On Saturday I watched the Dodgers win their first playoff series in 20 years. I watched the Brewers win their first playoff game in 26 years. And I welcomed home my wife after an eight-day business trip, just in time to join me on the couch for the latter as I waved my Brewers towel along with the 43,992 fans packed into Miller Park for the stadium’s first-ever postseason game. Not a bad Saturday.
I was a college freshman when Orel Hershiser struck out Tony Phillips to complete one of the biggest World Series upsets in history. As upsets go, these Dodgers’ sweep of the 97-win Cubs, owners of the NL’s best record, rates pretty highly on the Upset-O-Meter as well. I don’t know of anyone who predicted it, but via a discussion with a few of my Baseball Prospectus a quiet consensus emerged about the Dodgers’ sleeper potential given their revamped lineup and the two teams’ late-season play.
If Hershiser and company beating the A’s seems like more than half a lifetime a go (and for me, it is), it makes my head spin even more to think that when Harvey’s Wallbangers went up 3-2 at old County Stadium to send the 1982 World Series back to St. Louis, I was still about two months shy of my bar mitzvah. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Aaron and Jame, not only managed to snag a pair of tickets for the first postseason game in Miller Park history, they wound up on TV thanks to the TBS-friendly sign they made (picture 1, picture 2). Not a bad memento.
The season’s final Hit List is up today; glad to retire that wordy beast for another winter. Thanks to my editors for their eternal patience with it, and to my readers for making the column such a popular one.