Story by Lorenzo Serrato, Sports Editor
Photo courtesy pexels.com
October baseball is in the air and in full swing, with a little twist this year. With the Coronavirus pandemic delaying the start of the regular season, Major League Baseball adapted to a brief 60-game season and decided to change the format of the Postseason. Unlike in years past, a total of eight teams from both the American and National League were included in this expanded format.
The expanded playoff format has been a tremendous success, as the fan reaction and response has been nothing but positive. The wild card match up is typically a one game, win or go home playoff match-up. This year, the wild card round consists of a best-of-three series, making the matchups much more intriguing than in years past.
This year, the American League bracket consisted of the following teams:
(1) Tampa Bay Rays vs ( 8) Toronto Blue Jays, (4) Cleveland Indians vs (5) New York Yankees, (3) Minnesota Twins vs (6) Houston Astros , (2) Oakland Athletics vs (7) Chicago White Sox.
And in the National League, (1) Los Angeles Dodgers vs (8) Milwaukee Brewers, (4) San Diego Padres vs (5) St. Louis Cardinals, (3) Chicago Cubs vs (6) Miami Marlins, (2) Atlanta Braves vs (7) Cincinnati Reds.
With these eight different teams partaking in this years postseason, there were a few surprise contenders that emerged from the shortened season.
The Miami Marlins finished the 2019 campaign with a 57 wins, and 105 losses, finishing in a dismal last place. With the shortened season, Miami was able to finish in 2nd place this year, leading them back to the playoffs for the first time since 2003.
Another few interesting teams mentioned above are the San Diego Padres and the Chicago White Sox. Both organizations have endured longing rebuilds that finally came to a halt throughout the 2020 season. The two organizations are young and hungry, with talent looming from the Minor League system.
The Rays, Yankees, Astros, and Athletics were all winners in the AL Wild Card round, while the Dodgers, Padres, Marlins, and Braves were winners in the NL.
While the 2020 season season seen some unexpected bumps in the road, an unprecedented tight schedule, and tons of uncertainty, the return of baseball has brought joy and hope to many through the struggles of COVID era.