The other day my good friend and colleague, Jeffery, publicly mocked me for not being tuned in to Anibal Sanchez’s at-the-time no-no. In his screed, Jeff notes how he sent me text, a text that compelled me to call him and find out what was going on. However, when you read a little more closely, you realize that this all happened on Saturday.
Now, I’m sure I don’t need to point this out to any of our RSBS readers but this past Saturday also happened to be a day chock-full of various other sporting events including some important early-season college football games. Being the sports enthusiast that I am and due to the Tigers’ increasingly erratic play, I made the decision to focus on college football.
What happened next is the very definition of what you are not supposed to do when a no-hitter is in the offing. Jeff texted me a vague, leading question which demanded a response. As I called and Jeff picked up the phone, Sanchez let loose the the pitch that would end the no-hit bid. Now, I ask you, members of the jury, who bears the blame for this unfortunate series of events? Is it Allen, the attentive friend, responding to his buddy’s inarticulate and unclear question? Or is it Jeff, the person who set these events in motion and instigated the fateful phone call?
The answer is clear my friends. And if Johnny Cochran were here with us today, this would be the point where we’d hear him say: “Texting is key, Jeff’s guilty.”
Andy Williams had it all wrong. I’m sorry, but I’ll take September’s non-stop MLB pennant chasing + NFL + Notre Dame losing to Michigan combination over cold and snow and fake Santas any day. In fact, since it’s an election year, we get even more drama to go with our Irish-trouncing, and if you wait until the end of this post, you’ll even see that the Republicans have JOKES!
But first thing’s first: TUNE IN TO BASEBALL. My lord, between the AL Central showdown, the A’s/Angels wild card battle and the AL East title three-way, I can’t imagine a more exciting scenario (except maybe a non-baseball related three-way, but that’s for a different blog). Consider the NL wild card race and the fact that one of the three AL East teams could also nab the last AL West wild card spot and now allow your mind to be blown (again, maybe better for another blog).
And I haven’t even mentioned the myriad story lines decorating the start to the NFL and college football seasons!
The fact is, for dudes like Mr. Krause and I, it really doesn’t get much better than this. Unless you want to throw in some flaccid punchline deliveries (ZING!)…
Hate me ‘cuz you can, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
I couldn’t be more excited that the NCAA seems to be extricating its head from its nether regions to finally consider instituting a college football playoff. The only thing better than the thought of the classic matches to come is salivating over the classic matches that could have been. Sure, I know that Michigan wouldn’t have had a chance against Florida in that 2006 matchup but most people thought Ohio State was going to plow the Gators under so you never know. That’s the thing about football and a one-game playoff system. It sucks when you’re on the losing end but it’s great when you win.
But baseball is different. Sure, there’s a thrill to ending the season on a one-game intra-division playoff and some of those games have become instant classics. However, despite being the baseball progressive half of the RSBS duo, I find myself wondering about the MLB expanded playoffs. A play-in wildcard game? Sure, it’s great for ratings. And obviously it means a lot more than something like the NCAA basketball play-in game. But I’m just not sold on it.
On the money side I get it. A one-off play-in is bound to be a huge financial bonus. Last year it would have meant keeping the Red Sox and their fans around for one extra game and MLB loves those ratings bonanzas. But the beautiful thing about baseball is that its also about playing consistently. You have to play well over a 162-game grind, which only gives you the chance to do it all again in grueling 5 and 7 game series. The extended series in baseball are like life while football’s one-and-done playoff model feels more like the movies.
I’m sure I’ll come around. MLB has finally taken care of the uneven league issue and and with even divisions, teams now have more incentive than ever before to win their division. The play-in is great for strong divisions where a couple good teams trapped behind a spectacular team will finally get a chance to make the playoffs. But, do we really need to have 3 NL East and 3 AL East teams in the playoffs every year, even if one of them falls out during the play-in?
I don’t like it when things come down to the wire. I like to know early what’s going on and then just settle back and not worry about it. Perhaps this explains why I often miss incredible finishes, like Boise State beating Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl a couple years ago. Or Michigan coming back against Notre Dame. And Indiana. I’m not sure what it is, maybe my German blood, but just like I don’t enjoy gambling, I don’t enjoy close finishes.
Which is why I’d like the Tigers to make up their mind about the AL Central title. A friend of mine used to describe this peculiar inability to make a decision with the phrase, “Either sh!t or get off the pot.” And maybe someone needs to pointedly remind the Tigers of this. At this point I don’t care so much how it ends (OK, that’s not exactly true) but I’d just like it to end.
Would it be exciting if the Tigers and Twins ended the year tied and (once again) had to go to a one game playoff? Sure. Would I enjoy it? Not one bit. I can deal with it when it’s teams I don’t care about because, well, because I don’t care about them. But watching Michigan when they’re down 5 points in a dogfight with Indiana? Or the Tigers as they try to redeem the season? I’d rather just go to bed. That isn’t going to make me an ideal candidate for Lipitor.
So, here’s the deal, guys. If I wanted drama I’d just pop in some HBO on DVD. If I want mind numbing entertainment, I have the internet. But is it too much to ask for my sports teams to either just win or lose convincingly? At least the Lions have that one down. Kind of.