The calendar has turned over to October and over here at the Griddle, I can kick back a little. Teams will be eliminated now not by mathematical formulas, but rather by losing 3 or 4 games before their opponent does.
There are no countdowns, no magic numbers, no more walking into the light. It's just the playoffs. Eight teams that get to play games in October, two of whom could be gone by the end of Saturday.
September is a much different month. There is scoreboard watching. There is the dilemma of trying to figure out how to follow four games at once. Which teams do I want to win? Which teams do I want to lose? How will the third place team's record in one division affect the fourth place team in another?
Now I'll just be sitting back waiting to see what happens. Waiting to find out what obscure player will get his moment in the spotlight. Who will be the next Bobby Kielty or Anthony Reyes or Geoff Blum?
I'll actually get to go to a playoff game in person this year: Game 3 of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. However, I'm not exactly postseason deprived as I've attended three NL Division Series games (1981, 1995, and 1996), one NLCS game (1981), and three World Series games (1977, 1978, and 1981). Those were all at Dodger Stadium and for those not scoring at home, the Dodgers record in those games is 2-5.
And then no later than October 30, the baseball season will be over.
And so for a while, I will lower the heat on the Griddle. Although a pancake or two will show up from time to time before the Hot Stove League starts up again.