So awhile back I was listening to Detroit radio host Matt Sheppard talking about Miguel Cabrera‘s season. He brought up Joe DiMaggio and how as a rookie he had something like 33 strikeouts THE ENTIRE SEASON. He pointed out the leader of strikeouts at that date was Mike Napoli who was close to around 200 strikeouts in August. No doubt what Joe DiMaggio did was incredible but I got to thinking in his time he faced 1 pitcher the whole game everyday. He never had to face middle relievers, specialists, or closers. I think it’d be fair to say his strikeout numbers would’ve been higher. How much higher? Nobody knows.
You take the NHL for example a player like Gordie Howe faced Goaltenders who wore next to nothing in padding. Compared to today’s goalies their padding probably takes up 65% of the net. Advantage Old School.
You look at the hockey stick itself and Howe played with essentially a piece of tree. Whereas today’s players play with composite graphite sticks that are ultra light. Advantage New School.
The NFL you can only breakdown by the decades otherwise the gap is just too enormous to justify. From how it was a running league to the current day wide open passing offense’s.
The rules in the NBA and NFL in particular have changed the games almost completely. You can’t really play defense, at least the way we grew up knowing defense, anymore and it’s saddening and a big adjustment to both the fans and players.
As sports fans know getting to the Championship round of any sport is difficult and we’re supposed to see “the 2 best teams” play for the Championship. Far too many times these series never come close to living up to the “2 best teams”. This year was pretty darn special for the NBA and NHL as they obviously had their respective sport’s 2 best teams playing for the Championship. These weren’t good series’ either, they were great, nail-biting, series’.
The Heat vs. Spurs was an epic series. With each team trading blowout wins and three very close, very tight, and very good games. Game 5 Manu Ginobli had a turn back the clock type of performance for the Spurs. Game 6 was one for ESPN Classic. The Spurs up 5 with 28 seconds left. LeBron James knocks down a 3. Kawhi Leonard gets fouled with 19 seconds and has 2 free throws. Leonard missed the first and hit the second. The Spurs put Tim Duncan on the bench so they could guard against the 3. Well LeBron James jacked up a 3 from the top of the key hit iron. Chris Bosh grabbed the rebound threw to Ray Allen, the league’s all time best 3 point shooter, who drained a 3 with 5.2 seconds left in the 4th quarter. TIE GAME. The Heat went on to win the game in overtime. Game 7 was close and had its swings of momentum as well but in the end San Antonio’s turnover’s and missed shots became too much to overcome and the Heat won their second Championship in consecutive seasons. Really a great series and it was topped off with Spurs players genuinely congratulating the Heat players. Which should be the case but in the NBA the losing team very rarely does anything except go straight to the locker room.
The NHL Final had pretty much the same feel the Chicago Blackhawks were the best team in the league the entire season and the Bruins were right up there too. Seemingly every game could have gone either way. In the end, down a goal, in Boston, with a minute and 16 seconds left Bryan Bickell tied the game. Then in a blink of an eye, 45 seconds, Dave Bolland beat Tuukka Rask for the game winning and ultimately Championship winning goal.
Two of the best Finals series that have been played in a long, long time and of course it came in the same span of 15 days. Here’s hoping to seeing many more great Championship series in the future.