The hunt for October

When September rolls around each year, a peculiar phenomenon occurs in America.

From Saturday morning to Monday night, American sports fans seem to have only one thing on their minds.

Football.

College, professional, it doesn’t matter to me.

Once the temperatures cool down and the days start getting shorter, all is forsaken for the obsession that is American football.

I love football as much as the next sports fanatic.

I can’t think of a better way to spend a lazy Saturday morning than watching Lee Corso’s ridiculous antics on College GameDay.

Then I follow that with several hours on the couch with the remote in my hand.

Unlike most Americans, however, football is not my lone obsession.

I was raised in a baseball home. More specifically, an Atlanta Braves home.

To me, fall means division races, wild card discussion and playoff baseball.

My childhood was right in the middle of the Braves’ incredible run of 14 straight division titles from 1991 to 2005.

That is a streak which to this day remains untouched by any professional sports franchise.

Growing up, that’s what fall meant to me.

I’m not naive enough to sit here and say baseball is still America’s pastime. I know it’s not.

Football is much more action-packed, the season is quicker and games are shorter and more important – I understand all the reasons why it’s surpassed baseball.

But, you can’t convince me baseball isn’t worth watching.

As I write this column, there are 15 teams within striking distance of one of the eight playoff spots.

To put it another way, with just more than one week to go in the season, about half of the teams in the entire league are still in the hunt for October.

I guarantee, come Thanksgiving or Christmas, we won’t be able to say the same about the Bowl Championship Subdivision National Championship contenders or the race for the NFL playoffs.

I’m not trying to convince you to stop watching football. I’m not even saying that baseball is the better of the two sports.

All I mean is it’s a shame so many of these thrilling games aren’t even being watched.

ESPN may spend three quarters of its programming time analyzing the ongoing unemployment of Tim Tebow instead of covering the three-way tie atop the National League Central.

But that doesn’t mean you have to, as well.

I know you love football. Trust me, I do too. But don’t miss the excitement of fall baseball.

If your weekends are occupied by football, that’s fine, but don’t be afraid to turn on that other sport on a Tuesday or Thursday night.

You just might find it’s actually pretty exciting.

 

Column by Jonathan Ferris, Staff Writer