Random playoff thoughts

Took in bits and pieces of Game 2 of the ALCS tonight. It was American League baseball at its finest. I realize the A.L. is the superior league — and yes, there is an unmistakable “junior varsity” feel to the N.L. playoffs, right down to the fact they have been relegated to TBS while the A.L. is on Fox (by the way, that Frank TV show looks like it’s going to be pretty good, but I refuse to watch a single episode, ever, just because I am so sick of those incessant promos, but I digress). Anyway, this game tonight between the Indians and the Red Sox made me wonder how anybody can stand to watch A.L. ball on a regular basis. It took them 4 1/2 hours to play nine innings, and then they had to play extra innings on top of that. They went to the 10th inning at just before 1 a.m. Boston time. With the winning run on second base and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Kevin Youkilis fell into a two-strike count, then proceeded to foul off pitch after pitch after pitch until he finally flied out to send the game to extra innings on something like the 13th pitch of the at-bat. This is like watching paint dry. Gives me a new respect for my colleague Doug Padilla, who covers the Angels for us, because he has to watch this stuff on a nightly basis. … One storyline from the N.L. playoffs that keeps striking a chord with me is Troy Tulowitzki and the leadership role he has taken on in the Rockies clubhouse — and the fact the Rockies’ veterans have fallen in line behind him. Contrast that against Jeff Kent’s rant back on Sept. 20 about how the Dodgers’ young players “don’t get it.” I have to wonder what would have happened if Tulo played for the Dodgers, and if he tried to take on a similar leadership role with them — and how it would have been received by Kent/Gonzo/Nomar et al. Would it have been effective? Would others have fallen in line? Or would Tulo have been shamed into submission by the ages-old clubhouse heirarchy that at times this season seemed to be more important in the Dodgers clubhouse than winning was on the field. All I know is this: with the exception of a few pitchers, the Rockies are basically the same bunch of guys who never came close to contention in the NL West in recent seasons. The only thing that has changed is the addition of Tulo, the former Long Beach State standout who singlehanded — and as a rookie, no less — has transformed the culture on a team that gave no hint that it was capable of this until he got there. Wonder if the Dodgers’ veterans — the ones who are coming back, anyway — are paying attention?

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