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Wild Card

December 22, 2012 | By Lance Pugmire
Story line: San Francisco can clinch a second consecutive NFC West title, but its defense needs to calm a Seattle group that has romped over Arizona and Buffalo in back-to-back weeks (108 combined points). The 49ers are riding their own high after quarterback Colin Kaepernick stood up to Tom Brady, throwing for four scores in New England last Sunday night. Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson ran for three scores and threw for one against the Bills. Since losing at Candlestick on Oct. 18, he has 13 touchdown passes and just two interceptions.
November 29, 2012 | By Michael Ordoña
In an era when vampires, werewolves, serial killers and other forces of the underworld freely prowl the television airwaves, "The Walking Dead" stands alone as the series that best combines genre fiction with deep character study. Now in its third season, AMC's zombie plague survivor series, which initially drew fans of the graphic novel it is based on, has exploded in popularity, becoming the top drama series in the coveted demographic of adults ages 18 to 49 and drawing an average of 10 million viewers - an unheard-of high for basic cable.
November 27, 2012 | By Kevin Baxter
Major League Soccer tweaked its playoff format before this season, moving its championship game from a neutral site to the home field of the finalist with the best regular-season record. Still, the prospect of the Galaxy getting home field seemed unlikely when it entered the postseason with the eighth-best record among the 10 playoff teams. But after beating Vancouver in a wild-card game and upsetting top-seeded San Jose and Seattle in the next two rounds, the Galaxy finds itself right back where it ended last season: at the Home Depot Center playing Houston, the Eastern Conference wild-card winner, in the MLS Cup final Saturday.
November 27, 2012 | By Diane Pucin
The U.S Tennis Assn. announced Tuesday that former top 30 player Bethanie Mattek-Sands, former U.S. Open junior champion Jack Sock and two-time reigning NCAA singles champion Steve Johnson of USC are among the players who will compete in the  Australian Open wild-card playoffs, held Dec. 14-16, at Life Time Athletic & Tennis at Peachtree Corners in Norcross, Ga. The men's and women's winners will earn berths in the Australian Open main draw...
November 19, 2012 | Bill Dwyre
The only hint of nearby legendary greatness is a handwritten sign on an orange parking cone on the fourth step of a concrete staircase in the back of a strip mall in Hollywood. The sign says that the Wild Card Gym will be closed at 1 p.m. It doesn't get more specific, but anybody who knows anything about boxing knows the reason. Manny Pacquiao will be training on this day. This is as organized as it gets at the Wild Card Gym. Before 1 p.m., as well as every day when Pacquiao is not in town to train for another fight, the Wild Card is wonderful chaos.
November 1, 2012 | By Ben Fritz
Disney's new "Wreck-It Ralph," set in the world of video games will likely take the high score at the box office this weekend, but studio executives are unsure what effect the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy will have on movie attendance. The animated feature about a fictional game villain seeking acceptance in an arcade filled with characters licensed from real games such as "Street Fighter," "Pac-Man" and "Q*bert" should open to between $45 million and $50 million this weekend, according to people who have seen pre-release surveys.
October 13, 2012 | By Bill Shaikin
MILWAUKEE - The Fall Classic can wait. For baseball, this is the classic fall. In a good way. The regular season delivered meaning down to the final day, sparked by teams' jockeying to avoid the new one-game wild-card playoff and crowned by the first triple crown winner in 45 years. The division series featured three walk-offs within 24 hours and - for the first time - all four series extended to the full five games. Commissioner Bud Selig stayed awake past midnight here Wednesday, watching Raul Ibanez pinch-hit for Alex Rodriguez and stun the Baltimore Orioles, then watching the Oakland Athletics jolt Jose Valverde and force a decisive fifth game with the Detroit Tigers.
October 5, 2012 | By Bill Shaikin
Roberto Alomar took a called third strike, and the Baltimore Orioles were eliminated from the playoffs. The date was Oct. 15, 1997. The management of the Orioles has been borderline incompetent since then. Baseball's most beautiful ballpark deteriorated into a ghost town, the anger among fans evolving into frustration and alienation. The Orioles endured losing season after losing season — 14 in a row — until this magical year. The Orioles are back in the playoffs for the first time since Alomar took strike three.
October 5, 2012 | By Houston Mitchell
  The very first wild-card baseball playoffs will be held later today.  Each league will hold a one-game, winner-take-all matchup, with the winning teams advancing to the league division series, and the losers going home after just one postseason game. Up first, at 2 p.m. PDT, the St, Louis Cardinals (the defending World Series champions) take on the Atlanta Braves. At 5:30 p.m., the Baltimore Orioles take on the Texas Rangers. In honor of the one-game format, Major League Baseball has released a video highlighting some great moments of the past when everything was on the line in one game.
October 4, 2012
Writers from around the Tribune Co. will predict the winners of Friday's wild-card games -- between the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves in the National League and Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers in the American League -- as well as the division series that start over the weekend. Check back throughout the day for their responses and join the conversation by voting in the polls and leaving a comment of your own. Dave van Dyck, Chicago Tribune When the playoffs arrive, it helps to be “hot,” as the upstart wild-card Cardinals were last October, or smugly experienced, as the Yankees are in believing their birthright is the World Series.
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