BRISTOL - After finishing the regular season in third place, the Bristol Blues will host the sixth place Pittsfield Suns in a first round playoff game tonight at Muzzy Field.
Entering the day, the Blues were faced with the possibility of potentially taking on a Silver Knights team that was the hottest in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL), with an 8-2 record in its past 10 games, but a victory over Pittsfield last night dropped the Suns back into the sixth place position.
Some members of the Blues expressed dismay over the possibility of their season ending after just one more game.
“I think what it does, in my opinion, is it just washes down the regular season,” Blues manager Ronnie Palmer said. “I think they should just take the top four [teams in the final standings]. If we still had nine teams, I could see it, or 10 teams or something like that I could see it, but it should have been just the top four. But at end of the day, we took care of business to where we get to host a home playoff game, so we’re not going to complain about the format.”
The third place Blues entered the day 7½ games ahead of the fifth and sixth place Silver Knights and Suns.
The playoff format is that six of the seven teams in the league get into the playoffs and the top two teams receive first round byes, while the third through sixth place teams face off in what are essentially play-in games.
Adding to the frustration for some members of the Blues is that Bristol entered Sunday 6½ games behind the first place Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, showing that the No. 3 team is closer to the No. 1 team than the No. 6 is to No. 3.
“It is kind of a bummer that whether we’re a three or a six seed, which is the difference from the top to the bottom of the league, that we’re kind of in the same position where it’s a one game play-in,” Blues infielder Ian Ostberg said. “But it’s the way it is.”
While Bristol will be in an elimination game to start the postseason, the Blues feel that they’re at the point in the season where anything can be thrown at them and they will respond.
“I feel pretty good for our team personally,” Ostberg said. “I think we tend to rise to the occasion in big games. And we’ve proven to be kind of a streaky team throughout the year. Sometimes good and sometimes bad, but right now I think we’re in a really good place. We’re going to take our positive momentum into the playoffs in a big way, no matter the situation.”