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Fall ball

Laura Coletti | Thursday, October 4, 2012

I often flip-flop on my favorite season, but fall is a front-runner.

Fall is a season rife with transitions. However, one constant that remains, fall in and fall out, is playoff baseball.

Although I never played a game of organized softball in my life, at the ripe young age of 15, I fell in love with a baseball team. I picked a good year to do so, too, because said team has not come close to sniffing playoff baseball since 2006. But during those 162 games, I absorbed everything I could.

Throughout the spring and summer, I would buy packs of baseball cards whenever my mom had to go to Wal-Mart (a hobby, as my dad never failed to remind me, more suited for 9-year-old boys). I learned player names, stats and factoids, not just for my team, but for other teams too. It became a treat to go to games, and I would beg my parents to stay for all nine innings. By the time October rolled around, I was hooked.

Then those darn New York Mets broke my heart.

But for the last six years of my life, I’ve continued to love playoff baseball in spite of the Mets’ lack of presence. I discovered it didn’t matter who was playing. Sit me in front of an exciting game and I’ll be happy for hours.

Although the presence of baseball in our lives eight months a year is pretty constant, the storylines are constantly changing, keeping the game fresh and exciting. Take this year. Even just within my own team, a non-contender, the Mets were able to celebrate the franchise’s first-ever no-hitter this season. Along with that, improbable comeback kid R.A. Dickey became the Mets first 20-win pitcher since 1990 and is a strong candidate for the Cy Young award. So they didn’t make the playoffs. At least there’s still something to smile about.
In the grander scheme, the two teams from the D.C.-Metro area have made names for themselves. Both the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals went from being bottom feeders to both clinching playoff berths. The Nationals had the best record in the National League. There’s just nothing not to love about underdog stories.
Individually, players are causing a buzztoo. By the time you read this, Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera could be the newest Triple Crown winner and the first since Notre Dame grad Carl Yastrzemski was crowned in 1967.

Playoff baseball is here again, just like it is every October. And, just like every October, there is always something different about it. It is one of the best things about fall. Even if you’re not the biggest sports enthusiast, stop to take in some human interest angles of the game. Who knows, maybe you’ll be hooked too.


Contact Laura Coletti at [email protected]

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.