With the calendar turning to October, it means one thing – the best time of the year for a sports fan is here.
For the next few weeks, we will see the start of the season for some sports, the playoffs in others and the middle of others.
October brings the start of the MLB playoffs and this season’s playoffs started strong with the NL wild card game on Tuesday night in the win by the Colorado Rockies over the Chicago Cubs 2-1 in 13 innings. It was the longest winner-take-all game in MLB history. Both teams also entered the game the day after losing the division tiebreaker games. It was the first time in MLB history that there were two tiebreaker games in the same season. It was also the first time the losers of the tiebreakers still made the postseason.
It is too bad the Cubs lost because we had a chance to see a Cubs and Boston Red Sox matchup in the World Series. Speaking of the Red Sox, they’re making the postseason with 108 wins, the highest since the 2001 Seattle Mariners. The New York Yankees also are back in the playoffs as only the second wild card team to win at least 100 games, joining the 2001 Oakland Athletics. A rematch from last year’s series is also possible with both the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers back in the playoffs. With the Cubs out, give me a Red Sox and Atlanta Braves World Series. That would be fun.
The MLB isn’t the only sport in the middle of postseason play in October. NASCAR continues their postseason races to crown the Monster Energy Cup Series winner with Kyle Busch holding a slim lead. The MLS will have their playoffs starting toward the end of the month. Atlanta United FC looks like the team to beat despite it only being the second season in existence, but Sporting KC, FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls are playing strong too. Should be an exciting end to the year for soccer fans.
Baseball, soccer and auto racing may be wrapping up, but October also means the start of hockey and basketball.
The NHL kicked off the start of the regular season on Wednesday as the Washington Capitals look to defend their Stanley Cup title and the Vegas Golden Knights look to prove their first season success was no fluke. I want to see the Detroit Red Wings rebound and return to the playoffs after a two-year absence. Last year was only the fourth time the team missed the playoffs since the 1983-84 season, but this is still a young team that will struggle. I wouldn’t count on them making it this year. The team I am most interested to watch this season is the Winnipeg Jets. This team looks ready to claim their first division title and finally make a run.
The NBA also begins later this month and the biggest storylines are out in California. Will the Golden State Warriors continue their dominance (yes) and how will LeBron’s first year with the Los Angles Lakers go. For the first time since 2010, James will probably miss the NBA Finals because Golden State arguably got better with DeMarcus Cousins joining on a one-year deal to try and win a championship. The Lakers will be a lot of fun, but the Warriors and Houston Rockets are just too strong. The Eastern Conference coaches all take a sigh of relief as their path to the Finals got a lot easier. A healthy Boston Celtics team should be the favorite, but the Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors are still strong too, and the Raptors adding Kawhi Leonard is huge. Golden State will win it all, but hopefully, someone can make it interesting at least and make the Warriors compete for it.
On top of all of the sports starting and ending, we also have football to watch. The NFL is off to an offensive explosion. Through the first four weeks of the season, new records have been set in points scored, touchdowns and touchdown passes. With teams like the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs looking nearly unstoppable on offense, this should be a crazy year. Those are the two best teams in the NFL right now with the Jacksonville Jaguars right behind. After that, it is such a logjam that the Carolina Panthers are probably the fourth best team thanks to Cam Newton’s stellar play.
Then in college football, we have the Alabama Crimson Tide continuing their dominating run. It isn’t even close who is the best team in college football. It is them by a long shot and Tuanigamanuolepola “Tua” Tagovailoa is going to win the Heisman. At least we will see some great games over the next few weeks with Texas and Oklahoma this weekend, Georgia-LSU, Washington-Oregon, Michigan State-Penn State and more.
Plus throw in the wrapping up of high school fall sports and a fan can experience three levels of excitement.
October and early November is a great time because we get spoiled with all of these sporting events all around the same time.
Luke Peterson is the sports editor of the Leavenworth Times. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org