There’s still a whole lot of baseball left this year…

I guess, for a couple of now-former Yankees, today was the first day of the rest of their lives. The sudden stop at the end of the season must be rather jarring for the players. Sure, they’ve been building up to this, especially after being eliminated from the postseason. But much like that first day after the last day of school, you just don’t know what to do with yourself. There’s no scheduled workout, no batting practice, no special diet to maintain, no equipment maintenance, no press conferences. (Didn’t you have press conferences in school? Sorry if the metaphor didn’t translate.) Just a whole lot of empty time to fill with all the things you put off doing during the season. But even then, that only lasts so long.

This is still going to be a daily blog, even though the Yankees aren’t playing in the postseason. Hey, I love the Yankees, but I’d still go to a baseball game even if they weren’t playing. Why? Because there’s something about a game that translates from the big leagues down to tee-ball, across languages and countries, over a vast socio-economic expanse. Everyone can play baseball; they even have leagues for those with disabilities — because it’s just that kind of game. And no matter what they might try to tell you on certain sports news channels, baseball will always be America’s sport.

So here’s what’s going on in the other part of the MLB world:

Well, the Rays, helmed by the same pitcher that effectively eliminated the Yankees from the postseason, took the lead early against the Rangers and never looked back. They will play the Indians on Wednesday for the official Wild Card spot. Tomorrow, over in the National League, the Pirates face the Reds for their chance at their own Wild Card spot. Then on Thursday and Friday, the Division Series begin for the NL and AL, respectively. The DS are best of 5, and those winners will face each other in the Championship Series beginning late next week in a best of 7 series. Of course, the winners of those will then face each other in the World Series toward the end of the month, another best of 7 series, as usual.

Now, you long-term readers will know I’m not one to make predictions or assumptions, but since the Yankees aren’t in the postseason, I feel a little better, mostly for not showing a bias toward what I still consider the best team of all time. (And there are 26 rings and a pocket watch in the Yankees Museum to back that up. No, seriously, for the first World Series they won, they didn’t get rings, but decorative pocket watches. Fun trivia fact for your friends.)

So here’s my best shot at the MLB bracket game:

  • NL Wild Card — Pirates over Reds
  • AL Wild Card — Indians over Rays
  • NLDS 1 — Pirates over Cardinals in 5
  • NLDS 2 — Braves over Dodgers in 3
  • ALDS 1 — Red Sox over Indians in 3 (I’m going to get in trouble for that one!)
  • ALDS 2 — Tigers over Athletics in 4
  • NLCS — Braves over Pirates in 5
  • ALCS — Tigers over Red Sox in 6
  • World Series — Braves over Tigers in 5

I’ll be updating these after every series is over, so it will be interesting to see how I do. I’ve been about 50-50 in recent years, so you cannot take my guesses as authority. Just one person’s guess in a game that’s anything but predictable. So what’s your prediction? (Take to the comments section below, as I’m curious what my readers have to say.)

Well, we can officially say goodbye to the regular season. With the beginning of October tomorrow, we officially welcome the postseason. Albeit from the comfort of our own couches and armchairs, rather than those good old plastic (or metal or slightly cushioned) chairs with about 50,000 of our dearest friends cheering the team we really wanted to see in October. It is what it is at this point. 2013 may be over for the Yankees, but there’s still a whole lot of baseball to be played.

There’s also so much in the air about the roster and other key roles within the Yankee system, and stories just beginning to brew about changes both individually and as a whole. Stay tuned (is that still a thing?) for all the latest news. And for that, I’ll tease you with vague comments like this, but I won’t begin to presume to know how everything’s going to work out, and you know I won’t go anywhere near anything that smells like rumors or gossip. The truth is far more interesting anyway.

(And even though they are relaxing in their off-season now, I will still close every blog post with my salutation.)

Go Yankees!

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