Baseball postseason is coming, where’s the excitement?

The plan was to write a column about the Bears. They’re owning every week lately, this is our year, Super Bowl bound right?

Yeah, I guess it is a little early for that. We could say that for Illini football too and we all know there is still a long season ahead. Too bad there’s nothing else we can focus on.

Wait, remember baseball?

The sport with the bat and the balls and the bases, where you go to all the games in the summer and stand up for the seventh-inning stretch, the one that’s America’s pastime. You know, famous people throwing out the first pitch and singing the National Anthem, a runner sliding into home when there’s two outs and the game is on the line, the sound the bat makes upon hard contact with the ball, when you know something was just hit out of the park.

Ah yes, baseball. It’s the sport that becomes forgotten as soon as the leaves turn brown.

I know, I know, there are the diehard fans that watch every game and the players and the coaches and the trainers, they kind of have to be there. And then of course the interest will spike a bit when the postseason starts next week. But really, everybody has moved on to football season. Football dominates TV ratings, conversation and practically everything else. People get excited about baseball for opening day but it seems to fade away with every passing day while with football, the drama just intensifies.

In honor of the postseason, I created an annotated bibliography describing 25 different children’s books about baseball — yes, that’s the type of stuff you do in grad school. Anyway, it was easier to find a mass amount of books about baseball than any other sport. However, the majority of books were either historical — outlining the Negro League or the unforgettable summer of 1941 when Joe Dimaggio had a 56-game hitting streak and Ted Williams had an unmatched .406 season, or genre fiction — scene setters for a mystery or a romantic saga or a coming of age story. There was hardly anything that had happened in the last 40 years. I’m getting the feeling that people only appreciate baseball for the nostalgic factor and are not looking at the events happening right now.

This season was jam-packed with compelling storylines — and it’s not over yet. The Pittsburgh Pirates seem to be reversing a 20-year streak of bad luck (now, the Cubs just need to follow suit). There’s Miguel Cabrera who, despite being plagued with injuries, still could be one of the modern day legends. And there’s Yasiel Puig of the Brooklyn Dodgers, a young star whose swagger and style keeps everything entertaining. There’s even plenty of scandal to keep the gossip queens at bay with the unprecedented suspensions of players because of Biogenesis.

It’s hard for baseball to keep up, I know. There’s something about the unpredictable drama of football players compared to the seemingly repetitive steroid stories. And watching a baseball game on TV is just not the same as in person and you could argue a better case about football.

But baseball is trying. The sport added the second wild card to the postseason in attempts to make the contest more intense. And this season it is nearly impossible to determine who will come out the champion, with practically every team having a fighting chance. It’s time to start caring because the postseason is going to get interesting.

And you really don’t want to miss that because you were overly focused on football. It will still be here in four months.

Emily is a graduate student. She can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @EmilyBayci.