MLB postseason a tale of two leagues

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By ANNIE MOORE
College Contributor Network

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Well, for the 26 teams left watching from home, it may seem like the worst of times. But for the four teams left standing in October, it is indeed the best of times. While for a couple of teams this has become par for the course, for others it seems long overdue. This postseason then, is the tale of two leagues.

The National League Championship Series pits two teams that have made regular appearances in October as of late. The St. Louis Cardinals, who have won five division championships, three pennants and two World Series in the past nine seasons. And the Giants are in the postseason for the third time in five years, the last two have resulted in World Series rings.

Inversely, there is the American League Championship Series which pits the Kansas City Royals against the Baltimore Orioles -- two teams that have endured some of the longest postseason droughts in recent memory. The Royals, coming off of a 25-year playoff drought, have already proven their tenacity to grind out late wins. And the Orioles won their first division title since 1997, when Cal Ripken Jr. was 36 years old. Baltimore and Kansas City have not brought home World Series titles since 1983 and 1985, respectively.

The NLCS is a rematch of the same series two years ago. Then, the Giants defeated the Cardinals and went on to defeat the Detroit Tigers for the seventh World Series title in franchise history. The Cardinals offense seemed to hit its stride against the Los Angeles Dodgers and their ace Clayton Kershaw, hitting seven home runs off the Cy Young winner in two games. But they'll have to turn right around and face another ace, the Giants' Madison Bumgarner.

The NLCS has many stars on both sides of the field, and two in particular behind home plate. Yadier Molina and Buster Posey are two of the most dangerous and impactful catchers in all of Major League Baseball.

The two have a combined 1,970 hits and 179 home runs in the majors, not to mention eight All-Star Game appearances, and a Silver Slugger award for each. The one thing Molina has that Posey doesn't? A Gold Glove, well actually six of them. Both prolific catchers will certainly have key roles for their respective teams, but only one catcher and one team can emerge victorious.

One thing is for sure in the National League, for the fifth year in a row either the Cardinals or the Giants will represent the NL in the World Series.

The ALCS has already proven to be a thriller as the Kansas City Royals are making their comeback to October one worth remembering. The Royals are the first team to win back-to-back postseason games with walk off home runs in extra innings and the first team to win three-straight postseason games in extras.

This young team has shown its tenacity in the waning hours with that aggressive style of baseball it keeps practicing. In the 44 years between 1969 and 2013, the Royals had zero postseason home runs. This postseason they already have four long balls in extra innings.

The Orioles are no stranger to the long ball, hitting more home runs this season, 211, than any other team in baseball. Part of this is attributed to the smaller field at Camden Yards, but part of it is due to the big hitters on the O's line up. None bigger than Nelson Cruz, who had 40 home runs of his own this season.

It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity...it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us...

Former stars will bring the wisdom, while the young players will bring foolishness, with a healthy dose of energy and enthusiasm. This is the time of year that sparks more belief in fan bases, and when disappointing losses can cause so much despair.

But more than all, these four teams have everything before them, everything a baseball player dreams about. They are four wins from the World Series, but if they don't play their hearts out every inning, every at bat, they could have nothing before them.

It's win or go home in October, and there's one thing you can be sure of, America will be glued to its television sets to see the completion of this Tale of Two Leagues.


Annie Moore is a junior at the University of Louisville majoring in Communications with a Sport Administration minor. She believes Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. Follow her on Twitter: @AnyMoreSports
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