Musings by Dick Flavin ... Playoff Time

Musings:   Playoff Time

Oct 02, 2017 04:49   pm

By Dick Flavin, Boston Red Sox Poet Laureate, and New York   Times Best Selling Author

PLAYOFF TIME

On to the playoffs – and   winter clothes.
There was a time, boys and girls, when October baseball was a fan friendly   experience,
but that was years ago. You could sit in the golden sunshine of an early October   day with
just a hint of briskness in the air, wearing maybe a sweater or a light   windbreaker. The
World Series was played early in the month and it was played in the daytime.   Fifty years
ago, the year of the Red Sox Impossible Dream season, the seventh and final   game was
played on the afternoon of October 12 th . Other than the final score, it was   a glorious day.
This year the seventh game of the World Series is scheduled for Novemer 1 st   , and it'll be
at night. And that's weather permitting. God forbid there should be rain or   (gulp) snow in
the forecast.

Fans in Los Angeles, Houston and other warm climate cities do not need to   read any
further; this essay concerns itself with places that get cold on October   nights, places like
Boston, Chicago, Cleveland and, of course, San Diego (I have been told by   many people
who claim to know that it'll be a cold day by the time the Padres make the   post-season
again).

The Extension of the baseball season into November is a result of the ever   expanding
playoff system. This expansion can best be seen by noting when the Red Sox   ended their
World Series campaigns: in '67 without playoff games before the Series,   October 12; in
'75, October 22; in '86 and '04, October 27; in '07, October 28; and in   '13,October 30.
See the pattern here?

It's just a matter of time before the call is made to expand the wildcard   playoff from a
single game to a best two out of three series. After all, the argument will   go, it only
amounts to a few more games – that and a few more cold November nights.
The move from day to night games in the post-season was dictated years ago by
television, or maybe it was by mittens manufacturers.What it means for those lucky enough to score tickets is that   they'll freeze their knickers
off. Last year, when the seventh game was held in Cleveland on November 3 rd   , ticket

holders dodged a bullet.   The temperature at game time was an unseasonably balmy 69
degrees, though it dropped preciptously as the night wore on; the game didn't   end until
well after midnight. The fifth game temperature in Chicago, on the other   hand, held true
to form for the Windy (and Chilly) City. It was a frosty 50 degrees at game   time. Lord
only knows what it was by game's end. Of this we can be sure, it was damn   cold.

There is something about watching baseball in the cold weather that makes it   far more
uncomfortable than watching football when temperature is the same. Perhaps   it's just our
mindset, baseball is supposed to be played in warm weather, and football when   it's
colder. A September game when it's 80 degrees is torture for a football fan;   for a baseball
fan it's heaven. Maybe it has something to do with the pace of the game. The   football fan
is constantly hooting and hollering, the next play is only seconds away and   the clock is
ticking. The baseball fan has time between pitches to chat with whomever is   next to him
or, when it's playoff time, to ruminate on how cold his feet are.

But who's complaining? After all, the object of the game is to play twice   when its cold;
in April, when everyone plays, and October, when only the best teams are   still standing
–and shivering.

Button up your overcoat   and a scarf unfold.
When it's playoff time it'll be damn cold.
Put away those summer shirts, put your shorts on hold,
'Cause come playoff time it'll be damn cold.
When there's an icy breeze, oh oh,
Wear wool please, oh oh,
On your knees, oh oh,
Or you'll sit there freezing your buns off.
Wear a hat and bring some gloves, put on shoes thick-soled,
When it's playoff time it'll be damn cold.
When it gets cold at night, oh oh,
Then you might, oh oh,
Get frost bite, oh oh,
Bring a flask and don't forget chapstick.
Baseball is a summer game, but the truth be told,
When it's playoff time it'll be damn cold.

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