Throw reason out the window in the MLB playoffs


By Imaz Athar / Staff Writer

It was past midnight, and the game was tied 1-1. The San Francisco Giants and the Washington Nationals were in the 18th inning of Game 2 of the NLDS. Nothing particularly exciting had happened over the past few innings — a few hits here and there, a few one-two-three innings. The pressure mounted, but neither team could break through it, and, at times, it seemed like neither team wanted to.

There comes a point during certain sporting events when you realize that it’s time to turn off the TV and that watching something amazing happen isn’t worth the never-ending wait. There were times during the Giants-Nationals game when my finger grazed over the “power” button, but I couldn’t press it.

I have to admit first that I never watch baseball and have never understood the appeal of the game. There’s no guarantee that either team will score, and it seems like nothing ever happens. The time between each pitch is unnecessarily long, and two entire innings could pass before your favorite player comes up to bat for the second time. And you never really know how long the game will last.

Moreover, scandals or lawsuits always seem to dominate baseball headlines. When a player is doing well, we only talk about his alleged use of steroids, making America’s original sport less and less authentic

Until now, there was no way you would find me watching a regular season baseball game.

But when the temperatures drop, and the wind turns brisk during October — the month of the MLB playoffs — baseball is all I want to watch. Saturday night’s Giants-Nationals game reminded me why I watch playoff baseball.

At the beginning of the 18th inning, Giants first baseman Brandon Belt was at the plate. Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark threw the pitch, and, with a hard swing of the bat, Belt cracked the ball to right field. Giants players cheered in the dugout, and the answer to why I didn’t turn off the TV was right before me. As cheesy as it may sound, playoff baseball is magical.

Watching a player come through for his team when the stakes are high and seeing the player’s teammates congratulate him as if they were all kids playing in the backyard — this reminds me of why I love sports in the first place. 

Playoff baseball is also extremely patriotic. Baseball is often labeled a national pastime, and many associate American ideals — such as hard work, self-sacrifice for overall good and pushing through in times of adversity — with the sport. Many of these “American” principles get lost during the long 162-game regular season because not every game is significant.

During the playoffs, the only focus is the game itself, and you realize why many associate baseball with American ideals in the first place. 

Look at the Kansas City Royals, for example. When games are close, the Royals bunt and steal bases. By bunting, players sacrifice themselves so that their teammate can advance to the next base. By stealing bases, players do whatever they can to win the game. Every year in the playoffs, there’s a team like the Royals, and I can’t help but feel patriotic when I watch a team like that play.

In a few weeks, playoff baseball comes to an end. College football and the NFL enters the exciting portions of their seasons, as bowl games commence, and meaningful late-season NFL games occur. 

LeBron James and Kevin Durant will carry the NBA to new heights of popularity, and we’ll all fill out bracket after bracket and bite our nails during March Madness. 

Then, summer will come around — the temperature will shoot up, and the air will become as stuffy as you can ever imagine it to be. I’ll turn on the TV, and a regular season baseball game will be the only sporting event on. Once again, I’ll be back in my personal sports hell.

So, for now, I’m going to enjoy the ever-consuming magic of the MLB playoffs before it wears away.