And why exactly are we playing basketball in June?
I am rooting for the Lakers tonight.
I am not a big Kobe Bryant fan – Phil Jackson, yes; Kobe, no – and this goes against all my anti-Los Angeles tendencies.
It’s really time for basketball to end. This isn’s an anti NBA column from a guy who grew up with the Golden State Warriors.
Whenever the Lakers close out the Magic be it tonight or Tuesday, it becomes baseball season finally – for about one month until NFL teams report and you all begin you post-Jay Cutler ruminations.
Whatever happened to seasons in sports?
There’s no reason a sports fan – especially here where summer is precious – should be watching a sport played indoors, not to mention on ice in June. I know there are fans who can’t get enough of their favorite sports, but baseball is meant to played in spring and summer, football in the fall, and basketball and hockey in the winter.
There is no way the NBA or NHL are going to shorten their 82-game schedule, especially the latter because hockey is the most dependent of the four major sports on ticket sales. But both basketball and hockey can play a whole lot more back-to-back games during the regular season.
These are incredibly-fit athletes who travel on charter planes. Please don’t tell me that they’ll get tired. And even if the two sports want to maintain four rounds of playoffs – though that really does diminish the significance of the regular season – postseason games should be played every other night.
It was an absolute joke that the Nuggets had five days between Games 2 and 3 of their series with Dallas, and there’s no reason the NBA or NHL should be waiting three days between games when the postseason fields are narrowed to two teams.
The NFL’s season is just about right with its regular season and playoffs. What’s wrong is the way the league has attempted through the NFL Network to turn football into a year-round sport.
Because the NFL Network is on 24/7, it’s turned the Draft into the most over-hyped event in sports. Yes, it is interesting seeing whom your team gets, but the pre- and post-draft breakdowns are noxious. You don’t realistically know how your team did until three or four years after the draft. (Anyone know the first quarterback taken in the 2000 Draft? Chad Pennington, a good pick, but we’d all agree the Patriots made out a bit better in the sixth round.)
And since the NFL Network covers free-agency, the draft, minicamps, preseason camps and the preseason itself out the ying-yang, ESPN follows suit and football is in the news all year. (Along these lines, Bret Favre, retire or don’t retire. I don’t care, but find one side of the fence and stay there.) It’s good marketing on the NFL’s part, but the summer is the time for golf, tennis, World Cup soccer qualifying and yes, baseball.
Baseball, though, is not exempt either because it’s gone to three rounds of playoffs. There is a reason baseball should not be played on Oct. 27, the start of Game 5 of last year’s Fall Classic – which happened to take three days to finish. It rains or snows in late October and early November in most places. This year, Game 4 of the Series is set for Nov. 4. That’s ridiculous.
Doubleheaders are our friends. They are an age-old staple of baseball and will reduce the length of the regular season. And it’s a nice reward for fans, who really deserve it, given the price of tickets. Pitchers’ arms will not fall off and batters will not die of exhaustion. In the few markets where teams are selling out, make them day-night doubleheaders, but you get the idea.
This way, baseball can start with divisional playoffs during the last week of September and the World Series with any luck takes place in mid-October in non-Arctic conditions.
When it’s that miserable out, it’s time go inside to watch hockey or basketball.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.