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On tension, drama and baseball's playoffs

Back in the late 1960's there was a wonderful movie that is a great metaphor for the most striking thing about the baseball playoffs.

The movie was "Wait Until Dark" and it starred Audrey Hepburn as a young blind woman who was terrorized by thugs who were in her apartment searching for heroin. The tension in the movie started small and finally grabbed you by the throat and squeezed until all the air was out of you.

That's the baseball playoffs, where the game's biggest weakness turns into its biggest strength.

Everybody says that baseball is too slow. The games take too long. We need to find a way to speed things up.

But that very slow pace is what allows for the incredible drama that infuses the playoff games. Things start small, but you have the time to let the tensions build until they reach the boiling point.

If this were a game that moved along quickly, like football or basketball, you wouldn't be able to have that feeling of having hands around your throat, carefully squeezing tighter and tighter.

Football and basketball have their drama, to be sure. But they don't have those exquisite long lasting minutes that make your heart beat faster and your palms grow moist with sweat.

Maybe that's why smarter people than me have fought against changes to make the game go faster. When it's that tense and dramatic, you want the game to go on forever. Maybe we should just leave it alone.


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