It’s the best time of year for baseball: The playoffs.
The crowds are amped up and every pitch and hit counts. Players get excited and show emotion when they do anything of consequence.
The playoffs are baseball’s equivalent of the Ryder Cup , where out of nowhere the atmosphere takes it up a few notches and is exciting to watch even if you do not have a rooting interest.
At this point, the best teams are usually still alive and typically it's a battle between the hot wildcard teams and the division winners that generally played their hottest ball during the summer months to clinch their positioning.
This always makes for a high level of unpredictability in October for Major League baseball. If you have hot pitching and a few hot bats, no matter what the name on the front of your jersey is, you have a shot.
This year, Bud Selig’s latest genius was on display as the playoffs allowed two wildcard entries, one of which was guaranteed to be sent home after one ballgame. The Braves and Rangers found out the hard way how it feels to play good enough all season to earn the first wildcard slot yet, have their hard work go up in flames courtesy of a one game playoff.
This is a rather unfair way for teams that good to go out, but the message is definitely clear now. It is definitely in your best interests to win a division if you want to advance far into the playoffs. The Orioles and Cardinals certainly have a shot, but they could have easily been sent home after one game as well.
The stage is set and Division Series play is underway. Now that the playoffs are set at eight now.
Who are the teams that have the best shot of winning?
The defending champion Cardinals are still alive, the upstart Nationals are experiencing their first trip since being in Montreal and the mighty Yankees are around to represent the old guard. No team has it easy.
The Orioles and Athletics are as hot as hot can be and were not expected to be here. Can they win it all?
It will be interesting to see.
Here are the five teams with the best shot at making a World Series run.