Playoffs From the Outside Looking In

In the early dawn hours as the sun was peeking over the horizon breaking the silence of the night, I laid in bed watching the rays of sun creep into the room. The sliver of light slowly made its way from the slits in the curtains and gently moved across the room.

I had been awake for most of the night unable to sleep. The strange part was that I didn’t feel tired at all despite the lack of sleep. The temperatures have gotten cooler over the past week a sign that summer is over and autumn has officially arrived.

As I lay there watching the sunrise I couldn’t help but think about the events that would unfold this day. October 6 was a day I had been looking forward to since mid-February. Now that it has arrived, I couldn’t help but sigh as I thought about why this date suddenly didn’t have the meaning it once had.

Today marks the opening of the Major League Baseball post season. For eight cities and their fans it marks a new beginning. All of the hard work and success that was garnered in the 162-game regular season has been put aside.

Win and loss records are all zeroed out and each team starts anew. In the time since the final regular season game on Sunday until now fans have been busy preparing for play-off baseball. Jerseys and hats have been laid out along with rally towels, luck foam fingers, and any other item that a fan might think will bring luck to a team.

But like the fans for the 22 teams who did not make the post season today is a reminder of how your dreams can go unfulfilled. As pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training we had grandiose plans of players living up to their potential and carrying their teams to the top of the standings.

With each implosion by the bullpen failing to maintain the lead and every swinging strikeout the hopes of being part of the MLB post season drifted farther away. By the first of June the Diamondbacks were already being written off.

The trade deadline in July did not see the team bringing in that one impact player that would push them into contention. Instead we sat and watched as the Arizona Diamondbacks waved the white flag and dismantled the roster one player at a time.

We were told this was the best way to return to contention. We traded fan favorites for young prospects who no one knew and may not see in a Diamondbacks uniform for another three or four years.

For the second season in a row we watched as the team fired managers and coaches replacing them with others who said all the right things to give us hope that we had seen the worst part and things would get better.

The players say all the right things about how it wasn’t the coaches fault but that they looked forward to the new manager and hoped this would be the change that would turn the losing into winning.

At first the fans were hopeful but then the team returned to uneven play that got them into this position in the first place and the losing continued. When September rolled around the rosters expanded.

Rather than bringing up players who could give the veterans a breather to sustain a final drive to a spot in the playoffs, the team brought up players to evaluate their talent and decide how these youngsters would fit in next season.

Each game became a tryout as players tried to show coaches and management that they deserved to be on the roster next season. Other players took this opportunity to try and increase their statistics and ultimately their value on the free agent market.

Now the season is over. Players have packed up their belongings and began traveling back to their winter homes being reunited with family and friends they had not seen since January.

Fans like myself are left lying in bed staring at the ceiling wondering what the fans in Tampa Bay, New York, Minneapolis, Dallas, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and San Francisco are doing to prepare to watch their teams battle for a berth in the World Series.

I exhaled a deep breath and pulled the covers back over my head hoping to fall asleep and dream of a time when the Diamondbacks would be hosting a playoff game at Chase Field.

1 Comment

  1. My allegence has switched to the Texas Rangers for the next few weeks. Go Rangers!


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