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Whether you’re interested in baseball or baseball boys, this is the article you’re going to want to read. I’m here to break it down and build up your lingo so the next time someone says “Braves in 4” you can actually understand what they’re talking about.

The American and National League

The first thing you need to know to navigate this playoff season is what teams are actually playing. There are two divisions, the American League and the National League, which lead to the ALDS, NLDS, ALCS, and NLCS (DS=division series, CS=championship series). There are 12 teams included in the playoffs, 6 in each division, including one Wild Card. I’ll get into what that means in a minute, but for now, we’re just talking teams. The American League is made up of the Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees (Go Yanks!), Cleveland Guardians, Seattle Mariners, and Houston Astros. The National League is made up of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres, New York Mets, and St. Louis Cardinals. Whether your hometown is represented, the guy you’re talking to has been SPAMMING his Instagram story with MLB posts for his team, or you’ve just got a thing for birds, there is a team you can root for.

Wild card

Just what is it? What does it mean? Why does it matter? Remember when I told you about the American League and National League? It’s about to get a little more complicated. There are leagues in each division, East, Central, and West. This means that in each “bigger” league, there are 3 smaller ones and a team that wins each. These 3 teams make up half of the playoff roster for the AL and NL. Now I know what you’re wondering, what about the other 3? These teams make up the Wild Card series, teams that didn’t win their division but had the next-best winning percentages. This is how we get 6 teams. The top 4 teams (two from each side) only have to play in 2 series (semi-finals and finals). The other 4 play in the quarterfinals as well.

who’s left?

By the time you see this, the Mets, Cardinals, Rays, and Blue Jays have been eliminated. EDIT: The Guardians, Mariners, Dodgers, and Braves too! Grab tissues if you’re a fan of one of these. As a Yankees fan (and temporary Braves fan), I have to say not me. DOUBLE EDIT: (my heart breaks for UGA Braves fans at this time). Y’all stay safe though. 8 teams are left, and while I am writing this, the ALDS is starting.

“Braves in 4”

-that one guy you’re talking to ATM (especially if you go to UGA)

Now I’ll get into series. Each team plays the other 5 times in the Division series. This means the first team to 3 wins moves on. HOWEVER, and listen closely besties, the World Series and Championship Series are a little more complicated. There are a maximum of 7 games, and this time, the winner could win “in” 4, 5, 6, OR 7. To win in 4, the team you’re rooting for would have to win 4 straight World Series games. Every time they lose, the number of games they have to win gets higher. Let’s say both teams win 3 times (6 games). The 7th game would be the final end-all-be-all. You’re going to want to stay away from hardcore fans if the series gets to that point. Unless they win, of course.

Lingo

Want some buzzwords to impress whoever it is you’re reading this article thinking about? This is it.

Batting average — The average number of times the player on his jersey has hit the ball this season

ALDS/ALCS NLDS/NLCS — Learn which one your team is in

Series — remember! 5 game series until the World Series and Championship Series which are 7 games.

Bullpen — where the pitchers warm up/where backup pitchers spend their days

Congrats!!

You’re pretty prepared to take on the MLB Postseason. Hopefully, if you made it this far, you have some knowledge about America’s Greatest pastime. And if not? Well, you know enough now to be dangerous. Go get yourself a baseball cap, a t-shirt, or if you’re really feeling adventurous, a full-blown jersey. Grab some Cracker Jacks and a hot dog, and welcome to October.

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