This sporting year has given us a lot to be thankful for, but one of those things is definitely not upsets and underdogs. Think about the major sports for a second. Everyone picked North Carolina to win the NCAA Tournament going into the season, and going in to the tournament and they breezed to a National Championship. Most people were picking the Lakers going into the season last year, and though Cleveland may have temporarily displaced them as the favorite pick, the Lakers, everyone’s pick, won it all. Going into the NHL season, everyone was probably picking the Red Wings or Penguins and the more hockey-savvy among us were probably expecting big things from the Bruins, Blackhawks, and Sharks. No one expected the Sharks to win it all given their past failures in the playoffs, but apart from them, all those teams went deep into the playoffs, and the two teams everyone expected to be in the Stanley Cup Finals made it. Maybe we expected Detroit to beat Pittsburgh, but those are the teams everyone expected to be there. Most people picked Florida to win the BCS last year, and they too came through. Front-runners all over the place.
This all brings us very nicely to the World Series, where the Yankees will probably clinch tonight. Everyone was expecting them to be there and, depending on your point of view the following may or may not be true, they did not disappoint. What is this? Everything in sports has turned upside down! Isn’t sports supposed to show us the little engine that could? No one, except for the fans of that team, wants to see the enormous, polluting engine that has before. I wouldn’t call it boring in the case of this World Series because it has been a great series, but COME ON! Who wants to see every single expected team win? It might be the last thing I want as a sports fan.
However, if you are a gambling man, and I’m not saying you are, go ahead and bet the house on Florida. This trend looks like it is here to stay. When was the last time there was a big Cinderella or team that just seemed destined for glory despite not being everyone’s preseason darling? I think you might have to go all the way back to the 03-04 Pistons to find a team that no one expected to win it all or was even somewhat reminiscent of an underdog. Give me the nobodies, the underdogs, and the Davids. You can keep your Goliaths.
On the other hand, maybe this was just one giant attempt to jinx the Yankees beyond all belief. Maybe it wasn’t. But maybe it was. You be the judge. I am just sick of the triumph of #1 teams.