by Mohammad Samra / Staff Reporter
Chicago Cubs pitcher Mike Montgomery fired a curveball that sliced over the plate for strike one. The Cubs were merely one out away from gifting generations of fans a championship and overcoming a title drought that survived through two world wars and 19 presidents.
The 38,104 fans in attendance at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio, and millions of viewers tuning in on television nationally watched nervously as Montgomery began his windup.
Michael Martinez, the hitter for the Indians, caught a piece of the ball and grounded it toward third baseman Kris Bryant who fielded the ball and quickly fired it toward first baseman Anthony Rizzo. He aligned his cleat along the side of the first-base bag and secured the out to win the game and complete an improbable 3-1 series comeback.
The game was played in 2016, but it aired on what was supposed to be Major League Baseball’s Opening Day on March 26, 2020. The decision to re-air the game was made by FoxSports as part of #OpeningDayAtHome, which allowed fans to relive some of the greatest games in baseball history since MLB’s season is postponed indefinitely.
MLB isn’t the only league to reflect on some of its most iconic moments. According to the National Basketball Association’s official website, ESPN plans to re-air key NBA Finals games throughout April. Among some of the games confirmed are Game 5 of the 2016 Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors and the championship-clinching games for the 2009 and 2010 Los Angeles Lakers.
ESPN is also premiering “The Last Dance,” its highly-anticipated ten-part docu-series detailing the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls earlier than previously announced. The series begins on April 19 but was originally scheduled to air in June.
Their effort extends beyond television, as social media has become a key outlet for “passing the time.” The NHL on NBC Facebook page held a “Greatest Goal Scorer in the History of the NHL” tournament where fans decided who advanced by voting for who they thought was a better scorer. The tournament sparked plenty of debates among fans and kept them engaged in the sport.
Because this is such an unprecedented time, it allows us to reflect on why we feel the absence of sports so heavily. Watching our favorite teams win championships account for some of the greatest moments of our lives.
Turning our attention toward our favorite league’s history instead of toward predicting future champions or outcomes allows us to fully appreciate the content we constantly crave.
It acts as more than merely a distraction, it is a world within itself. Everyone from a team owner to a stadium employee plays their role to help balance the many factors required to stay afloat in the sports world. It has its own economy, history, defining moments, news, heroes and villains.
Sports may not be considered an essential service, but the emotional investment in each of the hundreds of organizations across the globe emphasizes just how powerful the sports industry truly is.