Two wild cards in the World Series

The Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants will meet in the World Series starting tomorrow.  That will be only the second time that the two wild-card teams played each other in the World Series.  Since the wild card–not the division champions but the teams with the next best record–was instituted in 1995, a wild card team made it to the series 10 times and won it 5 times.

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The Kansas City Royals are in the World Series!

The Kansas City Royals, which taught me to love baseball long ago, have hit the fewest home runs in the major leagues, relying on speed, defense, and pitching.  But they swept the mighty Orioles, after also sweeping the mighty Angels.  And now they are in the World Series. [Read more...]

The Royals and the other playoff teams

After a thrilling 12-inning game that went back and forth all night, the Kansas City Royals beat the Oakland Athletics to win the American League wild-card slot.  That’s the first time the Royals made it to the playoffs in 29 years.  They were the first team that inspired me to start following baseball seriously–back in the George Brett, Freddie Patek, Dan Quisenberry, Willie Wilson era–when I was in graduate school at the University of Kansas.  So I’m glad.  It’s hard to imagine them going very far, but I hope they do.

Anyway, the playoff lineups are now set, and the games have begun.  After the jump, the first-round matchups and how I come down on the games. [Read more...]

No-hitter leads into the playoffs

The climax of the Washington Nationals’ league-leading season came Sunday on the last game of the regular schedule when Jordan Zimmermann threw a no-hitter against the Miami Marlins.  The Nationals’ hand for the playoffs includes five aces in the starting rotation.  And yet, the playoffs and the World Series are often full of surprises.

So what are your predictions for the playoffs, which begin on Thursday?  (By the way, we also had baseball predictions on this blog at the beginning of this season.  We’ll see who was right!) [Read more...]

Baseball predictions

Yesterday was Opening Day of the baseball season.  That means it is time for more sports predictions!  What teams do you think will play in the World Series, and which one will win it?

Baseball’s new replay rule

When the new baseball season gets underway at the end of the month, managers will get to challenge certain calls, which will be reviewed by a high-tech outfit in New York.   But managers will just get one challenge a game–two if the first one is upheld–though umpires can review plays after the sixth inning.

After the jump, an explanation of the new rule, including a list of the plays that are reviewable.  Also an excerpt from famed sportswriter Thomas Boswell defending the changes on the grounds that it will make for more strategy on the part of managers and more second-guessing on the part of fans.  What do you think? [Read more...]


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