Autumn's Big Dance begins this afternoon.
Exactly a year ago today, I sat in front of the microphone in the Inquirer's podcasting studio (may it rest in peace) and said the following words:
In all of American sports, there is no stage with greater drama, with lights more sharply focused, with more pressure in every act and every moment between acts than the Major League Baseball playoffs.
Most of the writing about postseasons on this blog has been about the NCAA Tournament, and on a few occasions the football playoffs.
Today, however, we turn our attention to October Madness.
The NCAA Tournament is a special thing, a tidal wave of color and energy that crashes down on itself day after frenetic day. The opening Thursday and Friday of the Big Dance are the best days on our sporting calendar, two sets of 12 breathless hours that fly from one buzzer-beating heave to the next.
But the baseball playoffs are a more formal celebration -- the bunting on the railings, the blazers on the umpires, the crisp October winds and the prestige that comes from having only four teams in each league participate.
What March and October share, though, is pride of place as the two best postseasons in sports.
With that in mind, I invite you to join me at 2:45 p.m. today for Philly.com's coverage of Game 1 of the National League Division Series between the Phillies and the Brewers. I'll be hosting a live chat during the game, bringing you commentary on the game and trying to take the pulse of the city's fans as this wild ride gets under way.
I hope to see you there.