Time to strap on the bowtie and wax poetic
Believe it or not, there are a few things the NHL can learn from watching the World Series, writes Terry Frei.
On a night when Boston's Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis had hat tricks; when the Red Sox's David Ortiz, Sabres' Jason Pominville, Red Wings' Tomas Holmstrom and Panthers' Olli Jokinen were among those scoring twice; and when former Colorado Rockies goaltender Hardy Astrom probably declared in Sweden that he could have come out of the bullpen and not done any worse, I again found myself wondering between pitches and periods:What could the Stanley Cup finals learn from the World Series? (Or vice versa.) I've covered them both, multiple times -- albeit the finals more often than the Series. Among other things, I've been caught in an earthquake a couple of days after seeing a chubby kid named Chris Drury throw out the first pitch for Game 2 in Oakland, and shuttled back and forth between Western Canada and New York a bunch of times as the Stanley Cup rested in its case in a plane's cargo hold. One thing we know: There can't be F-16 flyovers at the Stanley Cup finals. At least, not unless they're remote-controlled models, and that kind of loses its effect. The NHL keeps the pregame pomp and circumstance to a minimum, including the policy of introducing the full rosters and personnel only once in each city during the finals. That's a good move. Yet the finals could be more a vehicle to celebrate the sport's and a franchise's traditions than it is, without intruding on the pageant that is the game itself at that stage of the season. Note: I said "more," and not "to ridiculous extremes." MLB goes overboard, although I know essayists celebrate such things as metaphorical in the overall tableau of American history, or some such garbage. That's the thing about baseball: If you write as if you're wearing a bowtie, nobody will call B.S. on anything you say. Football and hockey have similar historical echoes, yet the sports' proponents do a better job of picking their spots to summon and cite them. And especially in the era when television-commercial demands encourage the dragging-out of the proceedings -- both before the game and the game itself, which usually ends at, what 1:14 a.m. ET? -- the World Series stage-setters now are a bit much. Game 1 of the World Series was at Fenway Park Wednesday night not because J.D. Salinger or Moonlight Graham dictated it in the pages of "Field of Dreams" (the overwrought novel, not the overwrought movie, and gee, this bowtie sure is uncomfortable), or because the Red Sox had a better record than the Rockies (true enough), but because the American League won the All-Star game at San Francisco in July.
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