Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Why Hockey is Boring
With all due respect to my editor, assistant to the editor and Yintzer, Hockey is boring. In Baseball, a base-hit greatly increases the chances a run will score. A different count be it 1-2 vs 3-1 greatly changes the probability that a batter will reach base. Runners being on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out makes the at bat much more exciting than it would be if this same at bat took place with 2 outs and nobody on even if you are in the first inning. Plus, it clearly passes Devo's piss-test. (if you miss 1 pitch because you are pissing, you very well could miss a 2 out three run hr in the top of the 1st which changes the course of the game). Great pitchers sometimes are owned by mediocre hitters (See Joe Mc-ewing vs. Randy Johnson pre-Yanks) and sometimes mediocre pitchers own great lineups (See Oliver Perez vs. New York Yankees of 2007). This stuff is fascinating if you love numbers, stats and you have played the game most of your life. Oh, it does help when your favorite team made the playoffs every year you have rooted for it (this year that ends). However, this post is not a referendum on baseball but rather a criticism of hockey and why it is unwatchable to most of Americans.
(1) There is no clear progress or demarcations towards points being scored- In football there are first downs, in basketball there are baskets every few seconds and in baseball there are walks, basehits, hbp's ext. In hockey, the only thing that approximates this is a power-play or penalty shot. I admit, these are exciting situations. However, 5 on 5 regular season hockey puts me to sleep. Much like Yintzer thinks that baseball is nothing more than pitch, pitch, walk, walk, hit, strikeout. Hockey, to the average american sports fan, is just sending the puck down the ice, chase the puck, line change, send the puck down the ice, a check against the boards, line change zzzzzzzz. Sorry I'm back.
(2) It is a very expensive and difficult game to learn and play- All you need to play basketball is a ball and any playground in America. Baseball requires buying a glove and bat but finding a field is relatively easy. Football follows along the same lines as Baseball. Hockey however is insanely difficult to play. You have to learn how to skate (which is damn near impossible for those of us who have horrendous balance), you need to reserve ice time, (which, as my friends who play it tell me; needs to be done at 5am or late at night) and then you have to buy a stick and join obscure leagues that most towns don't even offer. Many schools don't even have teams. No such trouble for the Big 3. This obviously makes it hard to enjoy watching for the majority of Americans who have never played the sport (ice hockey specifically) even 1 time.
(3) Tie Games or half tie games in sports are immoral- I'm sorry this is obscene. No sporting contest should ever end in a tie or a cop-out of the losing team getting 1 point as is the case in the post Lock-out NHL when a team loses in OT or a shootout. Every sporting event should have a clear loser and winner. The victor should indeed get all the spoils. If the NFL actually had tie games more than once every three years, I'd be as passionately anti-tie in the NFL too. There is something unnatural about leaving a sporting event where your team loses and you say "that's cool, at least we got a point." Imagine if in baseball a team got half a win for extending a game to extra innings. That would ruin the thrill of a walk-off hr in extra frames. To me this ruins regular season hockey games.
A HUUGE CAVEAT TO ALL OF THIS IS HOWEVER, THAT PLAYOFF OVERTIME GAMES ARE THE MOST THRILLING EVENTS IN SPORTS! The idea that at any moment a team can win or lose a game and that this game could end a team's season is captivating. However, this excitement is lost in regular season games where an artificial shootout gives one team a full win and 1 team a half of a win. I know this article will be hated on by my hockey loving co writers and friends but I still express the sentiment of the overwhelming majority of Americans. Regular season hockey is really boring. So is NASCARR and golf, by the way, which I know actually puts me at odds with many of my fellow hockey detractors. But I need not take up any space on this primarily Northeastern Blog with NASCAR stuff.