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The Boys Of October Take The Field

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Major League BaseballHere we go again. It’s October. The air is turning a bit cooler and the leaves are showing autumn colors. College and professional football games have gotten underway and the baseball season is going into its annual playoff series.

The World Series of Baseball is one of America’s oldest and most beloved sporting events and the playoffs leading up to the actual series are looked forward to with eager anticipation each year. The competition is getting hot. The field has been narrowed down to just the cream of the crop and quality play is expected.

In 2012 MLB added an extra Wild Card team to each league playoff picture and an exciting one game playoff between the two teams to determine which will face the number one seed in the Division Series.

Entering the playoffs via the Wild Card route is sort of like slipping in the back door with the three divisional winners from each league, but, sometimes the Wild Card teams do go on to win it all.  The St. Louis Cardinals did it in 2011 and the Boston Red Sox in 2004. 2002 & 2003 were both wild card years when the Anaheim Angles and the surprising Florida Marlins came through to win the World Series after beginning the playoffs as Wild Card teams.

The action got underway right off the bat (excuse the pun) when the Tampa Bay Rays tied the Texas Rangers for one of the wild card spots.  The game was held in Texas opposite Monday Night Football but it was all Tampa Bay sending the Rangers back to the dugout until next year with a 5-2 victory.

Then on Tuesday evening the single game battle for the National League Wild Card spot got under way in Pittsburgh before a capacity crowd to cheer on the Pirates who had not been to the playoffs on 11 years.

The standing Pirate fans must have helped because Pittsburgh took an early lead behind two strong home runs and never let up. The Cincinnati Reds had a great season… but it ended on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

The odds to win the National League Pennant find the Dodgers as favorites at 13/10 followed by the Cardinals at 2-1 and the Braves at 3-1.  In the American League it is the Red Sox listed as favorites at 29/20 followed by the Tigers at 2/1 and the A’s at 17/5.

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