We are currently in a time in sports that’s deemed “The Hunt For October.” This is not an actual hunting game where any sort of animal is killed and has nothing to do with Halloween or scary monsters. “The Hunt For October” is what these last weeks of major league regular season baseball sum up. Teams all have their eyes on a spot in the playoffs, which take place in October, and a chance to play for the World Series trophy (a 7-game series deemed the Fall Classic). This “hunting time” is when teams are trying to make those playoff dreams happen.
Now your guy is probably all caught up in the mix of this at some level. If his team had a terrible year and there is no way they are going to make the playoffs, he’s probably more focused on college or professional football or a new NHL (hockey) season that is about to get started. He could also be rooting heavily against one his teams rivals (as is the case with the bf). He may be a fan of a team that is a lock for the playoffs so he’s resting easy these last few weeks or perhaps his team is one that is right on the bubble, the status of making it in or getting knocked out changes on a nightly basis (as is the case with yours truly’s team). What you need to know is below, a breakdown of each team and what their playoff picture looks like. That way, you’ll easily know whether you need to get your guy a hockey jersey or you need to prepare yourself for a few more weeks of baseball.
American League (AL) – Each division winner gets spot in the playoffs. Also, the 2 teams with the best records out of all remaining teams get the two wild card bids.
Boston Red Sox – Could win over 100 games this season. Division winner. Playoff spot earned. If your a guy is a fan of these Sox, he’s coasting all the way to playoff time.
Tampa Bay Rays – If the season ended tonight, the Rays would earn one of the AL wild card spots. The season however is not ending today and the Rays find themselves locked in a wild card battle with the Orioles, Yankees, Indians, Rangers, and Royals. Some teams’s records are dead even. Others are 3 games back. With less than 10 games to go in the season, this is a day in/day out situation they got goin on.
Baltimore Orioles – Currently the furthest from the top of the wild card race at 3.5 games back from earning a wild card spot. Their remaining games are all against AL East opponents, including the Rays and the Red Sox. Basically, this division is a major league version of the Hunger Games.
New York Yankees – At 3 games back, the Yankees aren’t the furthest away from a wild card spot but they also have 3 games left to play against division rival Tampa Bay. Let the madness continue to ensue. Also, the Yankees have Alex Rodriguez. Which means if you aren’t a Yankees fan, you are not only rooting against them, you want them to get absolutely obliterated.
Toronto Blue Jays – Yes, there is a baseball team in Canada and no, it is not a good one. At least not this year. Not the worst record in baseball but certainly not the close to the best either, the Blue Jays aren’t going to be migrating south for any playoff games this year.
Detroit Tigers- Standing atop the division currently, 6 games in front of the next closest team, the Cleveland Indians. Detroit should clinch this division and barring a complete breakdown, earn a playoff spot.
Cleveland Indians – If the season were to end today, the Indians would be the other team to clinch an AL wild card spot. Even if they don’t make the playoffs, this season was a major improvement from last year when the Indians won only 68 games and certainly did not make the playoffs. A lot can change in a year though, am I right? Think about that time you cut your bangs and a year later, you were laughing at the picture forgetting you ever looked like that.
Kansas City Royals – Part of this AL Wild Card Race to the finish, currently standing at 3.5 games back from the top. The Royals usually stink, so congrats to your guy for them not being that team this year. Hold off on the playoff congrats though, they aren’t there yet.
Minnesota Twins – Star player Joe Mauer welcomed twin girls this year and he plays in one of the “twin cities.” All that coincidence didn’t translate into on field success however. With all that’s going on with other teams in the AL and sitting at almost 19 games back in the wild card race, looks like Mauer’s wife is going to have some help from her hubby while other baby daddy’s are playing playoff baseball. The Minnesota Twins are not going to be making the playoffs this season.
Chicago White Sox – One of the bf’s uncles favorite teams. Unfortunately, even his arguing during family debates won’t get them in the playoffs this year, they currently sit at almost 30 games back behind the wild card leaders. The White Sox have however won a World Series more recently (it’s been over a century) than their crosstown rival Chicago Cubs have. Another topic brought up in lively family baseball discussions.
Oakland A’s – Ever see Moneyball? Yeah. this was Brad Pitts’ team in the movie. Currently sitting at the top of the West division, next team is 8.5 games back. As long as they don’t lose every single one of their last games and Texas wins every single one of theirs, Oakland is your AL West champion and wins a spot in the playoffs.
Texas Rangers – One of the many teams battling like we’re in the movie 300 or something for one of two AL wild card spots. Currently playing another team in the fight, the Royals of Kansas City. At only .5 game back, they’re near the top of the pack but since everyone plays everyone, who gets the final spots is anyone’s guess right now.
Los Angeles Angels – 8.5 games backs is just too steep of a hole to climb out of this late in the season. Maybe next year your guy’s team will get some angels in their outfield to help out (Yes, that was an Angels in the Outfield reference … sue me)
Seattle Mariners – They’ve got their coffee, not so much a good enough for playoff baseball team this year. At 23 games behind the leader, the Mariners are not earnin’ one of those two highly coveted wild card spots this year.
Houston Astros – Lost over 100 games already this season, 40 games back from a wildcard spot. If your guy is an Astros fan congratulations, his team is not making the playoffs, you can pass go and move on completely to professional football. (I’d say hockey but you miss out there too, your closest professional hockey team is the Dallas Stars.)
National League (NL) – Same rules as above.
Atlanta Braves – Have 8 games left to play, currently have an 8 game lead over the Washington Nationals for the division. Barring a total breakdown and what would be a total choke, the Braves should clinch the NL East Division. (They only need one more win so this would be quite a choke if they weren’t able to get it)
Washington Nationals- About 5 games back from the being on top of the wild card race. During another year, this could still mean they could make the playoffs. But due to what’s going on down in the NL Central, it doesn’t look like the ‘Nats are going to have a shot at bringing the World Series trophy home to the Nation’s capital. It ain’t over ’till it’s over though. I think Obama said that? (That’s a joke, obviously. I know you smart readers will know this. But I had to explain it to the bf so I thought I’d add this explanation here, just in case.)
Philadelphia Phillies – City of Brotherly Love and good pretzels and World Series Champions in 2008. Unfortunately, doesn’t look like anyone will be ringing any victory bells this year in Philly. At 16.5 games back from a wild card spot, the Phillies are no longer in the hunt for October.
New York Mets – Another team from the great city of New York, unfortunately this one isn’t having the same kind of success as their crosstown rivals NY Yankees. While the Yankees are locked in a scrum inches from the finish line, the Mets aren’t anywhere near making the playoffs this season. They do have some games coming up against the Cincinnati Reds however, so they could play the role of spoiler this year. (As a Pirates fan, I am crossing all appendages that this happens.)
Miami Marlins – Recently changed their name from the Florida Marlins to Miami. Makes more sense because they play in Miami and Florida has other baseball teams, did nothing to get the team back to what they were in 2003, the last time they won a World Series. At two games away from 100 losses, this was certainly not the way they wanted to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of their last championship win.
St. Louis Cardinals – Currently sitting atop a division that is probably going to produce both NL wild card teams this playoff year. The Cardinals have had quite a dominance in the NL Central and the entire MLB in the last years, but the Reds and the Pirates are both right the in thick of things this season. The Cardinals currently sit at 2 games over the Pirates and 3 over the Reds for the division title.
Cincinnati Reds – If the season ended today, the Reds would earn a wild card spot and again if it ended today, would be playing division rival Pittsburgh Pirates in the one-game wild card playoff. The next closest team is the Nationals, at 5 games behind the Reds and Pirates. Because the Reds and Pirates play each other 5 out of their last 8 games, the ‘Nats could still get in.
Pittsburgh Pirates – Will have their first winning season since 1992 and hopefully their first playoff berth since then as well. Right up there tied with Cincinnati for the wild card lead and two games behind the Cardinals for the division title, the Pirates would get in and end their playoff drought if the season ended today. Barring a complete breakdown and season ending losing streak (knock on wood knock on wood knock on wood) and a season ending winning streak by the Nationals, it looks like the Pirates may finally end the drought. Get your Iron City beers ready.
Milwaukee Brewers – Not going to make the playoffs this year at almost 20 games behind the wild card leading Pirates and Reds, could potentially play spoiler though help take the division lead away from the Cardinals if they beat them in their final game against each other this season.
Chicago Cubs – Ahh the pride of the North Side, my current neighborhood. As much as they love their Cubbies here, not sure how many of fans are proud this year. With the longest championship drought in professional sports history, the Cubs are adding another year to the streak this year … they aren’t even going to get a shot at a World Series title. Could shake up how the rest of the division sits though, as their final week of games feature division rivals the Pirates and the Cardinals.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Have one of the best records in the league, been a dominant force to be reckoned with all year, have already clinched their division. Spot in playoffs.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Super hot climate, pretty cold baseball team. That didn’t make too much of sense but in layman’s terms, but basically, these Diamondbacks too far behind the wild card leaders to clinch a spot in the postseason classic.
San Diego Padres – Beautiful city but that’s not going to overcome the 10.5 game deficit that sits between the Padres and the wild card leaders. Enjoy the city guys, because your baseball team won’t still be playing come October.
San Francisco Giants – Last year’s World Series Champion is not going to get a chance to repeat this year at 17 games behind the wild card leaders. Oh well, at least they still have San Francisco.
Colorado Rockies – Good thing they have a beer company in Colorado because they are going to need some help extra drowning in their sorrows this season. Most likely won’t finish with the worst record in baseball, certainly not finishing with the best and not making the playoffs.
I hope this breakdown helped fill you in on where your guy’s team sits in the major league baseball playoff race. If your guy’s team is a lock for the playoff, congratulations. If his team is one of the ones in a fight to the finish, buckle up and hold on. If your guy is completely broken-hearted because his team is nowhere near making the playoffs, just remind him that spring training will be here before he knows it, and there is nothing like a brand new season to get his hopes back up (just ask any Chicago Cubs fan).
Have a wonderful Sunday!