Unless I’m watching my team play on the road, I always root for the home team. Even when I went to Yankee Stadium earlier this year, for the first time in my life, I booed A-Rod every chance I got, but I still wanted the Yankees to win. Why? I reasoned that finding my way out of the Bronx would be easier without thousands of pissed-off New Yorkers around.
The home field advantage counts for a lot in baseball, but it isn’t everything. Just ask the Kansas City Royals, who hosted game seven of the World Series last year but couldn’t figure out Madison Bumgarner and left the tying run 90 feet away in the ninth inning. Sorry to dredge up that memory, Royals fans, but it does help to prove my point. The road team always has a chance to win.
So, the news that MLB saw all 15 of its home teams win yesterday – for the first time on record – came as something of a shock to me. There were some late-inning heroics in Seattle and Cleveland, but it’s the first, and perhaps the only, time that we’ll see this happen. Rooting for the home team paid off yesterday, every single time. Amazing.
I don’t really need to wonder if there’s ever been a weekend in the NFL like that. I’m quite certain there has been. And the nature of the NBA is such that it’s probably happened for them, too, even though the games are staggered during the season and all the teams probably don’t play on the very same day too often. But outside of a Monday or Thursday travel day, and the occasional rainout, all of baseball’s 30 teams are out there on the field, playing for the fans that continue to support the game like none other. No other sports league could play 162 games in a season and expect to survive financially. That’s one of the many reasons why baseball is so special.
On a nondescript Tuesday, baseball collectively found another point to emphasize its unique nature. Baseball became like football – for one day at least – and, in so doing it, reminded us that it’s most definitely not like football.
So what memorable thing is going to happen today? I can’t wait to find out.