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Sunday 18th Feb 2018

Now, I have to admit, I watch a lot of baseball during the regular season so that by the time the playoffs come it is not that I feel deprived of innings.

And, I also have to admit that I don't have a connection with the Tigers or the Cards--though I do have enough St. Louis friends who are Cardinals crazy--and that made it extra tough to watch Detroit push Oakland out of the post-season. That makes it equally difficult to watch the Giants and those same Cardinals, whom I saw San Francisco get by tonight, although the only full inning I could watch was Sergio Romo putting things away in the bottom of the ninth (Rachel Maddow, Family Guy, The Simpsons, Bill Maher, and the film "A Face in the Crowd" all got time while I fidgeted back and forth among shows, trying to monitor the San Franciscans without jinxing them).

While I was surfing--and trying to distract myself yet concentrate at the same time--I did start thinking about parity in sports.

Mind you, I don't follow hoops or hockey, so I can only speak here to baseball and football. But, it seems to me that somehow as with football last year, baseball is similarly tightening up.

But, last year's NFL totals, with the 8-8 Broncos sneaking into the post-season, and the 9-7 New York Giants not only doing the same, but winning the Super Bowl for the second time in three years with an underdog team.

And, the reality is winning the Super Bowl, or even the World Series is largely a factor of being hot at the right time.

For example, the Tigers blowing away the Yankees in four games was certainly just that: the Yankees being cold at just the time the Tigers were putting it together.

And, till tonight, it looked like the Cardinals--kind of analagous to those same New York Football Giants in that they are always underrated yet always show up to play when it counts--were having their way with San Francisco in much the same way.

It did make me think, though, with the tight ending to this year's baseball season, on top of the incredible finish to the 2011 baseball season, that truly any team can beat any team.

The first round of the baseball playoffs, each going five games, sort of supports this to a degree, although again, how things appear to match up, as opposed to how games actually wind up is precisely what keeps us guessing. More important, it is what keeps us watching.

As the football Giants sneaked past the other 31 NFL teams last year with a .563 winning percentage, the Tigers and the Cards finished the 2012 baseball season with identical 88-74 marks (.543 pct), the lowest of any of the playoff teams.

 I guess that sort of precipitates the irony of all this as it is hard for me to watch because I realize anyone can beat anyone, and yet that very notion is what makes each game so tantalizing. It is also a hotbed of emotions as most sports fans should know.

I do realize--as I have noted many times before--that some sports fans likely lament the lack of a dominant team, like the Yankees of the 50's, or the Steelers of the 70's, but I really prefer the wild and wooly guessing game where St. Louis can indeed waylay San Francisco despite losing their two best players--in this case Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman--from the previous year.

I guess this should not really be a surprise, as the quality of play at the professional level is so close that, well, even Bob Eucker is really very good despite the jokes, self deprication, and of course his stat line.

And, sometimes--as in the Giants beating the Patriots in 2008--I love when the underdog wins.

Most of the time I even love watching, even if most of my viewing is during commercial breaks.

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