Finally, real baseball.

The Cardinals-Padres game was a satisfying joy ride to the very end. The White Sox-Athletics game was as well.

Those two games bring a measure of hope that baseball is still the greatest game to watch.

Maybe it helps if you watch the right teams. The Cincinnati Reds were swept out of their series because they weren’t able to score a single run in twenty-two boring innings.

Don’t confuse their lack of production for dominating pitching. It wasn’t. It was just pitiful hitting on display. The Reds were the only team worse offensively than the Rangers. Yes, that bad. The Reds struck out 28 times in two games.

But faith in humanity is restored with the Padres come-from-behind, nail biting win over the Cardinals. St Louis scored four in the first and took a 6-2 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth. The Padres tied it, went ahead 9-6, saw it shrink to 9-8, scored two more to make it 11-8, then hung on for dear life as the Cardinals scored a run in the top of the ninth and put two runners on with no outs. 

Oakland staged a come-from-behind win to eliminate Chicago. Down 3-0, scored four, gave up the lead, then came back and won 6-4. Nomar Mazara, using his striking out skills the Rangers engrained in him, ended the White Sox’s chances with two outs in the ninth by watching a fastball down he middle for strike three.

It was two games of joyful baseball watching. That’s what the playoffs usually are. Once you weed out the dregs that were created this year by letting sixteen teams in. Many of which didn’t deserve it.

It’s wonderful to get the chance to watch baseball again.