It's that time of year again. The leaves change, the weather gets colder and for one terrific month, eight teams will battle for the rights to be crowned baseball's World Champions of 2011.
Wednesday night was arguably one of the most exciting nights in the history of baseball.
The Tampa Bay Rays capped off an incredible seven-run comeback within minutes of a Boston Red Sox ninth inning collapse to clinch a trip to the playoffs for the third time in four seasons. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals finished off a historic month of September by beating out the Atlanta Braves for the National League Wild Card.
The best part of all is that Wednesday night was just a one night sample, a one night precursor to the excitement that will be happening for the entire next month.
The great thing about baseball playoffs is they are almost completely unpredictable. Who would have expected the 2006 Tigers to reach the World Series? The 2007 Rockies? The 2008 Rays?
And who would have expected that the 2010 World Series would be between the Rangers and Giants, with the Giants winning in five games?
And what will happen in 2011?
Can the Diamondbacks prove they are here for a reason? Will Tampa Bay and St. Louis ride their momentum to playoff success? Can Texas repeat their success from 2010? Will Detroit translate second half success into playoff success? Can Prince Fielder carry the Brewers in what could be his last year with them? Or will the Phillies and Yankees use their blockbuster acquisitions to bring themselves more and more victories?
This slideshow will break it all down, so enjoy.