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Baseball Isn’t Like Football, and That’s A Good Thing | World Series 2016

World Series 2016

World Series 2016

With the World Series kicking off in Cleveland on Tuesday night, it’s as good a time as any to consider how different baseball’s championship is from football. Why football? Because its title game has become synonymous with a really big event. It’s so big the NFL aggressively protects against unauthorized use of the term. Hopefully baseball is a bit more relaxed than that.

The main difference between the two sports comes down to numbers: For every regular season game that an NFL franchise takes the field, an MLB franchise plays ten. And when it comes to the playoffs, the words “if necessary” simply don’t apply to football’s big game. There’s one game, winner take all, and if your team comes out of the locker room flat, well, enjoy your offseason.

But baseball takes a different approach than that. The word “series” is money in the bank for the broadcasters and the advertisers (and even the ticket sellers) because one bad game isn’t enough to sink a team. Winning Game 1 is a big advantage, certainly, and you have to go back to 2009 to find a team that lost Game 1 and still went on to win the Series. But it can be done.

One of the indelible moments in Series history is Carlton Fisk motioning for the ball to stay fair at Fenway Park in the 1975 matchup with the Cincinnati Reds. That happened in Game 6, and ensured that there would be a Game 7 the next night in Boston. But in a one-game, winner-take-all scenario, that moment never would have happened. Boston won Game 1 in 1975, on a five-hit shutout by Luis Tiant, but the Reds eventually prevailed in seven games that year.

Red Sox fans can be forgiven if the seven-game format doesn’t always appeal to them. In addition to 1975, they also won Game 1 of the 1986 Series, when Bruce Hurst and Calvin Schiraldi combined on a four-hit shutout of the New York Mets. But as every Red Sox fan knows, Game 1 success doesn’t mean a thing if your team can’t win three more games afterward.

Tickets for Game 1 are still available, and they are expensive like no other game yet this season. With ticket prices running well into four digits, the GameHedge Good Game Guarantee makes more sense than ever. Losing is never any fun, and losing at home with so much on the line is even worse. But if it should happen in Game 1, at least there’s still more baseball to be played.

And with that, let the games begin!

by R. Lincoln Harris

Keywords: World Series tickets, 2016 World Series, Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs

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