The power of one memorable game
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The poll was put up on the "Baseball Isn't Boring" Twitter account. Half a day later, the results were hovering near 50-50. Without scientific evidence, that is usually a sign a reasonable debate has been hatched.
The game in question, of course, was Team Japan's WBC Final 3-2 win over Team USA, which was punctuated with the iconic moment of baseball's two best players - Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout - facing off.
I hit "no", but with a caveat.
Best game ever? No. Too many to juxtapose against, including many deciding the fate of seven months of baseball.
Most impactful game ever? That is a better argument.
The debate regarding the merits of the World Baseball Classic aren't going anywhere. As long as there are injuries, notable players not participating, and the uneasiness of being classified as an exhibition there are going to be naysayers.
Put it this way: None of the players' participating will be able to add whatever happened in this tournament onto their resumes for the Hall of Fame.
But this game and this tournament shouldn't be lumped into the same bucket of baseball arguments we love to use for our lists. This was a unique moment of time during a unique moment of time. While we wait to see exactly what kind of impact these new rules have on the resuscitation of baseball, along came the jumper cable that were these images from Miami.
Major League Baseball could buy billboards, run commercials, mic players up, and smack us in the face with "2023 is going to be awesome" social media initiatives.
But if you are talking about the most perfectly-executed publicity campaign at the most perfect time - the punctuation of a one-run championship game with Trout facing Ohtani one week before baseball does its best to make it seem like this is where all the cool kids are at - nothing compares.
It was the perfect moment at the perfect time. Yes, even better than anything in October.
Think about it: When iconic Game 7 moments might happen in any World Series, there is an excitement and urge to declare the greatness of this game. But the problem is that other than a celebratory parade, we are left waiting five months before getting a chance to prove that there will be carry-over.
Like it or not, those instances are almost always usually immediately swallowed up by football.
This was different. This was perhaps the best hype video in the history of any professional sports season. And it was delivered for the sport that needed it the most.
What were left with after that final slider from Ohtani? The memories of baseball's best introduction ever and, more importantly, anticipation for what might be around the corner.
More people actually want more baseball. That's what this game did.