Tuesday, October 08, 2002

For me, the sweetest part of the baseball playoffs is the annual demise of the Atlanta Braves. (Except in 1995, when no one bothered to beat them.) The pleasure this year is so much the better, as their demise comes at the hands of Barry Bonds, a man whose number has been in Atlanta's lockbox for ten years until now. I remember Bonds's disastrous performance in the 1991 NLCS, when as a Pittsburgh Pirate he fell into such a slump that Atlanta pitchers in that series would actually walk Bobby Bonilla intentionally just to pitch to Bonds, who would then play his part by popping up to short. Then there is the pain of the 1992 NLCS, when Bonds awoke from his slump with a home run in Game Six, only to have Sid Bream -- the slowest player in MLB history -- beat his throw to the plate in the bottom of the ninth in Game Seven, scoring the winning run. I remember Bonds's amazing 1993 season, when he led his new team -- the Giants -- to 103 regular season victories, only to see the Braves notch 104 wins and take the NL West (the two teams were division rivals at the time).

Last night, Bonds scored two runs, which was all the Giants would need (although they later added a third) to defeat the Braves in Game Five of the divisional series, thus sending the Tomahawk-chopping Atlanta fans back home to watch the Falcons and the Hawks.

So, now that the matchups in both LCS's are set, I can actually say that it won't bother me at all if any of the remaining teams win it all. I'm personally rooting for the Giants (and I will be forced to do so even if they play the Twins in the World Series, which will annoy a certain Minnesota sports-crazed fan I know). But it's great to see all these underdogs stepping up to stake their claim for October glory.

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