Who Does Game 7 Right?

So, here we are again. Another year, another go-round with the NBA and NHL playoffs (yes, playoffs), and another chance to debate who has the best Game 7 experience out of the three major sports.

It’s said far too often, but it rings too true. There’s nothing better in sports than a game 7. Everyone’s backs are against the wall. It’s time to put all the cards on the table, leave your heart out on the court, ice, field, what have you. Win and move on. Lose and go home.

We’ve already had one Game 7 happen with a depleted Chicago Bulls team taking out the Brooklyn Nets in the Big Apple. Two more are set to take place tonight in the NHL with the Washington Capitals hosting the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins traveling to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs.

So much drama, and it’s all happening in just the first round of the playoffs. But who doesn’t love some edge-of-your-seat, heart-attack-inducing action in their lives?

And it makes me think. If someone offered me tickets to a World Series, or Stanley Cup Finals, or NBA Finals game 7 and I had to pick one, which would I choose?

First off, I’d try to con them into letting me go to all three since they happen at different times. (Why I’d only be allowed to pick one is complete BS.) After multiple failed attempts, though, I’d ultimately have to make an incredibly tough decision. Obviously preference of sport is going to come into play here, but each sport has its advantages.

What to do? Well, let’s overanalyze the situation like all good sports writers like to do, and take this sport by sport.

NBA

This seems like a good place to start since the last Game 7 played was an NBA game.

Basketball, in general, is not a high-intensity sport. Don’t get me wrong, certain players play super-physical styles and show superhero like skills in spurts. But there are always stretches in a game where it seems like everyone is sort of just going through the motions. And don’t even get me started on the last “2 minutes” of games which end up taking about as long as the 46 minutes of gametime leading up to that point.

That’s just boring to me.

In the playoffs though, just as in any sport, the intensity definitely picks up, as there’s a little more on the line and the level of play improves exponentially. Even with the elevated talent, I still find it to be boring at times.

Despite all of that, an NBA Finals game 7 can completely redeem itself with a last second shot. The possibility of that happening in a game 7 would make that an enticing choice.

MLB

Some people could argue that baseball is a much more boring sport than basketball, and way less intense—and maybe they have a case that could be made. But much like a basketball fanatic, I would defend baseball by saying that those people are just ignorant and don’t understand the beauty of the game.

Just as the NBA has their last-second shot, baseball has the walk-off homerun, or the closer who comes in for the shutdown ninth inning save opportunity. Late-inning heroics with a title on the line can seal a legacy for a team or individual.

Baseball is full of mini-series inside of the whole series. Each at-bat, each inning, each game, they’re all little battles that come together and contribute to the entire war. There’s so much that goes into a baseball game, and the slightest technical or tactical adjustment can lead to a major momentum swing. These happen throughout a series and  throughout each game.

Having experienced the thrill of a walk-off World Series win in game 3 of the 2008 Fall Classic, I can only imagine how much more intense a game 7 would be. One of these is definitely a bucket list item of mine.

NHL

I’m a huge advocate of going to games to experience the atmosphere and seeing how different it is than watching on TV. No sport is more different to experience in-person than hockey. Watching on TV is great, but seeing all of the intricacies of the game—from line changes, to odd-man rushes, to the playing styles—is only possible when you’re at the game.

Of the three sports with a playoff series hockey is by far the most intense. The nonstop action keeps your eyes on the game. Big hits, spectacular saves, and breakaways are unique to hockey and make it an incredible watch.

The only break in the action comes when there’s a commercial break or time out, and there can be some pretty long stretches between them.

My only complaint about hockey is that it’s too quick. Three periods just doesn’t seem to last long enough, and games come and go at a rapid pace.

Verdict

When it comes to making a decision on this, like I mentioned up top, I think it just comes down to which sport you enjoy the most. Taking that, and all of the possibilities of a game 7, there’s only one clear choice in my mind.

The tradition of the Fall Classic is just too much to turn down.

Baseball in its purest form is enthralling, and being at a game 7 of the World Series would be an incredible experience. There might not be as much intensity as a Stanley Cup Finals game 7, but in my opinion, it comes close.

Put two aces on the mound, your best lineup, and let it loose. Make it a one-run game and I’m on the edge of my seat just thinking about it. Who doesn’t, as a kid, pretend to hit that walk-off home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the bases loaded, and a full count?

That right there is why I’d take the Fall Classic tickets in an instant.

Leave your opinions on my choice or what you’d do in the comments below.

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