MLB: Last Day of the Regular Season – 2 Playoff Spots at Hand

It doesn’t get any more exciting, especially in a sport that often drags on and on for 5 1/2 months. But this year might see — for the first time ever — 2 (and possibly a third) one-game playoffs for the final two spots (the NL Wild Card and the AL Central Division Title) in the playoffs.

UPDATE: The Brewers beat the Cubs and the Marlins beat the Mets, so for the second straight year, the Mets have been shut out of the playoffs on the last day of the season. The Brewers will play the Phillies in the NLDS beginning Wednesday and the Cubs will host the Dodgers Wednesday in that NLDS. The White Sox must beat the Tigers in a make-up game Monday to face the Twins in a playoff Tuesday for the AL Central Crown and a spot in the playoffs vs. Tampa Bay (starting Thursday).

I’m listening to WGN Radio’s broadcast of the Cubs vs Brewers, where the crowd is decidedly split, but while the Cubs are starting one-time prodigy Angel Guzman (who after all these years is still 0-7 and awaiting his first major league victory), The Brew Crew sent out CC Sabathia for the third time in 10 days. I’m watching the scores on the Mets/Florida game very closely, as well as the Sox/Indians and Twins/Royals.

Here are the possible playoff scenarios:

AL Central: If the Chicago White Sox (86-74) and Minnesota Twins (87-74) are still within a half-game of each other after play is completed Sunday, Chicago must make up a rainout against the Detroit Tigers on Monday. If the White Sox and Twins finish with the same record, they would play a tiebreaker game Tuesday in Chicago.

NL Wild Card: If the New York Mets (89-72) and Milwaukee Brewers (89-72) still have identical records after Sunday, they would play a one-game tiebreaker Monday in New York.

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Cubs Win! The Magical ’08 Season Goes On

I was thrilled to watch the Cubs celebrate their Central Division-clinching win on national television today and before a full house at Wrigley. It seems they’re always clinching on enemy territory — the Pirates come to mind (and yes, in my 33 years it’s happened with relative frequency — 1984, 1989, 1998 [wild card], 2003, 2007, and now 2008). But this is the first time the Cubs have won back-to-back division titles since they three-peated in 1906-1908 (winning their last two World Series in 1907 and ’08).

I’m in Las Vegas (the Cubs are 9-5 favorites to win the NL Pennant; 4-1 on the Series) at the Blog World Expo but — my heart was in Wrigley… and the victory cry I heard just now on Channel 9 News at Nine as bellowed by Ron Santo was something else — I’ll have to get audio. I’d like to thank Jim Hendry and Lou Piniella and the greatest Cubs team I’ve been fortunate to cheer on — the 2008 Cubs. For now, video below, and even the hat is pretty cool. Now back to regularly scheduled weekending and BWE08 activities.

LISTEN to the postgame celebration via WGN AM Radio

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Cubs in Five

I wore an Aramis Ramirez jersey to both Cubs losses at Chase Field in Arizona. Ramirez went hitless in 9 at bats. The D-backs uncharacteristically scored over a dozen runs in two games. The Cubs have yet to show up in the playoffs, but Chase Field is not really much of a ballpark. It’s more of a warehouse or hangar filled with ads, a mascot, and yes, cheerleaders — two teenagers who pop on the big screen to try and rile the crowd. Sadly, the crowd — the slight majority that weren’t rooting for the Cubs — were filled with haters, who, instead of rooting for their own team, could only get into the “Beat the Cubs” chant. Lame.

My optimism remains strong.

I still believe.

Next year is here.

Cubs in Five.