The playoffs: when insanity is perfectly acceptable
Things I’ve learned while listening to readers and fans for the past couple of days:
- Robinson Cano is the best there ever was;
- The Rays are an unstoppable juggernaut;
- Kirk Gibson is a fraud;
- The Rays lack a knockout punch;
- Alex Rodriguez is a terrible baseball player;
- Robinson Cano isn’t clutch;
- Tony La Russa is a moron;
- Cliff Lee sucks;
- Tony La Russa is a genius.
And I’m sure there are more. The completely understandable, yet 100% insane, reactions of people to playoff baseball. Baseball where the sample sizes are the smallest yet the significance of any one event is magnified to crazy extremes. A time when nothing has ever mattered as much as the thing that just happened, and nothing will be forgotten quicker when the next thing happens.
I’ve never gotten 100% comfortable with this. My feelings about baseball and the world it inhabits do a complete 180 when the playoffs start. I love watching playoff baseball. The games are crazy-intense and the drama is out of this world. Yet the commentary about it is, almost by definition, kind of meaningless once you get past the “wow, that was somethin’” observations. Contrast this to the regular season where single games have almost no significance apart from being a brick in the wall of what will eventually form a somewhat cogent narrative that, at least in my view, has some value.
I tell myself every year that I’m going to ignore the overreactions that are inevitable once the playoffs come. And then I usually forget. I guess that’s just part of playoff baseball too.