right, it has to be their 30 for 30 documentary film series. 30 films on 30 different subjects by 30 different directors. Each documentary that I have watched has been very compelling and informative, and I highly recommend watching them when you can.

Tonight's doc featured the eight athletes who participated in the 100m final at the Seoul Olympics in 1988. This was the race that featured Ben Johnson's unprecedented demolishing of the world record and subsequent gold medal. It also brought on the most thorough and media-scrutinized doping scandal in the days following, also featuring Johnson.

The 30 for 30 film interviewed all eight athletes, and each of them got into the sport in their own way. But each of them (except Johnson, who has already admitted to doping) talked about training "clean," even though half of them had been implicated in doping either in 1988 or following.

It was a little disheartening, as an Olympics fan, to see how blatant the cheating had been in the track and field circles. I'm sure that even now, athletes in every sport are taking something to try to get better. More athletes take them because they don't want to get left behind...the doping athletes are winning, while the "clean" athletes can't get ahead.

There was also tons of finger pointing. Carl Lewis, who was awarded the gold medal in the days after the race, kept to the high ground while looking down on Johnson. Johnson was equally critical of Lewis, claiming that one of Lewis' friends, Andre Jackson, spiked his beer before he took the test, and had done it many times before.

Considering I was very young when this all took place originally, this was a very new story to me. I had known about Johnson being stripped of his gold medal, but didn't know the whole story. I don't think anyone really "knows" the whole story, unfortunately. Even now, twenty-four years later, facts are shady.

And that will remain with any athlete that competes. We'll hail them for their accomplishments, and then feel wronged when we find out they were cheating. In third grade Reading basals that I use, there is a story about the Olympics. One of the supplemental stories is about how wonderful Marion Jones is as a track athlete. Do I teach my students that this story is false? That Jones actually was caught cheating and stripped of her medals? Or do I allow them to watch a documentary twenty years from now on Jones, and have them learn the whole story in the same manner I did?

It's all in the perspective. And this documentary, although excellently and thoroughly produced, still allows the viewer to make their own opinion about how they are going to take the information given. Do they shun the sports and athletes they love - or do they choose to hide it and move on?

What will you do?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Educate, Don't Condemnate

The Kansas City Chiefs fans are getting a lot of flack today for how they reacted to their own quarterback's injury. When Matt Cassel went down with a possible head injury, the KC fans cheered the injury instead of showing the normal respect shown to a player on either the home or visiting side.

These may have been the same Kansas City fans who, earlier in the week, came out in droves to cheer on Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera as he accomplished the Triple Crown. What makes the two of them different?

I believe that it all depends on how you teach. People were keenly aware of the magnitude of Cabrera's accomplishment - and instead of booing an opposing player, they cheered the accomplishment.

On the other hand, Chiefs fans were expressing frustration in a way that may have been inappropriate - especially if Cassel's injury had been worse. But they didn't know how bad the injury was. And maybe - unfortunately - it was because these fans hadn't been educated over how to act when a player goes down with a serious injury.

When you take your children to a game (from any sport) do you set a good example? Do you show your support to players with big accomplishments? Or do you boo mercilessly even if it's your player? Have you taught them how to act when they are playing their pee-wee sport? Have you taken some time this morning, while watching the KC slamming on Sportscenter, to talk to your kids or coworkers over how they should have reacted?

I've heard people say that they have "the right" because of how much their tickets cost, or how much time they've invested in the team. And I kind of think that's stupid. Let's keep our sane heads and not put us up on a pedestal because we made a choice to pay money to watch a bunch of men play a sport. If you're going to pay the money, the least you can do is show you deserve to be there, cheering your players and the sport. Earn the chance to watch and cheer. Educate those around you the proper way to watch and cheer. Let's bring back some civility to watching and cheering the sport that you love.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

MLB Postseason...A Whole Other Animal

You always hear that the postseason of any sport is the "second season." All the work over the long regular season has subsided, and a new method of playing the game has to be implemented.

But let's face it: baseball is waaaay different from any other sport.

When the NBA or NHL seasons begin, it's hard to tell that the regular season has ended until a few weeks into the playoffs. The NFL has a one-and-done playoff method that keeps the desperation of the end of the regular season at full tilt even as the playoffs begin.

But when it comes to baseball, the regular season and the playoffs are so different that you can't help but notice the contrast. The game is the same between the foul lines, but the energy can't be more diverse.

Take the crowd. For a normal Major League Baseball game in the middle of June, you'd normally find several groups of people present: regular season ticket holders who follow their team all year, groups who have purchased tickets with an interest in the team, groups who are celebrating something, families taking their children, and twenty-somethings who like to hang out and drink.

However, the crowd at a playoff game in October is hugely different. Most of the crowd understands the importance of the game. Very few small children are present because dads and moms are only buying a couple of tickets. There are probably more fans from the opposing team who want to see their team in the playoffs. The crowd tends to follow the game a lot more closely than a game in July. Home runs are cheered louder. Mistakes are jeered with bloodthirsty intensity.

Another big difference is the dress code. When I attended a Tigers game in June, the weather was 95 degrees - everyone was in shorts and short-sleeved shirts or tank tops. Tonight's game 1 against Oakland probably started in the 40s, and coats and hoodies were the primary clothing choice. Hats and gloves were also required.

A game that starts at 7:05pm in June won't be under the lights until 9 - or maybe even 10, depending on where you are in the time zone. But a game in October will already be under the lights at 7:05! The sun, when an afternoon game is held, hits the field differently than the summer afternoon games. Ice cream bars and frozen lemonade are replaced with honey roasted peanuts and hot chocolate.

All of these differences help to make the atmosphere of an MLB playoff game so unique - unique from the MLB regular season and unique from other playoff seasons -  and so much fun to watch. Whether you are present at the game (I highly recommend it if the opportunity arises) or watching on TV, the excitement is absorbed by everyone. You really feel like the whole world is watching, and that your day is glorious or excruciating depending on how your team did the night before.

I hope that you take the time to enjoy the MLB playoffs this season, no matter if your team is in it or not. I'm sure you'll be able to absorb the intensity and excitement of a baseball postseason battle.