Paychecks and Offdays

This is what we have left to play for.  We have already put in the 140 games required by the Minor League schedule, yet we are still playing.  We have moved into the bonus baseball portion of the season, where games have heightened meaning but stats do not count (at least not for career totals).  The more frequent our wins, the more off days we have and longer we receive paychecks.

My sarcasm intends to make light of the fact that when it appears that players wants the season to end, we secretly hope it continues, with the culmination on the final day of the playoffs with a championship.  After beginning the postseason with the worst playoff record in California League history, we made quick work of Lake Elsinore (San Diego Padres affiliate) in two games.  We now move on to face High Desert (Seattle Mariners) in the five-game Divisional Series for the Southern crown.

This was Rancho’s first playoff series victory since 1998 and marks the second time in two years I have been part of an affiliate ending a long drought.  Last season, Cedar Rapids won its first playoff series since 2000, making myself (and several other players) part of teams that have collectively ended 19 years of playoff deficiency. 

Motivation for winning comes in many forms: money, time off, redemption, prestige, champagne and rings.  While some may have different rankings of these prizes, everyone has a ring at the top of their list.  Competing on a playoff team is a special honor that few will ever get to experience.  Getting to the playoffs is the goal of every season, but winning in the playoffs is what makes it special.  We may have our share of bumps in the road on our 140-game journey and may have been counted out by other teams and the media.  A few days ago, I made note that the road to securing a playoff spot is irrelevant; the only thing that seems to be remembered is how a playoff season ends.

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