Saturday, August 10, 2013

Welcome to the playoff chase; some of you aren't invited.

We have a small game package to Nats games this year that we split among Chris's siblings. I think there are eight of us who bought the package with decent seats, as you can see in the photo. But because most of his siblings live in the suburbs of Maryland, they can't always make the games, so we've ended up going to more than we originally thought since we live in DC. We've also gone to plenty of other games not in these seats, including all four of the games when the Reds were in town. This is nothing unusual; I've gone to 15-20 games a year since the team moved from Montreal to DC except when I wasn't in DC in 2008, the first year of the new ballpark.

I feel, though, that the frequency of attending games has increased in the last few weeks; we've been to games every weekend they were home since the All Star break. This is due to the sense of urgency I feel at this time of year. You look at the schedule and suddenly you're wondering where the season went, where the summer went, and trying to cram in as many games as possible before time runs out. We're almost to the point where we start talking magic numbers, and we're definitely in the playoff chase part of the year. We're in the haves and have-nots part of the season when some teams have all but been eliminated and some of us are still clinging to playoff hopes. We're in that part of the season when math counts, when irrational hope arises, and when desperation can send you into emotional chaos.

We're also in that part of the season when silly happens. Nats announcers and fans don't want to believe they're out of it, especially after they tasted winning for the first time last year, so they scoreboard watch and hope they can over come a 9 game deficit and overtake 2 teams to grab a Wild Card spot. At least they're not saying they're going to catch Atlanta anymore. But the Wild Card hopes are equally as ridiculous, especially since the team did nothing to improve itself with trades or call ups when its chances were on life support in June/July. Instead, they fired the hitting coach, as if that would solve everything. It's ok, though. I'm still going to cram in as many games as my budget will allow.

Last postseason was a great one, with all my favorite teams getting in. I guess you could say it wasn't great because all my favorite teams lost. Well, the Giants won the whole thing, but they beat the Reds, so that doesn't count as good. The Reds have won the division two of the last three seasons (and will win this year, too) but have been knocked out in the first round both times. While getting to the postseason and losing is better than not getting to the postseason at all, it certainly isn't fun. I feel lucky that I know what winning a World Series feels like, though I was in 8th grade when it happened. Losing in the playoffs just leaves a bittersweet taste in your mouth, and then you have all winter to brood over it followed by a whole season where you wonder if you'll be able to get in again.

I tell you what - even though I believe the Reds are still going to win the division, I'm relieved that they are in a comfortable Wild Card spot. You know, just in case.

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