Just An Observation: Playoffs? You’re talking about playoffs?

Baseball and football have provided some interesting feelings this season

Well, it’s finally fall and to me that means playoff season for two of my favourite sports, baseball and football.

Alas, I have a lot of rather mixed feelings about the way things have turned out in Major League Baseball.

Since the team I cheered for, the Montreal Expos, was summarily sold and then moved in 2004, I’ve latched onto the favourite team of some family members — the St. Louis Cardinals.

And when St. Louis ended up facing the former Expos franchise in the Washington Nationals, it was a bit odd as I wasn’t quite sure which way to lean.

Things got really bad when the Nationals won the series and will appear in their first ever World Series.

I was saddened that the Cardinals missed out, but also felt cheated though glad at the same time.

It’s nice for the Nationals to have made it at last, especially for many of the people I know that transferred their allegiances from Montreal following the move.

However for me, it simply shows that if the league brass had put as much effort and money into keeping the Expos alive as they have the disaster in Tampa — who draws just a few thousand to a playoff game? — that franchise would have been in the World Series a long time ago.

Instead, the Expos were left high and dry after the league botched talks with the union, leading to the cancellation of the 1994 season with Montreal having far and away the best record in all of MLB and just 48 games remaining.

Despite that happening, if the league had supported Montreal after the strike, the team likely would have been able to hold onto several of their top players from the ’94 season and maybe the fans would have stayed.

Instead, for the next several seasons, the “Big O” was a fairly quiet and cavernous space occupied by a team that was being driven into the ground in order to allow a move.

That really disenchanted a number of fans, including me, who stopped watching and following MLB.

For many, they never did come back to the game, while others like me love the sport but not the business so we choose another team to watch sometimes.

Football

Well, at least now I don’t have to worry about trying to catch a World Series game while either watching some CFL games or trying to get score updates while officiating some minor or high school football games.

Ah yes, football is entering that time of the season when the young players are in playoff and provincial run mode while the professionals here in Canada are preparing for their own playoffs. Just to note, as an Eskimos fan I don’t hold out much hope.

On the minor and high school side, it’s been an interesting season with some teams doing unexpectedly well and others wondering if the program will be alive next year. However, the big issue this season was accommodating the lack of availability of officials.

More than a few times games have been moved or times changed because officials aren’t able to get to a 4 p.m. game, especially when travel is involved to Stettler, Rocky Mountain House or Drayton Valley. Some games have even had to run with less officials.

It’s a shame, but unless things change, teams in October may not have home field advantage much longer.

If this trend continues with no new officials available, it will wind up like hockey with a bunch of games held in one centre being officiated by one set of officials. That will mean long days, more travel and more cost.

Finally

At last, none of us will now be barraged by campaign advertising that ranged from the mildly annoying to the outrageous.

To be blunt, it makes no difference to me who the government is, but something needs to change in terms of election time advertising.

The fact that the public was subjected to these “attack” ads since July, and not just when the election was called, has been literally an assault on the majority of the public’s sensibilities.

In addition, these ads have also polarized the population while also solidifying the positions of the more excessive and fanatical proponents on either side of the various election issues.

I’m just so glad that I will be able to listen to the radio or turn on the television and not have to hear any more of those “advertisements” that have become the norm during any election.

But that is…just an observation.

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