As the 2013 Post Season officially begins this seemed like the perfect time to gather some of the BSO staff together to discuss all things October baseball.
BSO staff writers Natasha Paul, Phil Jackson, Terrance ‘TJ’ Llewellyn and myself (Ashley Nicole) answered five burning questions going into the post season.
1. Which team desperately needs a first round win more the Dodgers or Braves?
TJ: I think it’s the Dodgers, they haven’t been shy in splurging cash and heightening expectations, so it would be extremely deflating if they weren’t able to get out of the first round. Having the Braves as your first round opponent isn’t necessarily ideal, but the Dodgers have played some dynamic baseball this season after the slow start so I’m expecting big things from them.
Ashley Nicole: The pressure falls on the Braves to win now. They haven’t won a playoff round in over 10 years, no matter how many divisions they clinch, how many regular season games they win they simply cannot keep losing in devastating fashion in the first round. The Braves were lucky to get hot despite the emerging presence of the Nationals. Next year and years after that they most likely won’t get that lucky. They need to get out of the first round and make a long playoff push.
Natasha: It would have to be the Dodgers. The egos on the team could be served well by a first round exit.
2. Will Yasiel Puig become a post season bust or will he remain highly productive–can he handle the big stage?
Phil: I think Puig has the skill set to be productive in the postseason. His start to the season set kind of unrealistic expectations but beyond all the hype, the kid is an amazing talent. With Kemp out, the Dodger’s hope for a postseason run probably sit on Puig’s shoulders.
Natasha: If the Dodgers lose in the first round, it won’t be because of Yasiel Puig. I think he definitely can continue to be the same player he’s been all season long.
TJ: If Yasiel Puig struggles in his first postseason appearance, it won’t be because he’s intimidated by the big stage. He’s fearless and dynamic, can get a little out of control at times, so he’s going to have to rein in the enthusiasm a bit, and keep in mind that the team’s goals comes first. I think he’ll show and prove.
Ashley Nicole: Yasiel Puig has shown to be fearless and not care how he’s perceived by the media. He marches to his own beat and has fun with the game, I don’t see the big stage intimidating him–in fact, I see him flourishing in the increased spotlight.
3. Which NL and AL team are you most surprised to see NOT make he playoffs and briefly state why
Natasha: Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles. Too much talent on both teams to not even be in the wild card game.
Ashley Nicole: Washington Nationals and Angels. The Nationals were my faves to win the World Series going in, so to see them struggle mightily early into what was supposed to be their glory years is shocking. As for the Angels, I knew they grossly overspent but to see that much offensive talent and that payroll fail THAT miserably is very surprising.
TJ: The AL team I’m shocked didn’t make the playoffs is the Baltimore Orioles, simply because their offence led by the probable AL MVP Chris Davis, was so damn unstoppable for the better part of the season. But I guess the lack of elite pitching and competing in the rat race that is the AL East was too much to overcome. As far as the NL, I would say the absence of the defending champions San Francisco Giants from the playoffs is mildly shocking, but then again I wasn’t all that impressed with them when they won the World Series.
4. How do you feel about the one game wild card round in place?
TJ: I like the fact that more teams get a chance to play for something in September, not too fond of the one-game playoffs but must admit it adds an element of excitement that baseball could use to draw more fans.
Ashley Nicole: I’m more of a fan of the fact there is a second wild card more so than the 1 game wild card round. Anything can happen in a 1 game playoff, baseball isn’t like football it’s hard for things to be settled in one game. The game is way too sporadic scoring wise for 1 game to decide a team’s fate. I think it should at least be tweaked in its format.
Natasha: I think it’s a great idea. There are way too many games to begin with so this is a good way to not take away from the regular season and give the wild card games some edge.
5. What’s your World Series match up prediction and who wins, how many games?
Phil: Give me the Tigers vs. Dodgers. Ultimately I would take the Tigers in a hard-fought 7 game series. The pitching in this potential matchup would be outstanding so I would look at who can score enough to get the job done. From top to bottom, I believe the Tigers have the best lineup in baseball (not to mention adding back Johnny Peralta from his Biogenesis suspension) and I think that would ultimately be the difference.
Natasha: Atlanta and Boston 7 games. This was tough for me because I really do think anyone can make it there.
TJ: I got the Dodgers vs the Red Sox, with the Dodgers and that great pitching and dynamic offense winning the World Series in 6 games.
Ashley Nicole: Cardinals vs the Red Sox. Cardinals win in 6.
The conversation has been started, for now all we can do is watch as teams rise and fall from now until the Fall Classic.
The chief goal with this round table discussion and why I wanted more than just myself to give my thoughts, is because I feel as a black owned an operated site with a large black readership it’s important that we get out of our NBA and NFL ‘bubble’ and show we are just as much interested in other sports, be it baseball, hockey or anything in-between.
I think we accomplished that goal.