For those of you who don't have finals. . .
While the Widow continues to toil with finals, I'm going to try to stir up some debate on this page. Which is more exiting, the triple or the homer?
A few days ago I heard (as I've heard many times before) a couple of announcers arguing about the most exiting play in baseball. Arguing is really a poor word choice because what they were actually doing is rehashing a tired old script that I can only assume is taught in the first semester at BAC (the Baseball Announcer College, see Joe Morgan's ad in Golf Digest). The script goes something like this:
Announcer A [seeing a triple]: Wow, it's great to see a triple these days -- what an exiting play.
Announcer B [knowingly, as if we cared]: You know, A, they say that the triple is the most exiting play in the game.
A [playing the stooge]: Why's that, B?
B: Simple, a homer is commonplace, but the triple is a rare gem . . . and there's running!
(Ah, the expert commentary that keeps us watching baseball on TV.)
So, which is more exiting? Neither. We do baseball injustice by narrowing the "interesting" parts of the game to these options. The real excitement of a game is the suspense of who will win and how will it happen. A 1-2-3 inning is exciting--if it's the ninth and your closer (who blew his last three saves) has a one run lead.
A triple or a homer? Please! Here are my nominations for the game's greatest plays:
1. The Double Play. Graceful and often decisive, a good double play is way more exiting that a triple.
2. The Strike Out. Think this isn't exiting? Picture your favorite pitcher striking out Albert Pujols with the bases loaded and then think again.
3. Ok, you need some offense? The Walk Off Home Run. I'll concede the homer has a place in this debate, but it has to be at the right time to be truly exiting.
4. The Play at the Plate. My personal favorite. It's got it all, offense, defense, grace, power. If it comes at the end of a game (or playoff series, think Sid Bream) all the better. A good play at the plate starts with men on base, involves a hit and a good throw and ends in a run being scored or denied. That's excitement.
Am I wrong? Well, that's what the comments are for. Let's do baseball justice by raising this debate above its current announcer inanity.