Saturday, April 17, 2004

The Most Exciting Event in All of Sports by Jonnie Whoa Oh

Excitement shouldn’t be measured in just a moment, but rather in the collective amount of time spent thinking, wishing and hoping surrounding any sporting event.  The most dramatic event all of sports has to be the Giants/ Bills Super Bowl of 1991.  I’ve never see so many people hold their breath as when the fateful kick went up; yet the other 59 minutes and 56 seconds of the game wasn’t anywhere nearly as exciting.  Similarly, Aaron Boone’s walk off homer was dramatic, but nowhere nearly as exciting for me as the prospect of what Red Sox vs. the Yankees will mean this season.

When October is all said and done, I’m constantly thinking, wishing, hoping, agonizing, postulating and commiserating over every deal, proposed deal, and rejected deal that takes place during the MLB off-season.  The MLB off-season is probably more exciting than the first two months of the actual regular season (outside of opening day, it’s nice to see the Tigers in first) in the sense that you are projecting lineups, sizing up rivals, proposing trades, being laughed at and then proven right and making outlandish predictions that are irrefutable (go on and wax poetic on how the Mets aren’t going to lose a single game all year, I mean as of March 1st they haven’t lost one yet!).  At the heart of all this excitement lies uncertainty, because nothing is certain in the off-season.

This off-season showed us that nothing should be unexpected. Who among us can honestly say they weren’t riveted by each and every 5:00 PM deadline set by either Boston or Texas?  I know I visited and their stupid expanding/shrinking advertising box every hour on the hour in hopes of any miniscule crumb of information.  Then when it seemed that the game’s best player was going nowhere, he ended up on a team that already has an All Star/Gold Glove shortstop.  There were some other deals that changed the landscape of the game like Schilling packing his bags for Boston, Pettitte, the Yankee for life, in Houston and bringing his best friend and retired head hunter with him (an aside—Dear all Mets pitchers, if and when Mr. Clemens bats at Shea Stadium, walk him on four pitches, four very inside pitches, each and every time he is up. Thank you in advance).  The beauty of the off-season is even if your team doesn’t have the mega bucks to sign anyone they desire, they can be involved through trades like the Phillies did with Billy Wagner or through having the Yankees take aging super stars off their hands at a premium—ahem, Kevin Brown, ahem.  So every team is constantly in the mix and you never know what could happen. Think about it—the fate of your team and the sport is forged and tempered every waking second and sometimes when you aren’t even awake thanks to the Japanese teams!  The Hot Stove needs to be monitored even more diligently than a real stove! 

If all this wasn’t enough with the active players, you see the Hall of Fame voting which stirs up even more debate and excitement.  Is Rose in, is he out?  Will Keith Hernandez ever get the recognition he deserves?  Or how about Rich Gossage, Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven, Ryne Sandburg or Dale Murphy?  These debates will go on indefinitely until each of those players are actually inducted.  Mix in some controversy about steroids and now every stat is up for debate! 

Granted this off-season was more exciting than most, but even it when it’s not, it’s still better than those boring blow out Super Bowls of years passed.  And the ho-hum NBA Finals that the West easily walks away with.  At the most fundamental level there are only two teams competing in these situations, while from November until the end of March all 30 MLB teams are active!  That’s 15 times the excitement!  In a Super Bowl there are roughly five or 10 star players involved, in the off season every star player is involved!

So, keep your Olympics, your NCAA tournaments, your Super Bowls, even your World Serieses (assuming it’s Yankees/Braves and I’m in a lose lose situation) and give me the most exciting event in all of sports, MLB’s off-season.

Jonnie Whoa Oh runs Whoa Oh Records, a pop punk label and plays bass in The Steinways, a pop punk band.  He vividly remembers Gary Carter's home run over the Green Monster in Game Four of the 1986 World Series and thinking that Carter was a God amongst men.

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