Choose Your Own Bizarre Playoff Race Adventure!

Welcome to CHOOSE YOUR OWN RACE FOR THE PLAYOFFS ADVENTURE! Where anything can happen, provided I thought of this thing! See if you can find the track that leads to your team winning the WORLD SERIES! [Note: No tracks lead to your team winning the World Series] Start by choosing your favorite team from this comprehensive list of playoff contenders. Note that the linked-to headings will appear at the tip top of your browsin’ page.

Atlanta Braves

Miami Marlins

Turner Field: 7:10pm EST, September 28, 2013
The Braves division lead is astonshing. Incomprehensible. Reprehensible, probably. After September 5th the Braves went 16-0, beating every other club by a combined +189 run differential. No matter what, the Braves won. They put Craig Kimbrel at catcher for a game and won by 13. On September 21st Chris Johnson pitched 9 shutout innings, inducing 14 infield flies. Hank Aaron suited up and drove in 17 runs batting 9th, blindfolded. Fredi Gonzalez started his wife Pamela in centerfield in an open tank of Kool-Aid with scuba gear and a 9-inch child’s mitt taped to her head. She caught 10 fly balls that landed directly in her mitt en route to helping that night’s pitcher–a banana peel–throw a no-hitter against Milwaukee. As you sit in the bleachers and watch Carly Rae Jepsen strikeout her 23rd consecutive batter, you wonder if being a Braves fan has lost its charm. Has it become too easy? Fans around you are bored. The organist, asleep, lies on the keys as C# blasts out of the PA speakers. No one cares. Maybe the playoffs will bring back the danger and the fun? Or maybe you should just go home and whip up some guacamole. What do you do?
Buy tickets for the Divisional Series and hope Game 1 puts the je ne sais quoi back in Atlanta baseball.
Head out, pick up two ripe avocados, make guacamole, attempt to find meaning in life.

Reasonably Nice Condo
You open the door to your reasonably nice condo. It smells like nothing. Even the cat’s litterbox smells like nothing. Everything has lost its zest. You sit down on your ironic corduroy loveseat and don’t even notice how uncomfortable it is. You don’t even remember how ashamed you felt after buying it, and how that cute girl wearing thick-rimmed glasses and flannel didn’t even comment on it before she slipped out the back door with your vintage coffee grinder. You look at the avocados sitting on your kitchen counter and wonder why you thought guacamole would fill the hole that baseball blasted through your soul. You leave without putting shoes on. You don’t notice when you step on broken glass, or when you step face-first through a spider web and get spider bites all over you that swell up like melons. You don’t even realize as you inadvertently join a zombie walk, and neither do they, since your face looks like Rocky Balboa meets Sloth from The Goonies, and you’re limping with shards of broken glass (Perrier) stuck in your feet. You don’t even notice as you shuffle into downtown, and a you don’t feel a thing as a party bus careens around the corner and obliterates you beneath its erotic, bass-pumping weight. YOU ARE DEAD.

The Top of a Mountain, Midnight, Friday September 6th, 2013
You are a Miami Marlins fan, is that right? Your favorite team is the Miami Marlins? The one in Miami? The one no one loves? No one but… Jeffrey Loria, maybe? THAT’S RIGHT: You are Jeffrey Loria!! You are the only Marlins fan. And last night you realized it for the first time. Before that it was solely about the money. About gaming the system, taking advantage of sorry sentimentalists who think winning and losing actually matter. Before last night the only thing that mattered was cash: cold, hard, and in your bank account, with a lot of zeros, and reasonable interest rates. But something came over you, Jeffrey Loria. You felt love. Love for what you made. Love for what the people of Miami decided to give you with their tax dollars. Love for more than the pocketed millions in revenue sharing. Above all else, love for:
The sweet, triple-creme sweep of a Jose Fernandez called third strike curveball surging into the svelte catcher’s mitt of Jeff Mathis: Adonis.
Adeiny Hechavarria.

The Top of a Mountain, Midnight, Thunderstorms Looming
You sweat and pine for images of Jose Fernandez curveballs. You need them like a drug. They’ve changed you. They forged your heart anew. But goddammit, why is the only place you EVER get wireless service at the top of this godforsaken, geographically ambiguous mountain during a thunderstorm? You’d think Jeffrey Loria could manage even ONE BAR of service, but NOOOO, big J-Lo has to trek all the way up this fucking mountain and sit under a cheap-ass Gander Mountain poncho while cradling a lethargic HP laptop. You’re too old and too rich for this shit. You’re too JEFFREY LORIA for this shit…. … … You take a deep breath… relax… that’s the old Jeffrey Loria talking. You’re a new man now. You’ve been fresh squeezed into the juicer of love, and what you need is for Jose Fernandez to smash the “liquefy” button with a perfectly placed curveball. And so you wait for your laptop to pick up wireless to load up some juicy gifs. Sweet, sweet, gifs. Finally, you pick up some signal. The first gif is nearly loaded, but it’s playing choppily, and you can’t properly follow the curveball’s erotic path. You wait, and as the gif finally loads and plays smoothly,
you, Jeffrey Loria, crease the edges of your callous maw and smile right as…

Turner Field, NLDS
You and Adeiny are finally in the playoffs and you’re worried that the gnu sacrifice has worn off. It was a miraculous September, watching team after team fall prey to disease, famine, and absurd W-L records as Miami reigned supreme. But the Marlins look mortal for the first time in weeks, and Adeiny has already butchered a couple easy ground balls. Ominous, swirling grey clouds amplify your anxiety. Then disaster strikes. Adeiny, going to his right, trips, falls, and lies writhing in agony. Trainers and teammates help him off the field. It looked like he might have sprained his ankle, but who knows? Who can tell these kinds of things, anyway? You’re not a doctor. You don’t even trust doctors. Them and their talk of “strokes” and “ankles.” You feel conflicted inside. Part of you knows this is the end of your luck, that the spilled gnu could only get you to the playoffs, and no further. You feel your insides churning with despair, and wonder if maybe you should go home and make guacamole. That always seems to cheer you up. On the other hand, maybe Web MD, a fully reliable medical authority, could shed some light on Adeiny’s injury. After all, it seems your laptop is picking up Turner Field wireless… Do you:
Head home, pick up a couple avocados, make some guac and bury your despair in polyunsaturated fats.
Click the ankle on the Web MD Symptom finder and see what you can find out. Keep the dream alive, ya know?

Top of a Mountain, Midnight, “Something in the air”
A massive 6 billion volt lightning bolt vaporizes you and your pathetic poncho! YOU ARE DEAD.


Turner Field, Possibly, NLDS
You’re not sure if you can discern anything for sure on Web MD, but you did get sucked into reading about the alleged health benefits of acai berries. On one hand, you’re a guy who just had a stroke (allegedly!) with a freezerful of gnu that you don’t how to cook at home (can’t let it go to waste!). In fact, you’re not even sure if this is real. You might just be imagining all this. You might still be on top of a mountain, holding your laptop in the air, ululating and passing in and out of consciousness. On the other hand, you might just be a regular old millionaire fan, excited to be at the ballgame, ready to watch America’s favorite pastime. Sure you had a stroke or twelve, and yeah, maybe you sacrificed a gnu to the Old Gods in exchange for the National League’s dissolution so your team can make the playoffs. But in the end it’s worth it. You’re at the game. This is McDonald’s: You’re lovin it. In the end it’s up to you to choose your reality, right? That’s what life is all about, maybe? Are you:
In a crazed semi-conscious state atop a geographically ambigous mountain hallucinating a statistically impossible playoff scenario?
Actually at the ballgame, albeit with a gnu in your freezer at home that you don’t (allegedly!) know how to cook.

The Top of a Mountain, Midnight, Thunderstorms Possible
Just love. Love for Adeiny Hechavarria. That’s all you know. Maybe it was a stroke, maybe it was divine intervention, or both, but on the night of September 5th, you fell in love with Adeiny Hechavarria. Though probably it was a stroke. You did go see a doctor, and he did tell you not to leave the hospital, and he did blither about you being in grave danger of injuring yourself and others because vast amounts of cortical tissue were wiped out, and holy hell, how did you survive such a massive stroke, and yowza, he’s never seen anyone living with that little remaining brain. But you feel fiiiine. And you know you’re different in a good way, because suddenly you’re madly in love with Adeiny Hechavarria, though you’re unable to use the muscles required for smiling. Also you’re pretty sure you should sacrifice this gnu you somehow got ahold of and wrestled to the top of this mountain and are holding down and pressing a large shard of broken glass against. Not just any glass, either: Perrier. Yep, you’ve never had more clarity, and you’ve never had less brain. Not so bad, you think, technically, as you spill the gnu’s blood and ask for Adeiny and the Marlins to make the playoffs this year, despite being a thousand games back. You feel good, even if you’re covered in blood and wearing a ridiculous poncho. Now is the time to ride the wave of success along with Adeiny and the team. You’re gonna become the greatest fan of all time. You’re gonna get seats in the nosebleeds, just to prove you’re an everyman. But first, you notice you’re picking up wireless on your laptop, and wonder if you should:
– Load up some gifs of Adeiny Hechavarria highlights* during this t-storm, right as…
– Head home and prepare for the wild ride to the playoffs. Get ready, NLDS!

Turner Field, NLDS, Miami at Atlanta
You prefer the nosebleeds. You chose to sit here because you’re a true fan. You’re an everyman. A common hero. And now you get to watch your dreams come true. Sure, it took immeasurable luck (or immeasurable blessings) to get to this point, but you’re not going to think about it too hard. You’re gonna sit back and enjoy the wonder of October baseball. As you contemplate how lucky you are, the threatening weather hovering above Turner Field turns to a roiling mass of grey, an uncomfortable shivering abyss. Slowly the whole stadium goes silent and the air grows heavy. The pop of ball hitting mitt in the bullpen reverberates throughout the stadium. Suddenly Jordan Shafer begins to scream in centerfield: animal squeals of pre-human agony. The whole stadium covers its ears but the sound is undeniable, unthinkable, unambiguously evil. The other outfielders cower at first, and then they too take up the howl. The vortex above turns black. Howls turn to muted reverberations as bodies and lungs stretch like vines, twisting and growing into letters that spell out across the once pristine grass: YOU MUST PAY THE PRICE FOR SUCESS. A smartass peanut vendor mutters “that’s not how you spell ‘success’…” and a billion crows descend and consume him. The vortex turns a pale shade of blue, like a morning glory in bloom, and then fires a beam of pure energy that consumes all of Atlanta, pierces through the earth and kills a blue whale that was kinda just chillin’ in the Indian Ocean. YOU ARE DEAD.

*May not exist

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Zach is an egregious malcontent whose life goal is to literally become the London Tube. @itszachreynolds.

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The Return of Rambo Diaz
The Return of Rambo Diaz

I want my coffee grinder back.