We’re not even halfway into the baseball’s postseason and it feels like there has been more drama and excitement in October than there was all summer.

This was the season to be grumpy about baseball, and not just in Baltimore.


There were too many strikeouts. Too many home runs. Too many teams on pace to win 100 games. Too many teams on pace to lose 100 games. Too much labor talk. Too many quality free agents sitting at home until June.

League-wide attendance declined for the sixth time in seven years and fell to its lowest level since the 2003 season, which is an indication that fans are either falling out of love with Major League Baseball or becoming increasingly enamored with their 70-inch flat screens at home.

So, yes, the postseason could not have arrived at a better time and it is delivering the goods.

Three of the four Division Series went to a decisive fifth game and Wednesday night’s Game 5 at Dodger Stadium was one for the ages.

The Washington Nationals looked like they were about to be dismissed from the postseason early for the fifth time in eight years, but battled back repeatedly — just as they did during a season that looked in June like it was going in an entirely different direction. It wasn’t hard to imagine four months ago that the Nats would be looking for a new manager again this winter.

The National League Championship Series will land in Washington for the first time when the Nats host the St. Louis Cardinals for Game 3 on Monday, thanks to their eighth-inning assault on Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Clayton Kershaw and the stunningly decisive 10th-inning grand slam by well-traveled veteran Howie Kendrick.

The Nationals also had to stave off elimination in Game 4 and staged a three-run rally in the eighth inning against dominant Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader in the NL wild-card game.

No doubt, the Dodgers and their fans are still wondering what hit them, and it will be a while before the grumbling subsides over manager Dave Roberts’ handling of a well-stocked bullpen.

The other NL Division Series also delivered it’s share of late-inning excitement, with the Cardinals scoring six runs in the final two innings of Game 1 to shock the home crowd in Atlanta. The Braves answered with a three-run ninth-inning rally to take Game 3 in St. Louis.

Even though that series ended with a totally suspenseless 13-1 blowout, the final game still produced a memorable historic feat — the first 10-run first inning in postseason history — even if it’s one that Braves fans would like to forget.

The LCS field was finalized Thursday night, when the Houston Astros scored a decisive Game 5 victory to deny the bargain-basement Tampa Bay Rays another chance to ride their tiny payroll to the World Series. Instead, the ALCS matchup between the Astros and New York Yankees is pretty much what everybody thought it would be when the season began.

That’s not to say it won’t be a fascinating series packed with dynamic performances and memorable moments. It almost certainly will.

Of course, those moments are magnified every October, but at a time when the sport needs to bridge a yawning generation gap and just weathered a year of unusual discontent, this particular postseason seems intent on reminding us why we love baseball.

That shouldn’t be a hard sell.

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