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The tarp at Kansas City's Kaufman Stadium is a menace. Just ask the guy who was devoured while preparing for a rain delay Thursday during Game 1 of the ALDS between the Royals and Astros. Here's a GIF clip from Deadspin (look away if you're squeamish; this gets real ugly, real fast):
It was not the first time the dreaded KC tarp went after a member of the grounds crew. Remember this, from a few years ago? [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dfr0SGW81Xw] This is no benign, field-protecting expanse of plastic and fabric. This tarp is a predator. This hideous creature even has its own Twitter account: @KC_Royals_Tarp. It's an outrage that baseball hasn't banned the Kansas City tarp for conduct detrimental to the health of the grounds crew. I mean, compared to the mildly hungry tarp that ate Vince Coleman during the 1985 NLCS, the tarp in Kansas City is a ravenous beast. We're seeing a pattern all over the country, in fact. If not for a couple of alert Pittsburgh Pirates this past summer, the tarp at PNC Park would have enjoyed a tasty grounds crew snack before making its escape on the wild winds of the Allegheny Mountains. Remember this? [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRQEMONYIEs] Stay alert, baseball grounds crews. Watch the skies, but keep an eye on the tarps. They're alive ... and they're hungry.
The tarp was angry that day. pic.twitter.com/yd3gPFNwYR— Deadspin (@Deadspin) October 9, 2015
By Erez Ladetzky, Smack Zone Contributor Now that both wildcard games have been played, it is on to the division series. The most intriguing matchup looks to be the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both teams boast ridiculous pitching with pop in their lineups. The opening game pits Jacob deGrom against Clayton Kershaw. If you like 1-0, 2-1 type of games, you will want to tune in to this one. On the other hand, maybe not. Kershaw is one of the most proficient and dominant regular season pitchers of this generation. If he can figure out his postseason struggles, he can be considered one of the all-time greats. That is a big IF. For whatever reason, Kershaw doesn’t show up in the playoffs. He has a 1-5 career record in the postseason with a 5.12 ERA. No that is not a typo, Clayton Kershaw has a 5.12 ERA in the postseason. The Dodgers have home field against the Mets and are favored to advance. This will be a big test for the team, and for Kershaw’s psyche. The Mets have arguably the best young pitching rotation in baseball, with deGrom, Harvey, Syndergaard and Matz. The worst thing that could happen to Kershaw is to yet again fail in the postseason, and also get outdueled by these young hurlers. We are close to finding out what Kershaw’s legacy will be. So far, he and Andy Dalton look to be very similar players in their respective sports. Kershaw isn’t getting any younger, he needs to step up now. Regular season accolades are nice, but postseason wins and performance mean more. In sports, the postseason is where a player’s legacy is made. So far, Kershaw’s isn’t looking too pretty.
[caption id="attachment_1061" align="alignright" width="240"] If the curse is going to end this year, it's gotta start Wednesday.[/caption] By Erez Ladetzky, Smack Zone Contributor The National League wildcard game takes place tomorrow night at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. It features a division rivalry as the Chicago Cubs take on the Pittsburgh Pirates. It also features two teams that finished with the second- and third-highest win totals in all of MLB, and both would have won any other division that didn’t include the St. Louis Cardinals. This will be the Pirates’ third straight year in the wildcard game, losing last year to the eventual World Series Champions San Francisco Giants. In 2013, they beat the Reds but lost to the Cardinals in the NLDS in five games. They are looking to finally get over the hump this year and take down their division rival Cardinals. The Cubs, on the other hand, are one of the feel-good stories of the year. They weren’t supposed to make the postseason this quickly, but don’t tell them that. Joe Maddon took this very young and inexperienced ball club and turned them into a legitimate World Series contender in his first year. Needless to say, Chicago fans love them some Maddon. Chicago hasn’t been in the postseason since 2008. That year, they ended up getting swept in three games by the Dodgers, a season after getting swept by the Diamondbacks in the NLDS. Cubs fans are very confident in this team advancing to take on the Cardinals. That’s because Jake Arrieta and his MLB-history-best 0.45 ERA since the All-Star Break takes the mound. That’s right … A 0.45 ERA -- insane! This game has the makings of a classic October baseball clash. Two teams that both should be in the division series, but have to play this one-game playoff to advance (it would be nice if they at least could play a best-of-three series). A 3-2, or 2-1 game seems about right. Cubs fans will be traveling in droves to the 'burgh to cheer on their beloved Cubbies. Most people know the history of the Cubs, and how fans think the team is cursed. One college professor shows his sympathy for his student: That's our kind of professor! We're going to go out on a limb and take the Buccos in one.