IBJOpinion

LOPRESTI: Pick the best post-season in all of sports

June 7, 2014
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

mike lopresti sportsToday’s task is complicated, even if it’s simple.

Pick the best post-season in team sports. Any shape ball, any size field. It seems timely, since we’ve just gotten a full dose of the trials and tribulations of the NBA playoffs, via the wanderings of the Pacers.

NBA

What makes it the best: The room-temperature intensity of the regular season is a memory. Now they go at it like two lions fighting over a zebra dinner. It’s invariably interesting to see two teams grow steadily annoyed with each other. By about Game 5, they’re getting along like North and South Korea. Blowing in someone’s ear is optional.

There is also less predictability than many think; the road teams went 34-38 in the first two rounds.

What doesn’t: It lasts longer than the Spanish-American War. You get the first results around Easter, but not a champion until nearly Father’s Day. Way too many off days to appease television. Plus, you can grow old in the last minute of a game, between all the timeouts.

NHL

What makes it the best: If you like close games, just follow the puck. Twenty-three playoff games needed overtime through the first three rounds. Plus, the Stanley Cup is the coolest trophy in sports, and not just because it gets awarded to someone standing on a sheet of ice.

What doesn’t: A lot of you don’t know what icing is—and don’t care. You’re supposed to get excited about Ottawa’s chances? Also, no sport loses more between being there in person and watching it on television than hockey.

NFL

What makes it the best: First, just look where they’re trying to get to. The Super Bowl. The destination makes the journey special. And there is no margin for error. One bad game, and you can start planning for the next draft, so the heat is on. The fascinating part is when that heat blows directly into the face mask and through the ear holes of the men with the single hardest job in sport—the quarterbacks. Do they thrive, or crumble?

What doesn’t: Underdog tales are rare. Joe Namath made his upset guarantee nearly 46 years ago. Plus, blowouts are not uncommon, and since one game is all you get against an opponent, a lopsided score is a real buzz kill. As magical as the Indianapolis Colts rally was against Kansas City, the New England game was a gray blur.

Major League Baseball

What makes it the best: Maybe it’s not the national pastime anymore—shoved aside by the NFL—but there still is no more compelling competition in team sport than good pitcher against good hitter. And that is what the post-season is all about. Plus, baseball is more democratic than any other sport. In the past 35 years, 19 different franchises have won the World Series. The NBA has had only 10. You know the Super Bowl MVP will almost always be the quarterback, and the NBA Finals MVP almost always someone named Kobe or LeBron or Michael. Some recent World Series MVPs include Pablo Sandoval, David Freese and Hideki Matsui.

What doesn’t: The games take too long and last too late. The World Series is now more regional than world. The two cities involved are as frenzied as ever, but many other places click right past a bases-loaded situation to watch “Dancing With the Stars.”

Ratings do not lie.

NCAA tournament

What makes it the best: Cinderella stories, upsets, buzzer-beaters, players’ tears and the ultimate one-and-done atmosphere. The NBA boasts the aura of Game 7. In the NCAA Tournament, every game is Game 7. And it’s just the right length. Three weeks of madness, then confetti.

What doesn’t: The players come, the players go. Following college basketball sometimes reminds you of watching a migratory flock of birds. And it shares one ill with the NBA: Games in the final minutes move like a glacier.

BCS playoff

What makes it the best: We don’t know yet, since it’s just starting this coming season. But the SEC community will try to officially proclaim it the Eighth Wonder of the World.

What doesn’t: It’s bound to get tiring, listening for weeks to all the speculation—most of which will never happen—then the shrieks of the teams not invited.

World Cup

What makes it the best: Majestic color, chaos and noise. A wonderful event, if they stop flopping and don’t riot. This would be the landslide winner in most countries.

What doesn’t: It’s hard to make it No. 1 in the United States, as long as the Americans are getting eliminated by Ghana.

And the winner is ...

For the trophy, give me the Stanley Cup. For the hype, give me the NFL. For the ferocity, Game 7 in the NBA. For the dramatic moment, bottom of the ninth in the World Series. For global fervor, the World Cup.

But for the whole package, I’d take the NCAA tournament, where there is doom and magic around every corner. No other post-season will ever give us Butler.•

__________

Lopresti is a lifelong resident of Richmond and a graduate of Ball State University. He was a columnist for USA Today and Gannett newspapers for 31 years; he covered 34 Final Fours, 30 Super Bowls, 32 World Series and 16 Olympics. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at mlopresti@ibj.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

  2. Do you need finance to establish your business ? Are you interested in getting a loan at 3% from our private company? If so please Email: suntrust_oil@blumail.org

  3. If she was worth the $ the public outcry over direct tv dropping them would have kept them on their dishes as we have seen with other companies. I too quit watching channel 13 after she showed up since I left channel 8 because of her all show rather than production results. When Randy on 8 corrected her she had a big head and incorrectly challenged his correction for pronunciation of a city. Other antics while she matures was too much for me with her very inaccurate forecasts. All the forecasters were predicting rain until Thursday except Chris. They predicted sunny on Thursday but instead of rain until Thursday upon which the sun would finally make it out in full glory Chris was right on the money just as I too predicted looking at the radar on weather.gov. One thing I love about Angela is the fear you can see in her every time it thunders in the winter. It far exceeds the entertainment value of her body language (high heel noise drags, depression, etc) when her forecasts are so incorrect. Her hair stands on end, you have to see it!!!

  4. Good Day, Apply For A Loan I am Mr Fernadez Antonio, a private Loan lender and a cooperate financial for real estate and any kinds of business financing. I also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at 3% interest rate We offer any kind of loans. email us via fernadezloaninvest@outlook.com LOAN APPLICATION FORM First name:......................... Middle name:......................... Last name:........................................ Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):....................... Gender:........................................... Marital status:................................... Total Amount Needed............................... Loan Duration.................................... Address:.......................................... City:............................................. State/province:................................... Zip/postal code:.................................. Country:.......................................... Phone:............................................ Fax:.............................................. Mobile/cellular:.................................. Monthly Income.................................... Occupation:....................................... Best Regard, Mr Fernadez Antonio.

  5. i will love to share my testimony to you all the people in world i got married to my husband about 2 year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,fighting about little things he always comes home late at night,drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side i have never love any man in my life except him. he is the father of my child and i don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today .few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her,my mother told me about DR.okoro how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad i was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other. i was directed to DR. okoro on his email:okorospell@gmail.com and explain everything to him,so he promise me not to worry that he will cast a spell and make things come back to how we where so much in love again and that it was another female spirit that was controlling my husband he told me that my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OK So he cast a spell for me and after two days my love came back asking me to forgive him i Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body that have such problem contact Dr okoro the great spell caster on his email addresses spellcasterforlove@outlook.com

ADVERTISEMENT