Opinion: With flips and tips, MLB playoffs hit full swing

By: Paul Fritschner ~Staff Writer~

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 14:  Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws his bat up in the air after he hits a three-run home run in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers in game five of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 14, 2015 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Photo courtesy of time.com | Bautista emphatically flips his bat after his go-ahead home run in Game 5 of the ALDS.

The leaves are beginning to change colors, the air is crisp and college basketball is right around the corner, which means it’s just about time to commence the Fall Classic. The postseason in baseball is drastically different from the regular season. While a team goes through a 162 game grind leading up to October, the playoffs consist of short series that generally hinge on a team simply getting hot at the right time. This year’s playoffs have been unlike those in recent memory. The Toronto Blue Jays, back for the first time in 22 years, rode a powerhouse of an offense into the playoffs and dispatched the Texas Rangers in the first round. The Kansas City Royals have continued their dominance from last year’s postseason and look like a potential favorite to win the World Series. The New York Mets dethroned the Washington Nationals in the National League East and pitched their way into the playoff ’s second round. The Chicago Cubs, America’s darling, are seeking to take home their first World Series crown since 1908. They have two bits of history on their side.

First, the last three World Series champions have all eliminated the St. Louis Cardinals, a consistent playoff juggernaut, on their road to the title. The Cubs took care of that in just four games in the bestof- five NLDS. Second, the 1989 film “Back to the Future Part II” predicted the Cubs would be victorious this year. So who knows? Maybe this is the year for the Cubs. They must first climb out of a 0-2 hole in the National League Championship Series against the New York Mets to even make it to the World Series.

One of the craziest innings in MLB playoff history occurred in Game 5 of the ALDS between the Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays. The 53-minute seventh inning saw the Rangers take the lead on a bizarre play when the Blue Jays’ catcher attempted to throw the ball back to the pitcher. It hit the batter’s bat, the runner on third came in and scored as the ball scooted down the third base line. After a long discussion among the umpires and a chorus of boo’s from the Blue Jay faithful, the run was allowed to score. An 18 minute delay occurred as unruly fans threw garbage and debris on the field in protest.

The bottom half of the inning was outrageously extraordinary, indescribably perplexing and altogether incredible to watch. The Rangers practically handed the game back to the Blue Jays with three consecutive errors, and after the tying run scored, Jose Bautista stepped to the plate with two men on. He destroyed a pitch left hanging over the plate and proceeded to produce one of the greatest bat flips of all time. The fans were ecstatic and the stadium was raucous.

Be sure to tune in to the rest of the postseason because you never know what might happen, maybe even something that has never happened before.