When the sports world ground to a halt in March we were days away from NCAA brackets being released and one of spring’s great rituals: March Madness. I have no idea how they measure this and I imagine it’s apocryphal, but each year I read that the first Thursday and Friday of the tournament is one of the least productive work days in the United States. Why? Because from morning until bedtime there is constant stream of action, upsets and excitement that really has no parallel in sports.
This week will be wall-to-wall Postseason baseball action. I mean, just look at this schedule:
On Wednesday and Thursday this week you will need multiple screens to keep up with the playoff action throughout your work day. From 11 a.m. Central time until potentially after midnight in Chicago, there will be baseball. And not just any baseball, playoff baseball. Short, three-game series with the stress of elimination looming over every pitch.
There is also an element of surprise that hasn’t been present in a baseball postseason since before interleague: With the exception of the Blue Jays/Rays match up in this first round, none of these teams have seen each other all season. We have no idea how the 2020 Reds match up against the 2020 Braves beyond statistics. Seven of the eight matchups will feature teams facing aces they haven’t seen in at least a year. Hitters will be adapting to new pitchers on the fly, without the aid of video (thanks, Astros). I haven’t even gotten to the new managers as the Cubs’ David Ross and the Padres’ Jayce Tingler will both be managing in the playoffs in their first season leading their clubs. There will be webgems and walkoffs, batflips and multiple rookies throwing 100 miles per hour.
What I’m trying to say is, previous Wild Card games have nothing on what has basically become Wild Card Week, and I am so ready to live and die by every pitch.
There is even an MLB bracket challenge, in case you want to try and get your coworkers and family as fired up about your team as you are - and let’s be honest, with more than half the league in the playoffs almost EVERYONE has a rooting interest, even if it’s hate-cheering for their rivals to lose.
Postseason baseball isn’t going to look the same without fans streaming into Wrigley Field and overflowing onto Clark, Sheffield and Waveland after Cubs victories, but pandemic baseball games have still been exciting, even though they’ve looked different. With so many people working from home and baseball action on from morning until after midnight I imagine the excitement will be incredible — we’ll just have to share it virtually.