Baseball is the most exciting sport. I have played baseball for as long as I can remember, so it might be a bit biased for me to make this claim. But I have a justification for it.
I am getting really tired of watching the same teams compete for championships. The New England Patriots win the Super Bowl seemingly every year, Alabama wins the College Football Playoffs and the NBA Championship is a toss up between the Warriors and the Cavs. It’s just boring now.
Unlike its counterparts, the MLB hasn’t had a repeat winner since the 2000 season when the New York Yankees won their third World Series Ring in a row. In the College World Series, there hasn’t been a three-year championship streak since, oddly enough, the USC Trojans won five rings from 1970-1974.
The average person can usually predict the winner of any basketball or football game by just picking the higher ranked team. On the other hand, in baseball, there is always the possibility that the absolute worst team in the league will upset the No. 1 seed.
Think back to 2012. The Houston Astros had one of its worst seasons in franchise history. They finished with a laughable 55-107 record and ended 42 games behind the division-winning Cincinnati Reds and 33 games behind a wild card berth. To put it lightly, they were horrible, but they still beat the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants once that season. Not to mention the fact that just five years later the Astros went on to win the 2017 World Series.
I have been following baseball for a long time, but before 2016 I had never heard of Coastal Carolina University. That year the Chanticleers seemingly came out of nowhere to knock off a dominant Texas Christian team to advance to the championship series, which they would win over Arizona. If that’s not exciting, then I don’t know what is.
One of my gripes about other sports, particularly football, is that the seasons are too short. With 162 games, the MLB season is able to see past fluke wins and bad calls to determine the best 10 teams to play in the postseason.
I understand that the frequency and amount of football games in a season cannot be increased because of health concerns. I merely appreciate the ability a baseball season has to predict the best teams to compete for the championship.
Perhaps the most exciting part of this sport is that the game is not over until the last out is made. Every other major sport relies on a clock to signify the end of the game. In baseball, the pitcher is obligated to give the opposing team their chance to score runs.
In the 2017 ALCS, the Detroit Tigers squared off against the Boston Red Sox. In the second game of the series, the Tigers led the Red Sox by a score of 5-2 entering the bottom of the eighth inning. As a Michigan native and Detroit Tigers fanatic, I felt very confident that the cats would pull out of that game with a win, but I knew the game wasn’t over. Unfortunately, I was right.
In the bottom of the eighth, future Hall of Famer David Ortiz pounded a grand slam to put the Sox at equal score with the Tigers. That score held until the bottom of the ninth when Jarrod Saltalamacchia batted in Jonny Gomes to walk off the game.
Thinking back to that game, I realized the implications of having to give the trailing team their chances. What if Tigers’ pitcher Max Scherzer was able to kneel the ball? Would the Tigers have advanced to the World Series and made a championship run? We will never know.
With all of that being said, I look to USC Trojans baseball. The Men of Troy haven’t had a winning record since 2015 and finished the 2016 season with a measly .382 winning percentage. But I know in the sport of baseball there is always hope.
Sam Arslanian is a freshman majoring in journalism. He is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Extra Innings,” runs Mondays.