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An MLB postseason without suspense is like a ham no burger


Be it actual, or unspoken, the rules change for most postseasons. Hockey leaves its 3v3 overtime format in the regular season so game No. 57 doesn’t last forever, but reinstalls the old rules for the playoffs, leaving open the possibility for four-hour marathons. What is and isn’t a foul change in NBA and NFL postseasons, and even soccer acquiesces to shootouts when backed into a corner. So why is MLB commissioner Rob Manfred insistent that the league “ought to play the postseason the way you play the regular season”?

Trying to figure out why Manfred does anything is a fruitless exercise, but in the name of context, he did go on to say, “There’s exceptions. I’m open-minded on that topic.”

For the most part, the pitch clock — which is really the rule the players union is referring to when it warned against violations determining a postseason game — has been a success. The games are breezy, easily digestible, and move at a pace preferable to the glacial undertaking nine innings used to be.

Of course, Manfred is married to the one good idea he’s had during his tenure. That was inevitable, so now it’s a matter of trying to illustrate why MLB should at the very least alter the pitch clock for the playoffs.

Playoff baseball is a one-of-a-kind anxiety attack

In order to feel the pang of uncertainty that comes with every pitch, there has to be a buildup, and it’s impossible to do that if fans are still exhaling from the foul ball that landed 5 centimeters left of fair territory. I recently went to an MLB game, and felt a little rushed by the pitch clock.

I would push for some kind of extension. Bump up the clock to 30 seconds, maybe 45 if there are runners on base, and then a full minute in any inning past the seventh. There’s no other sport (maybe cricket, but don’t quote me on this) that fills with as much nervous energy as baseball. You’re either cussing about the pitcher missing the strike zone, or the hitter offering at something out of it.

That’s why it’s so exhilarating when your club wins and your blood pressure drops. The rest of the time though, being a baseball fan is an excruciating experience, and it should continue to feel that way. I want the duct tape removed as slowly and painfully as possible.

Why are we rushing time allotted for relaxation?

Twenty seconds is quick when you’re used to cozying into your seat and idling your way through a bag of peanuts over the span of four hours. I’m not trying to choke on a legume because I’m trying to get the most out of the $10 grocery sack of salty, shelled morsels I bought from homie outside the stadium.

The game I attended had the feeling of people sprinting from air-conditioned space to air-conditioned space during a sweltering summer day, instead of embracing the heat and sunshine. How is anyone ever supposed to enjoy something if we eliminate everything in life that annoys us? You know what happens after that? The things that used to bring us happiness start to annoy us, because that’s all we’re exposed to, and that’s what happened with baseball.

Cellphones have conditioned people to think that every waking moment needs to be captured, or occupied with information, productivity, or content. We must never, ever be bored; for to be bored means you’re boring, and being dull is a fate worse than death.

And to be bored while you’re supposed to be having fun? Ugh, what hell hath the wheel of Fortuna spun me?

What in the world do you have to do at 9 p.m.? Where could you possibly have to be? Asleep so you can be your best self at work tomorrow? Grow up, Peter Pan. Your shows are all recorded or on demand, sleep is the cousin of death, and have you ever seen a human sleep? It’s painfully boring.

Maybe I’m just mad that I had to slug my third beer on the way out of the stadium. We’re living in a really impatient world when a guy can barely guzzle down 64 ounces of beer over the course of a baseball game. 

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