Posted from The Citrus Report
Last night while watching Game 5 of the National League Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies, something very simple dawned on us: The Final Four during a MLB season can be the greatest theater of all sport. We know, we know, people speak of the NFL, but c’mon, the NFL is a simple TV sport, more concerned with a marketing plan and gimmick where the sport can easily be over-shadowed by the characters surrounding the game, ie John Madden, Jerry Jones, Deion Sanders, Terry, Howie and the “Boys”. Sure, college basketball has the amazing tourney, but most of the great games happen in the 32 or 16 bracket stage. NBA isn’t interesting until May, and even then, its losing its grip on anything interesting (insert all NBA superstars of today, look back to Bird, Magic, and MJ, and that is easy to suss out).
No, MLB is something special. Forget the “Steroid Era,” and how it tainted the game. Everyone was juicing, so the playing field was conveniently leveled. Like golf, but not as dramatic, baseball is an individual sport just as much as its a team sport. You have Roy Halladay pitching to Cody Ross, and that is it. You have Chase Utley and Aubrey Huff coughing up key groundballs, and you have Jimmy Rollins has to make the throw, and Buster Posey has to make that tag. Drama is naturally built in because its the individual plays that change the course of an entire series.
Take last night for example: Had Pablo Sandoval put his foot on the bag at third to force out Raul Ibanez and thrown to first, that double play changes the entire course of the NLCS. Had Chase Utley missed that crucial line drive in the 6th or 7th, the results of the game are different. Its individual moves, like a chess match, that create the drama.
Each pitch matters. Each pitch is dripped with tension. Each matchup between pitcher and batter is a display of who studied hardest, and who guesses better. There is nothing better than seeing Cody Ross hitting the exact same pitch, three times thrown, to the exact same spot in the Philadelphia bleachers for a home-run three different times. There is nothing like Ryan Howard hitting opposite field doubles when pitched outside and up. There is nothing like Tim Lincecum heating up in the 6th inning, and nothing like Ryan Madsen striking out 3 power hitters in a row in the bottom of the 8th. Its dramatic, and it happens again today, and tomorrow, and then the next day.
People call baseball boring. People want hits and Sunday NFL “showdowns.” But to us, football is just an extended commercials with an occasional dramatic moment. Coaches in the NFL speak to reporters as if football is some PhD course that nobody could possibly understand except for them. Its almost getting too corny and self-important for its own good, but then again, America likes its entertainment to as close to a commercial as possible, for some reason we will never understand.
Not baseball. Baseball and American history co-exist in perfect harmony (if you need that essay, Google will provide you that), and still holds a traditional form of drama and suspense that makes it special. Its one pitch at a time, one batter at a time, one fielding mistake at a time. And this weekend, especially if both series go to a Game 7, we get four more chances at sport at its absolute best. —The Citrus Report
Posted By The Citrus Report