In comparison with the other two major U.S. sports leagues, Major League Baseball’s postseason stands at the top of the mountain — regardless of which teams are in the hunt for the World Series trophy.
At least in terms of recent consistently competitive series and lasting memories, anyway.
Like Kevin Dyson, the Super Bowl falls just short
It’s no secret that the NFL and the Super Bowl reign supreme as the pinnacle sporting event in this country. People will watch the Super Bowl simply because it’s the Super Bowl.
However, the actual game hasn’t always lived up to the hype.
Who remembers anything about the Oakland Raiders loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Or the punt-fest that was the Baltimore Ravens’ victory over the New York Giants?
Sure, the St. Louis Rams won it all after Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kevin Dyson was tackled at the 1-yard line as time expired. Just last year, Eli Manning’s scramble and heave to David Tyree, who pinned the ball against his helmet to make the catch, kept the Giants’ hopes alive in the upset over the previously-unbeaten Patriots.
Anybody remember what roman numeral those Super Bowls were, though? Or at least attach the year without searching on Google?
The NBA is too star-driven
The Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls of the 1990s was arguably one of the great dynasties in professional sports history.
Unfortunately for NBA commissioner David Stern, the league hasn’t been able to recover since His Airness retired.
The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers showdown this past season may have been great for those that remember the teams battle in the 1980s, but the Lakers were annihilated by 39 points in Game 6 to hand the Celtics their 17th championship in franchise history. Not quite a classic.
Even in 2007, superstar LeBron James couldn’t inject life in the battle between his Cleveland Cavaliers and the San Antonio Spurs.
Baseball provides made-for-TV drama better than any sport
The 2001 World Series should go down as the greatest ever played. Forget reality TV, the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks supplied all the drama needed with the help of a nation looking to escape the 9/11 scene outside of the ballpark.
The series produced four games decided by one run, including three consecutive at Yankee Stadium in Games 3, 4 and 5. Games 4 and 5 were both decided in extra innings.
Joe Carter’s walk-off, series-winning blast against Philadelphia Phillies closer Mitch Williams in 1993 still creates goosebumps. Edgar Renteria ended the 1997 World Series with an 11th inning single against the Cleveland Indians in Game 7. The Anaheim Angels staged an improbable comeback in Game 6 of the 2002 World Series — all while a 20-year-old fireballer named Francisco Rodriguez etched his name in postseason lore.
This year’s storylines
The Chicago Cubs are trying to win the World Series for the first time in 100 years. The Tampa Bay Rays will participate in the 11-year franchise’s first postseason. The Los Angeles Angels will try to defeat the Boston Red Sox, who swept them in 2004 and last season. The Los Angeles Dodgers are trying to win their first playoff series since 1988.
This year’s playoffs starts today and the storylines are in place to possibly create the next classic postseason moment.