MACLANE: October reigns as best sports month of year
Opinions Column: Conservative Hot Corner
After a long dead period in the world of sports, our wait is finally over. The summer is a complete dead zone for sports considering that the only major sport being broadcast is baseball and the 162 game schedule can eventually become dry — especially when your team stinks after being touted as World Series contenders and the best baseball team in New York. The most exciting part of sports during the summer is offseason news from the NFL and NBA which is just plain sad. But now, football season is in full swing, playoff baseball is here, the NHL season has begun and the NBA season starts in only two weeks.
Football has yet to disappoint, as it never does. There have already been amazing matches in both college and the NFL. The Penn State versus Iowa game had one of the craziest endings ever, with a walk off touchdown by the Nittany Lions to prevent the upset. Just this weekend in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers took the Packers down the field with less than two minutes to score a last minute touchdown securing the win against the Cowboys in Jerry Jones’s playpen.
This is meant to preface my ultimate point: October is the best sports month of the year. There are a variety of opinions on what month is the best for sports considering basketball fans will typically say March because of March Madness and the NBA’s tendency to backload their best matchups right before the playoffs in mid-April. Many college football fans will say December/January because of the bowl game season. But to me, it is definitively October and for one primary reason — playoff baseball is the best version of any sport.
Baseball is widely regarded as the most boring sport. Its slow moving and very little action actually occurs in the game. In fact, according to a 2013 Wall Street Journal study, the average baseball game only features 17 minutes and 58 seconds worth of action. This is while the average baseball game takes around three hours, so it is a serious commitment to watch an entire game.
Despite the lack of action, playoff baseball is an entirely different animal than regular season baseball. In the regular season, most managers play for tomorrow, meaning that they will avoid using certain pitchers, give players rest days and never even think about using a starter in a relief role — unless the game goes into extra innings. In the playoffs, all bets are off and managers are suddenly playing for today, as each game is as important as the next. Just ask the 2016 Cleveland Indians or the 2004 New York Yankees. For example, last year during the World Series, the Indians turned to Andrew Miller four separate times to shut down the Chicago Cubs — which failed miserably in game seven — until their closer, Cody Allen could finish the game off in the ninth inning. Andrew Miller pitched 7.2 innings in nine days, which is something that would never occur in the regular season but playing for today and not tomorrow makes playoff baseball one of the most exciting and stressful sports to watch.
Playoff baseball also has some of the most amazing moments in sports. That’s not to say that other sports don’t — just this year we had possibly the greatest comeback of all time in the most recent Super Bowl and the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled off a miraculous turnaround after winning the 2016 Finals even those being down 3 games to 1. But the 2016 World Series turned out to be one of the most exciting ever. The Cubs ended their 108 year World Series drought after going down 3 games to 1 and having the face the Ace of the Indians, Corey Kluber in Game 7. We have been pretty blessed the last few years with the World Series. 2014 featured one of the greatest pitching performances in World Series history with Madison Bumgarner pitching 21 innings in the seven game series and defeating a stacked Royals team almost singlehandedly. Although the 2015 World Series ended in only five games, it still starred a local team with the Mets facing off against the Kansas City Royals.
Playoff football and basketball have almost become redundant. Every year the AFC is either represented by Ben Roethelisberger, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady against an underdog NFC opponent. I can already say with full confidence that the Golden State Warriors will face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers next May in the NBA Finals. The unpredictability nature of playoff baseball makes October the best month for sports of the year.
Daniel MacLane is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science. His column, "Conservative Hot Corner," runs on alternate Wednesdays.
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