Posted October 4, 2012 | comments Leave a comment

Keeler: A rare case of pennant fever

Tommy Keeler

Today is the start of baseball postseason, and for once I feel like there are many reasons to be excited.

It's not just because the New York Yankees, my favorite team, is getting healthy and maybe ready to make a playoff run.

I think this postseason actually has a little something for everyone. The American League has a lot of the usual suspects -- the Yankees, the Texas Rangers and the Detroit Tigers.

Of course, there's also the Baltimore Orioles and the Oakland A's. The Orioles and A's have brought a little life to the NVD sports desk this season. Jeff Nations is a die-hard A's fan, while Brad Fauber is a big Orioles' fan. As a Yankees' fan, it's been amusing watching the two of them sweat it out this season, both cautiously optimistic about their teams chances to make it into the postseason. There hasn't been any trash-talking going on between any of us, but I would say all bets may be off if our teams meet in the playoffs.

It's kind of fun watching fans get so excited about their teams. One drawback to only rooting for teams that win all the time is that you don't get excited unless your team wins it all. For Yankee fans making the playoffs is expected. Still, I'll take winning championships on a regular basis over rooting for teams that are excited just to make the playoffs any day.

Both the Orioles and A's are small-budget teams that have had surprising success without big-name stars. If you're a fan of that, it's a great time to be a baseball fan. Of course, if you're not, you still have teams like the Yankees to root for.

In the National League, there are also plenty of great storylines. The St. Louis Cardinals are the defending champions, and are trying to make it two in a row despite losing manager Tony LaRussa and Albert Pujols from last year's team. The Washington Nationals have come out of nowhere to have the best record in baseball, and the Cincinnati Reds have also quietly been dominant this season. The Atlanta Braves are hoping that All-Star Chipper Jones can go out with a bang. The San Francisco Giants have also been very strong, very quietly. The Giants could win two championships in three years, isn't that called a dynasty? I have heard very little about them all year, and yet there they are again with the potential of doing something special.

However, of all the storyline possibilities, the one that stands out the most in this area is the Nationals and Orioles both making the playoffs. It's good for the D.C. area, and it's good for our area.

For as long as I can remember, most people in this community were Baltimore Orioles fans. They were the "home team" that everybody was supposed to root for. Then several years ago the Washington Nationals came to D.C. from Montreal, and suddenly the D.C. area and I'm sure our area was divided.

I know there are many people who still root hard for the Orioles, but the Nationals also have a very strong following in the area. It probably won't happen, but it would be kind of interesting to see the Nationals and the Orioles in the World Series. Who would the majority of local residents root for?

I'm not really sure the answer to that, but I'm sure it would make for some friendly banter between fans and I would like to think that most people in the D.C area and our area would be happy either way.

Typically when the Yankees lose and are out of it, I don't pay too much attention to the rest of the playoffs. However, this year I might watch a little more closely, especially if the Nationals and Orioles were to meet in the World Series.

If I were to root for either team, I'm sure it would be the Nationals. I do own a Nationals hat, and I have disliked the Orioles since I was little. I have to admit I have disliked them a little less over the last 10 years, when they've been pretty bad. However, old habits die hard.

No matter how you look at it, this postseason should be an entertaining one that brings a lot of joy to at least one group of fans.

If the stars align just right, it might be a magical month for many area fans.

-- Assistant sports editor Tommy Keeler Jr., can be reached at tkeeler@nvdaily.com

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