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Pete’s Rose: Go The Distance

Pete's Rose

By Mishael Schiller

I haven’t had much to say for a while. Why the long silence? Well, I wanted to put some distance between myself and the World Series before commenting on it.

Now that it’s been a couple of weeks, I have something to say. I’ve been knocking around for the last 12 days feeling like something is missing from my life. It finally dawned on me that keeping up with the baseball playoffs has been the equivalent of a part-time job! No wonder I get to the evenings and can’t figure out what to do with myself. I’ve been heading off to bed as early as 8 or 9pm! The season is over, yet my soul isn’t satisfied! I’ve been spending the last few days trying to decide why that is. . .

In many ways, it was a great season. The down-to-the-wire races in the National League really set the stage for a great playoff show. I was expecting each series to be claw-your-way-to-the-next-level style baseball. Instead, it was sweep, sweep, and more sweep in both the division and league championship series. With the exception of the Boston-Cleveland series, which went 7 games, the other battles remained lop-sided. And then the Rockies, who emerged victorious after their consecutive sweeps in the National League play-offs, were completely bowled over by the Red Sox in the World Series.

I can sum up baseball’s need to deliver a quality post-season with 3 words, quoted from the movie Field of Dreams:

GO THE DISTANCE!

The World Series championship will inevitably be awarded to the team whose pitching staff, offense and defense can endure the 3 extra high pressure series which make up the post-season (this amounts to potentially 19 additional games-nearly 12% of a regular season). We’re talking about a month’s worth of overtime here. Unfortunately, some teams are up to the task and some are not. There have been occasional teams who have won it all without much post-season experience as a whole (Florida Marlins in 2003). But for the most part, playing in the post-season is like parenting. No matter how much you try to plan in advance, there is nothing that can prepare you except for the actual experience. That’s when you find out if you have what it takes. This year, Colorado didn’t. They were running on adrenaline and momentum (huge factors in sports). But, when the adrenaline settled down, there was no picking it back up to face Boston with the playoff experience and confidence the Red Sox have accumulated. The Rockies could consider 2007 their “first child” and hopefully learn from their mistakes this year. Perhaps 2008 will give them their 2nd child to put into practice what they missed this time around. The same could be said for Arizona and Philadelphia. If these teams can prepare themselves to go the distance, which means potentially 181 games, we will have a World Series that the whole country can enjoy and savor all post season.

That is NOT what we are left with here in the early days of November 2007. It is what needs to be addressed. The fall classic has got to be a matchup of the best of the best. I’m looking for a nail-biting, low scoring feast of all that makes baseball great. I don’t want to be distracted from it to discuss which manager was let go or which player is opting out of his contract. I want to be so entranced by the series that I don’t care about the future of eliminated teams. I want pure, unadulterated baseball that has the stamina to go the distance. World Series sweeps should be rare and special. When they’re common, it’s no good for baseball. The World Series has been swept 5 out of the last 10 years- 3 out of the last 4!!

However, I will allow this: major league baseball as a whole still has work to do and that is a good thing. The World Series and the playoffs would be meaningless if they didn’t give us a taste of the amazing stamina needed to win. The World Series is still the biggest stage of baseball. The playoffs are so critical that every inning has meaning and consequence. The post season is set up so that no one can reach, let alone win, the fall classic on a fluke. There is a high standard set. This aspect is good for baseball. The clout of the World Series title is exactly where it should be: reachable only by the teams with the most stamina when it matters, the teams able to play under the most strain and pressure. I’m looking for October matchups that go the distance. I’m looking for a few good teams. Who will deliver?




2 Comments

  1. Tommy Lasorda

    November 12, 2007 at 8:10 am

    there’s my gal. Wait until you see the Dodgers next year. Torre, he won’t be quite as good as I was, but he’ll be close.

  2. Pingback: My Thoughts on Game 1... | Baseball Reflections

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