8/21/2014 3:33 P.M. ET
A View From Studio 3: Stop the droughts
By Matt Yallof / MLB.com
This week it's the Orioles, or maybe the Angels. No, scratch that, it's the Nationals. Hold on, stop the music, it's still the A's. Unless it's the Brewers.
Ask 10 different people to name the best team in baseball and you'll get 10 different answers.
That's what makes this baseball season an absolute blast. With six weeks to go there are 10 teams either leading their division or within five games of the division lead. There are 11 teams either in possession of a Wild Card or within five games of a Wild Card spot.
It's awesome. It's exactly what millions of fans wanted and exactly what the folks who run Major League Baseball wanted. Commissioner Bud Selig made it happen when he added a second Wild Card team to each league in 2012. As Selig prepares to hand over the reigns to Rob Manfred, the expanded playoff format is certainly going to part of Selig's lasting legacy.
Think about this: There are fans from two different countries salivating at the possibility of breaking the three longest playoff droughts.
In the case of the Royals, that drought dates back to the Reagan administration. Put it this way -- you'd have to be at least 35 or 36 years old to have any memory of the last time the Kansas City made the playoffs. Of course if the season ended today the Royals would win a division crown for the first time since 1985. On that club was Dane Iorg. 35 years old at the time of the Royals only World Championship, Iorg is now 64. From the prime of one's life to collecting social security and the Royals have missed the postseason every year. It seems impossible.
Dane's brother Garth was a member of the Blue Jays in 1985 when the Jays reached the postseason for the first time in their history, but he was not part of the Jays most recent October run. That was in 1993. You knew that because 21 years ago the Fall Classic ended with Joe Carter's walk off home run. Who can forget that magical moment? The video of that at-bat against Mitch Williams is played as often as any video footage in MLB's never-ending video library. It's one of the few moments that millions of fans can recall vividly: where they were ... who they were with ... what they were eating (for the record, late night Chicken Parm with pasta). Anyway, as great a moment as that was, the fine folks in Toronto and all of Canada would be happy to add fresh October memories to their sporting collage. For a franchise that's existed since 1977, its time to acquaint a new generation to meaningful fall baseball.
The Mariners were also born 37 years ago. Their postseason history is devoid of a World Series appearance. And if not for a heart stopping Game 5 win in the first-ever ALDS, the Seattle franchise may no longer exist. They say that Edgar Martinez's 11th-inning, game-winning hit that drove in Joey Cora and Ken Griffey on Oct. 8, 1995 was the moment that saved baseball in the Pacific Northwest. It gave the team and the fan base something to cheer about after going 18 years with almost nothing to latch onto. Perhaps this is the year the M's snap another drought. It's been 13 years since their last playoff appearance. That was in 2001 when the team set a record by winning 116 games in the regular season but fell flat in the ALCS. To put in context just how long ago that was, think about this: In 2001 we were trying to properly pronounce the name of a rookie called Ichiro. In 2001, Felix Hernandez was only 15 years old. Now he's a veteran considered the best pitcher in the American League and likely headed for a second Cy Young Award. A postseason trip is long overdue. The sporting world deserves to see the King reign supreme on the grand stage.
Remember last year when the Pirates snapped a drought that lasted two decades? The electricity and emotion coming from the Steel City jumped through your television and captured the imagination of the young and old and older. Moments like that make baseball the best. With six weeks to go in the regular season, there's no way to predict where the next magical postseason will take place so just kick back and enjoy what could be an historic ride.
Matt Yallof is the co-host of The Rundown on MLB Network from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.