It came down to the end of the baseball season, but the two teams I follow both made the playoffs, which means I will have to watch some playoff games this year. For my favorite baseball team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the wild card spot tasted even sweeter as they clinched it at the end of a San Francisco sweep. The Dodgers finished off their traditional rivals and got to celebrate on their turf:
Los Angeles beat San Francisco 4-3 in what might’ve been Barry Bonds’ last game for the Giants, and ended up even in the standings with San Diego. The Padres held the tiebreaker based on head-to-head record and earned the West crown.
“We’re looking forward to getting this thing started,” Los Angeles manager Grady Little said. “What’s taken place here started last year. Everything has been positive.”
The Dodgers could have won the divisional championship had San Diego lost their final game. However, Trevor Hoffman held off the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-6 in Phoenix to clinch their second straight divisional title. That sends LA to New York to play the Mets in the first round, a selection that the Dodgers say they wanted. LA wouldn’t mind avoiding the Padres, as they went 5-13 this year against their southern rivals.
The Minnesota Twins, meanwhile, came out of nowhere to steal their divisional title from the Detroit Tigers. They only led on the final day of the season as the lowly Kansas City Royals swept the Tigers in Detroit this weekend:
On the season’s final day, Joe Mauer won a historic batting title, the Twins defeated the Chicago White Sox 5-1, and then the players settled in with about 35,000 of their fans for a little TV.
Together, they watched on the stadium’s two JumboTrons as Kansas City finished a 10-8, 12-inning victory over Detroit that knocked the Tigers behind the Twins for the first time all season.
After coming from 12 games back, the Twins won their fourth American League Central title in five years, setting up a first-round playoff matchup with Oakland that starts Tuesday at the Metrodome.
Twelve games back? Twelve games back? We’ve seen an amazing comeback by the Twins this year. They managed to play themselves back into the wild-card slot, but no one expected the Tigers to collapse the way they did in September. Detroit will have a difficult task ahead of them, recovering from this blow in time to go on the road for their playoff series as the wild card.
Both teams improved themselves significantly from their 2005 seasons. Dare I hope for a Twin Cities-LA Series?