It has been, as usual, a magical autumn filled with play fakes and head fakes, trick formations and trap blocks, sneaks and sleights and gadgets and gimmicks.
Yet, as usual, nothing has disappeared faster than major league baseball.
One moment there was a wonderfully noisy pennant race. The next moment it was so quiet you could hear a rating point drop.
One moment, we were marveling at the heartening end of a timeless marathon. The next moment, we were yawning over the silly steps of a manufactured sprint.
One moment, there were players spilling champagne over each other in celebration of one of sport’s most difficult achievements. The next moment, well, it’s been nearly two weeks and guys are still pouring champagne over each other and we’re not sure why.
One moment, the country cared. The next moment, much of it didn’t, and why should it?
I am writing this column on a classic fall Thursday in the middle of a dramatically crisp October afternoon, yet there is not even a hint of baseball’s Fall Classic or dramatic October.
There was no baseball played on Thursday. There was no baseball played on Wednesday. All four remaining teams, in fact, won’t be in action together until Saturday, when the first league championship series doubleheader will compete directly with college football, a decision that makes about as much sense as USC’s defense.
Baseball’s postseason rests when it should play, and plays when it should rest, and behaves so differently from the regular season that it’s almost not baseball at all.
Baseball’s postseason is too long on the calendar, not long enough on the field, too late on the clock, way too late on the weather report, and generally the kind of autumn visitor who used to help decorate your house, and now pummels it with pumpkin rinds.