Tai Justice Sport writer
The MLB Playoffs have been fantastic. From the Nationals-Dodgers series to the classic Yankees-Astros series, it’s been fantastic. As a Yankees fan, these games are straight agony and it made me start thinking, what’s the most nerve-wracking playoffs between the three major sports leagues? Let’s compare.
The MLB Playoffs are the most stressful to me because of the time between pitches in high leverage situations. You’re living and dying with every pitch and the time between the pitches is killer. Waiting for something great to happen or something that’ll make you feel lifeless. The slow-paced play of the games may hurt the entertainment value in the regular season for casual fans, but in the playoffs, it helps the nerves kick in and reach their heights. playoff baseball makes you feel more alive than you’ve ever felt when the times are going good and also make you feel like you’re dead inside if things are going poorly. It’s incredible entertainment.
Another thing that puts the MLB Playoffs over the top in my opinion is even when a ball is hit, there’s another pause in your reaction as a fan. Astros-Yankees Game 3 has a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Didi Gregorius hit a flyball and even the announcer yelled, “HIGH FLYBALL TO RIGHT” and the ball ended up being caught by the right fielder, but as a fan and you’re waiting for the ball to either be a homerun or an out. You watch the outfielder drift back and back and you just have a hopeless feeling waiting to see what happens. Then if it’s a homerun, you scream and celebrate. If It’s an out, you do the exact opposite. It’s torture.
The NFL Playoffs are up there just because you can feel the height of the game. It feels different than a normal game. Now, that’s true with every sport, but I don’t think any sport brings out that “big game” type feel quite like football does. You wake up the morning of an NFL Playoff game that your team is playing in and you can feel it in the air. You can almost feel like your life is going to be different in a few hours. The other thing is, you know everyone is watching. The NFL Playoff ratings are always the highest of any sport and it’s not close, either. You almost feel embarrassed if your team plays bad. That, “you don’t want to be embarrassed in front of your friends” type vibe. The pace of play is also slower because of the huddles. Your team can give up a touchdown, the game could go to commercial, they could kick the extra point, go back to commercial, have the kickoff and go right back to commercial. That can be 10-15 minutes in real time of you feeling completely dead inside. Also, in the NFL playoffs you have that consistent fear that if one coach or one player messes up, it can be over for everyone.
The NBA Playoffs are electric and seeing those types of athletes play at that level is amazing theatre, but I think the nerves of those games aren’t quite felt the same as the MLB and NFL and that again goes back to the pace of play. The NBA gives you a different type of, “Thank goodness it’s a timeout now because I need to catch my breath. Historically the games in the playoffs are played at a slower pace than the regular season, but still it’s played at a much faster pace than the MLB and NFL Playoffs. The fact that it’s played faster almost allows you to forget the height of the game that your team is currently playing in, but when a special moment like Dame Lillard’s game winner against the Oklahoma City Thunder last season it hits you like, “Wow he just did that in the playoffs. That’s special.”
In reality, all the playoffs are torture in their own special way, but watching the baseball playoffs have made me realize once again how nerve-wracking they are. In conclusion: Sports can be the best, but also make you feel completely dead inside.