Baseball is the great American pastime, but since it’s the professional sport that logs the most games per season, it can be pretty hard to keep up with. If all your friends are buzzing about this postseason, you’ve come to the right spot to get yourself totally caught up. Bonus: there’s a list of the hottest men of the playoffs at the end of this article.
Some highlights of the 2016 season
As this is New England, the Yankee/Red Sox rivalry is probably the biggest sports rivalry you grew up with. This season was the last one for two of the biggest icons in baseball, David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez.
Ortiz, more commonly known as Big Papi, rounded out his legendary career with 2,472 hits and 541 homeruns. Whether you loved him or you hated him, it’s hard to argue that he is anything short of an incredible ball player. Bostonians and Sox fans everywhere will have a noticeable void in their hearts and batting lineup for a long time to come.
The end for A-Rod came more unexpectedly when the Yankees released him this August. Although his career was no less spectacular than Papi’s (he ended with a .295 batting average and 696 career home runs), A-Rod should have stepped away from the game after last season following his 2014 season-long suspension for using performance enhancing drugs. His was the longest suspension in the history of the game, forcing the Yankees to replace him at third base with Chase Headley. A-Rod became the designated hitter and played two more seasons for the Yankees, his 2016 season being his worst since 1995.
The retirement of these two players marks the end of the era that was the rivalry we grew up watching. If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can read Big Papi’s goodbye letter to Yankee fans here.
You can’t talk about the 2016 baseball season without taking a moment to remember Marlins pitcher José Fernández who passed away on September 25 in a boating accident in Miami. Fernández had been Rookie of the Year in 2013, an award that is now named in his honor, and was projected to be one of the greatest pitchers in baseball. The Marlins have permanently retired the jersey number 16 to pay homage to the two-time all star. See the awesome tribute to his life and career here.
The Wild Card
The Wild Card is a chance for a team from both the American League and National League who did not make it into the playoffs to be in the playoffs. The two teams from each league with the best records after the top three are selected to play each other in the wild card game before the postseason begins. The winner will be selected to play in the postseason.
The National League will look to the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants Wednesday, October 5 to determine which team will get the chance to make a run at the World Series.
The Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays of the will play Tuesday, October 4 for the American League wild card slot.
Fun fact: this is the second time in history the Mets have made it in the postseason for two consecutive years. #LGM!!!
The playoff teams are the three teams from each league who have the best record. The All-Star game in mid July determines which team between the American and National League will get the home field advantage during the World Series. This year, the American League will be the home team.
The games begin on October 6th for the American League with the Red Sox playing the Cleveland Indians and the Texas Rangers playing the winner of the AL Wild Card game.
The National League begins on October 7th with the Los Angeles Dodgers playing the Washington Nationals and the wild card winners playing the Chicago Cubs.
Fun fact: if the Cubs can win the World Series this year, it will be their first in 108 years. They would also be breaking the infamous “Curse of the Billy Goat” that was put on them in 1945. This has been their most successful season since 1935, and they finished in first place in the National League. If you aren’t sure who to root for in this post season, you should be rooting for the Cubs.
The Hottest Player on Each Playoff Team
If you can’t get on board with the whole baseball thing, here are some very handsome men who will definitely keep your attention on the field.
The Nationals, Bryce Harper
Position: Right Field. Bats .243, 24 homeruns this season, 86 runs batted in (RBIs). He’s the Nationals ace guy and one of the most attractive men on this earth. If you’re having a tough day check out his photo shoot for ESPN’s body issue. “My body feels pretty unbelievable.” I’m sure it does Bryce Harper, I’m sure it does.
The Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant
Position: Third Base. Again, he’s the ace of his team. This season he’s batting .292, has hit 39 home runs (the most on this list!!) and got 102 RBIs. Some people really do have it all.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, Andre Ethier
Position: Right Field. Ethier was out for the majority of this season with a fractured leg, but came back in early September and has since batted .208, hit 1 home run, and got 2 RBIs. He looks like a guy you’d want to introduce to your mom.
The New York Mets, Noah Syndergaard
Position: Pitcher. Nicknamed Thor, this guy had 14 wins this season and an impressive 2.60 earned run average (ERA). Noah Syndergaard, if you ever read this, I’d really like to buy you dinner some time. Watch his Muscle Milk #strongereveryday video here for a good time.
The San Francisco Giants, Gorkys Hernandez
Position: Right Field. Hernandez posted a .259 batting average this season with 1 homerun and 4 RBIs. Additionally, he has a really fantastic jaw line.
The Boston Red Sox, Xander Bogaerts
Position: Shortstop. He bat .294 this season and boasted 21 home runs and 89 RBIs. Also, he’s one of the few guys who actually looks cute in his roster picture. Thanks for all you do, Xander. Don’t ever change.
The Cleveland Indians, Trevor Bauer
Position: Pitcher. Trevor Bauer had 12 wins this season and heads into the postseason with a 4.26 ERA. Bauer is known on his team for his high energy, but you will likely remember him for his eyes.
The Texas Rangers, Elvis Andrus
Position: Shortstop. Elvis Andrus had a great season batting .302 with 8 home runs and 69 RBIs. This will be his third playoff run with the Rangers. Unfortunately, his girlfriend is just as attractive as he is.
The Baltimore Orioles, Chris Davis
Position: First Base. Chris Davis batted .221 this year, hit a whopping 38 home runs, and got 84 RBIs. As if that’s not a good enough resume, his biceps have their own twitter account.
The Toronto Blue Jays, Marcus Stroman
Position: Pitcher. Marcus Stroman had 9 wins this season with an ERA of 4.37. He graduated from Duke University and easily has one of the best smiles in all of baseball.
So there you have it. Here’s to another exciting October!