As requested, let's keep this thread 100% free of the money/payroll talks and the "I hate baseball, they almost went on strike" talk. I'm not saying that I don't get in there and mix it up as much as anyone on the money debates, but I just want someplace where I can pleasantly talk BASEBALL as a sport. The players are where they are, let's not spend this thread discussing how they got there. Instead, let's talk about the rosters that will be playing in the postseason, what their chances are, what stories are intriguing, etc. Right now we have many good stories. NYY - Rivera coming back. Will he really be "back" or is he hiding an injury. Plus, one of the best stories of the year, Soriano. He's tailed off a bit down the stretch but still seems strong. MIN - of all the feel goods, the most feel good. Still, they didn't look so hot against the A's this year, and that is almost certainly their first round matchup. Uh oh... But Torii already showed us his flair for the dramatic on the big stage and Milton looked good the other day. However, Milton appears to still be on tap for the final day start, so he might not even get to pitch against the A's if it goes 3. I assume they would fit him in game 3 no matter what however. But then again, they look to have it setup as Reed, Radke and Mays right now, and a case could be made for Lohse getting the 3rd start. Reed, Radke and Mays all had good outings against the A's, but the bullpen was horrible against them. OAK - the monsters of the AL without a doubt to me. This was the best team last season and got knocked out by a Yankee team with a touch of luck and maybe just enough experience. I sincerely thought they were the better team and considered the Yanks win to be an upset. No Giambi, sure. But with that rotation in the post-season and a first round match-up against the Twins, that puts them in a 7 game series with the Yanks instead of the 5 like the last 2 years. WS favs by far to me at this point. ANA - no chumps but the pitching seems iffy. Washburn is a solid ace however and Appier has turned back the clock (like Benes in StL). I LOVE Garret Anderson. I think he is a great player and I always draft him to my fantasy teams because he just quietly gets it done (56 2Bs!!). Salmon has been great too. This team has a ton of solid offense, maybe more than the Yanks currently have (better AVR at least). Right now they might end up with 4 guys with 100 Runs Scored (which would tie the Yanks who have already reached that point). That Yanks/Angels series could have a lot of fireworks from the bats. Should be a fun contrast to the A's/Twins series. ATL - very intriguing team actually, partially because they have done it so much that most people set them aside as "yeah, so what", including their own fans this season. But you have Smolts closing and Shef hitting. Plus Millwood just cranking it way up in the 2nd half. Glavine, Maddux, Millwood - Remlinger, Smoltz. You have to respect that. StL - well, if the Twins aren't the feel-good team then it has to be the Cards. Remember when the Kile death was going to destroy this team? Instead they got twice as tough. Joe Buck and all must be looking down from above leading this team along it's way or something. Benes has been solid the last 2 months or so, and Morris is a top notch SP. Finley has also gone a bit under the radar despite being really tough since coming to the NL. Will Williams be healthy for the first round? Will Edmonds hold up? It's hard for me to tell what the Cards post-season rotation plans are. They bumped out the starts of Finley and Benes with Wright and Stephanson so that Finley and Benes are scheduled for SAT and SUN. Right now it looks to be Morris, Simontacchi, Finley, Benes, and who knows how Williams will fit into that situation. The Cards need a 9 games series more than anyone, with double headers every day. D'Backs - well, no Gonzo is not good no matter how well this team rebounds from it. Schill had 2 of his worst outings in a long time back to back, and even Randy has been a tad off lately. Remember how the "other 3" had to get it going for them to win and for quite awhile they had...well, that hasn't been the case lately. Batista, Helling and Anderson don't look so good right now. Looks like their rotation will be Schill and Randy on long rests (could be good for them at this point), but then who? They've only played the Cards 6 times at this point and only Patterson's start the other day has been really solid (Randy was good, but not typical Randy). This team looks to be running right into a wolf's den of trouble. Giants - I assume LA is done now. They had their chance straight up against SF and couldn't take advantage. The Giants are another team that gets overlooked because they always get there (so it seems) and go nowhere. They don't have the top 2 SPs that ARZ does but Schmidt has been a strong power pitcher down the stretch, Ortiz and Reuter have been solid the whole year. Felix Rodriguez has that 2nd half WHIP of .87 as your setup for Nen. That's a tough staff. Anyway, this post season feels even more interesting than normal to me. There are so many good matchups to watch, and of course the solid pennant races in the West have made things even more exciting going into the post-season. It looked like A's/D'backs until the other day. Now it's so hard to say. I like the A's of course, but you never can count out the Yanks in the post-season, especially with those bats and potentially solid SPs. I don't think the Angels are that far off the pace. The Twins might not quite have enough to do it. In the NL, Bonds and Kent right now make SF an instant contender, but Bonds hasn't ever gotten over that hump. ATL and ARZ are both like the Yanks I think, you can't count them out because they have so many weapons and so much experience. But there is something about the way it's coming together for St. Louis right now. Feels like destiny a bit. So maybe A'/Cards. That would be quite a WS. What playoff stories intrigue you the most?