This weekend I was rooting for UTTER CHAOS! I wanted a four-way tie for the American League wild card and a three-way tie for the National League wild card. I wanted the Tigers to play a make-up game today. I wanted tiebreaking games 163 and 164. I wanted CHAOS!
Instead, the season ended quite calmly. The Giants secured the second wild card in the National League with a win over the Dodgers (and watching Cardinals fans explode on Twitter with accusations that the Dodgers threw the game because they were afraid of the Cardinals in the post-season was hilarious). Meanwhile, the Orioles secured the second wild card in the American League with a win over the Yankees. The teams who controlled their fate did what they had to do.
The post-game celebration by the Orioles (and, really, any wild card team) seems absurd to me. All the team did was to advance to an artificial game 163, a Baseball Thunderdome. They go wild and trash a clubhouse because they get to play one more game. Go wild and celebrate when you win that Baseball Thunderdome and advance to the Division Series. The post-game celebration seems wildly out of proportion to the accomplishment.
Preface out of the way, here are my Wild Card predictions, fully cognizant that the Wild Card game (and baseball’s postseason in general) is a crapshoot.
American League: Toronto over Baltimore, but if you ask me ten minutes from now I can easily pick Baltimore; that’s how evenly matched these two are. I feel that Toronto has an edge in pitching, while Baltimore has an edge in offense. If Toronto can keep the Orioles from smacking the ball out of the park, then Toronto will control the game. This is the game that can really go either way, but I think, right now, it will be Toronto’s game.
National League: New York over San Francisco. The Mets have been on a roll in the month of September (only a few weeks ago I’d have thought they would miss the postseason altogether), while the Giants squeeked in by winning three must-win games after an historic epic near-collapse. (Seriously, they were running away with the National League West. And then they couldn’t remember how to win.) So, I expect the Mets to continue to roll, with Asdrubel Cabrera powering the Mets attack on the Giants.