Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Baseball Playoffs

I may be unusual in that I am not a full-bore sports fanatic. I don't live and die by the fortunes of any sports team. I rarely have a lot of interest in any sport until it gets down to playoff time, and usually only when one of the few teams I actually halfway care about, is in the thick of it. Still there are a few teams that I do follow occasionally.

A couple of years ago, my favorite baseball team, the Houston Astros, finally made it to the World Series. Oh man, I was happy about that. I have followed them since the Colt .45 days, and for them to get to their first world series was exciting. And heartbreaking. Swept by the White Sox, the 'Stros couldn't buy a win.

The Astros have given me some great memories though. Players like Nolan Ryan, the recently retired Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Kevin Bass, J.R. Richard, Jose Cruz, Roger Clemens, and many others gave me lots of great games to watch, either in person or on television. When I moved away from Houston, Minute Maid Park (formerly Enron Field) had not been built, and I have never seen a game there. For me, the Astros memories took place at the Eight Wonder of the World, the Harris County Domed Stadium, known as The Astrodome. Who can forget the flashy scoreboard that went berserk everytime the Astros won or hit a home run?

And what about the best playoff game of all time, Game 6 of the 1986 National League Championship against the New York Mets. Both teams joined the league 25 years prior, so it was a fitting match up. The game went 16 innings before the Astros finally lost. This game held the record for the longest postseason game in Major League Baseball history until 2005, when the Astros beat the Atlanta Braves in 18 innings.

So now, we come to a phenomenal season ending winning streak by my next favorite team, the Colorado Rockies. The Rox won 13 out of their last 14 games to come out of nowhere and force the San Diego Padres into a one game play-in to see who got to be the wild card team in the National League. The game, played last night at Denver's Coors Field went back and forth, with the Padres scoring in the top of the 13th. This extra-innings game was decided when the Rockies scored three runs in the bottom of the inning to advance. The final run was Matt Holliday's chin in the dirt slide into home, sending the Rockies to Philadelphia to play the Phillies tomorrow. What a great game it was!

Go Rockies! Now hopefully the Astros can use the off season to get it together and return to the World Series in 2008!

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