October baseball? Chicago, once again, will pass
With the White Sox now officially eliminated in the American League Central, the city of Chicago is guaranteed a fourth consecutive October without postseason baseball. That's hard to do, with expanded playoffs and a two-team market.
October is beautiful in Chicago.
Or so I've been told. It's been a while.
You cover baseball for a living, you get used to October in New York. Or Philadelphia, the last few years. Or Atlanta, for many years.
Chicago? That's where you go to change planes, if you're very unlucky.
When the White Sox were officially eliminated Monday night, Chicago was guaranteed a fourth straight October without postseason baseball.
That's hard to do with two teams and expanded playoffs. That's hard to do, even for Chicago, which has hosted postseason baseball in just 10 of the last 53 years.
Compare that to New York (this year will make 31 of the last 50 years), or the Los Angeles area (22 of the last 50) or the San Francisco Bay Area (19 of the last 50).
Boston has hosted more postseassons (14 of the last 50) than Chicago, despite having half as many teams. Atlanta, too (18, despite only having a team for the last 47 years).
Chicago's four-year drought actually isn't the longest for a two-team market in the expanded playoffs era. Both the Dodgers and Angels missed the playoffs every year from 1997-2001, a five-year drought.
Southern California has a three-year drought going now, and that's true even if you throw in the Padres. At least the Giants and A's have given colleague Scott Miller, who lives out that way, two home-state playoff teams, which is two more than last year.
But nothing matches Chicago, where the White Sox last made the playoffs in 2008 and the Cubs ... well, they're the Cubs (while they were in the playoffs in 2007 and 2008, they didn't win a game either year).
I've heard it's beautiful there this time of year. I seem to remember it.
Maybe one of these years, I'll see it again.