The End of Baseball in 2008

What a gloomy title…

Rain and snow will soon fall in parts of SoCal and the Angels will not add a second championship flag to their stadium.  There’s always next year.

Had you asked me what teams would make the playoffs at the start of the year my predictions would have gone like this:

NL West – Dodgers
NL Central – Cubs
NL East – Phillies
NL Wild Card – Mets
AL West – Angels
AL Central – White Sox
AL East – Red Sox
AL Wild Card – Yankees

Not bad predictions, right?  I mean, who thought the Rays would be that good?  Who knew the Yankees would get that hurt?  And who knew the Mets would collapse like that… again?

Once the eight teams were decided, I really hoped for a Freeway Series… that would’ve been great!  Alas, it wasn’t in the cards.  Not even ManRam and/or Big Tex could help the SoCal teams into the World Series.  The NLCS… I didn’t care.  The Cubs would’ve been fun to watch… and I don’t like the Dodgers.  Brewers?  Meh…  Phillies?  “Okay,” I thought.  Sure.

The AL playoff race… man.  I had to leave my apartment after Aybar couldn’t get that bunt down and the Red Sox won that series in four.  Ugh.  Then I had to choose between rooting for the team that had eliminated my Halos or the team that had manhandled them throughout the regular season.  Well, the Red Sox had opened a fresh wound so I was all about the Rays–funny how if you drop “Devil” from your name and change your logo to a flash of light, you win baseball games–and their youthful team.  As my friend, Josh, would say, “You get that many draft picks and you’re bound to be good eventually.”  They were the underdogs; this year’s baseball Cinderella story.

It wouldn’t be a happy ending for the boys from St. Pete.  In the end the Phillies had better pitching, more homers, and the experience necessary to hold down Joe Maddon and his kids.

I was satisfied.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Now that the playoffs and World Series are over I can let out all the “whoas” that have been lounging around inside me with regard to the end of the baseball season.

I went to quite a few games this year!  Roughly twenty… though I really am too tired to look that statistic up right now.  I bet I could figure it out.  Living in Orange County makes it easy to hit up Angels games.  Currently, I live closer to their stadium than I ever have and it feels good to be just a fifteen minute drive from your favorite ballpark.  I also visited some new parks this year.  Michelle and I watched a game at U.S. Cellular Field and went on a walking tour of Wrigley Field while we were in Chicago… the Cubs were out of town at the time.  This is in addition to the one Padres game, two Dodgers games, and many Angels games I saw this year.  I watched a lot of baseball and I had some fun times at the stadiums.

October and November 2008 018.jpgI took up a collection of baseballs.  The end of the ’08 season finds me with twenty-eight baseballs.  At the start of the season my collection was still in single digits!  My goal for next year: thirty baseballs!  I plan to attend more Angels games (and see the other SoCal teams, should my schedule allow) and I’ll be taking my first ever trip to a certain park in Missouri where a certain team, affectionately called the Redbirds, plays.  August…  I’m hoping for a leftover All-Star ball.  We’ll see…

It’s weird to not be able to see the diving catches and home runs on ESPN when I come home.  Now there’s all this talk of this other game where you bounce a ball… and one where people get tackled.  Whatever.

Some baseball highlights in the life of Matt from 2008:

  • Getting a behind the scenes tour of Angel Stadium
  • Seeing baseball in Chicago with Michelle
  • Snagging seven baseballs in one game in Anaheim
  • Meeting (and getting the autograph of) Zack Hample at Dodger Stadium
  • Watching Karl snag his first-ever baseball at PETCO Park

I’m stage managing a play right now and there’s a line in it: “What’ll we do ’til spring?”

Hmm… good question.  I’ve got school to keep me busy… so, so busy.  Plus, I’ve got Michelle!  We’ve got a wedding to plan.  Things are good… things are very good.

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