Tonight's White Sox Game: Bigger Than the Playoffs

Silly you. You thought, after last year's insane Rockies-Padres end-of-season playoff, that you could take a break between the regular season and the playoffs. You thought the baseball gods would shine upon you, that you would be able to get out of the house a little bit for a night before baseball came back for another month, bent on haunting your liver and your dreams. You were wrong, dear fan. You were wrong.

Thanks to a big, jubilant Alexei Ramirez home run last night, the White Sox forced a one-game playoff with the Minnesota Twins. This almost qualifies as ironic, because the White Sox merely needed to hold off the Twins in one game last week, and the weak AL Central would be theirs. Instead, Chicago succumbed to their inability to win in Minnesota -- swept in that tiny, goofy stadium up north.

If there is one thing about one-game tiebreakers, it's that they kick off the insanity of clinching games just a little early. The MLB playoffs are usually a slow burn. They start out with day baseball, stuff you follow from your office, not unlike the 162 games in the regular season. They slowly build toward those brisk final games. But the one-game tiebreaker -- that's instant drama. Immediately, and without warning, we get to watch two teams that have nine innings of baseball set to decide their entire season. That it's happened two years in a row is incredibly lucky.

But of course this year's involves the White Sox -- a team that was supposed to be bad, a team that relied on its inadvisable veteran signings and rabbits (Ramirez, Carlos Quentin) pulled out of some big offseason hat. As a team, the Sox are goofy, insane, slightly weird, and occasionally infuriating. Of course they're playing tonight. 

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