The season ended this past Sunday for 22 pro baseball teams. For the other eight, the best part of the year is just getting started. It's time for the playoffs, when the best teams in baseball are rewarded for playing hard throughout the long regular season. With the world watching, the best eight teams in baseball will go head to head for a shot at winning the World Series.
How They Got There: It's no secret that the pro baseball season is a long and grueling test of endurance. Teams play 162 games between April and October. They play just about every night, with only a few days off every month. In order to reach the playoffs, teams need more than just talent. It takes a strong, positive attitude to stay focused throughout the season. Look at the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers started out red hot, but stumbled a little in the second half of the season. However, the Dodgers stayed on track and didn't let their poor play ruin the season. They played well enough down the stretch to win the National League West Division and reach the playoffs.
How To Win It: In order to make it through the playoffs and win the World Series, teams have to try just a little bit harder. They played as hard as they could throughout the regular season, but during the playoffs championship teams find a new level. Players like Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees, Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals and Josh Beckett of the Boston Red Sox have all demonstrated an ability to turn things up a notch in the playoffs. For the fans, these players help make the playoffs special. They get to watch the best players in the world playing their best baseball.
Why It's Important: Players can make a career based on their performance in the post-season. Reggie Jackson, who played in the World Series for the Oakland A's and New York Yankees in the 1970s, was nicknamed Mr. October because he always played better in the playoffs. In 2004, Carlos Beltran hit a record eight home runs in the playoffs with the Houston Astros. After that season, every team in baseball wanted Beltran. The playoffs are important because the entire world is watching. Every player in every game has a chance to make history. It's a season all its own, full of the most intense and exciting competition in sports.
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