Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.
In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.
Today’s Question: What sports will you be focusing on now that spring football is over?
Jami’s Take: Baseball Season
When people ask me what my favorite season is, I don’t give a standard answer. It’s not Autumn’s delights, or summer fun for me.
My favorite season is Baseball Season.
And so, with Spring Football having wrapped up, leaving us to dream of crisp Fall Saturday mornings, I have tunnel vision on baseball until further notice.
This includes collegiate and professional baseball — and softball too, because you know I love to support athletic ladies!
Baseball is, to me, the most romantic thing in the world. Perhaps it’s because I was lucky enough to grow up just two blocks behind the ivy-covered walls of Wrigley Field, a place that always makes me feel a bit like I’ve had to time-travel to come home. There’s magic in her walls. When Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home,” she meant Wrigley Field.
But personal biases aside, I’ve felt this in other baseball stadiums too — I’ve felt it watching the Buckeye baseball team. I’ve felt it watching my brother play Little League. And — speaking as a tried-and-true Cubs fan who saw a lot of rock-bottom days before we got to the good ones — baseball feels magical and romantic regardless of how your team is doing.
There’s a communal energy in baseball that is the byproduct of the tempo of the game. Ample downtime between innings leaves time to make memories with friends and family or to make friends with the people around you. During my time at Ohio State, classmates and I would road trip to Cleveland to take in a game for the now-Guardians, and more than once I walked out of the ballpark friends with the people around me, having bonded over the hot dog races (Team Mustard for life, because even in Cleveland I’m a Chicagoan who believes hot dogs should never have Ketchup).
While some people find baseball to be boring (games are too long and too low-scoring, season feels endless), that’s the beauty. Every game counts, AND one bad game won’t end your season. It feels like the antithesis of college football, where a single loss can crush a team’s dreams. Even the worst team will deliver a win every once in awhile. And for as much as I love the stakes of football, I appreciate the breathing room baseball brings me while I wait for football to ramp back up.
And also, if we’re being honest, for as romantic as baseball is, it’s also petty as heck. Football fans? We’ve got a little bit of a violent streak in us. We’ve all heard the stories of fans fighting in parking lots or of cars and dumpsters set ablaze after the OSU-Michigan game (I do not condone arson, I am just acknowledging that it has happened). Football is a physical sport, and I find that fans sometimes mirror that energy.
Baseball, on the other hand, is more underhanded. Fans still have rivalries (the last words on my death bed will be “Go Cubs, Beat the Dodgers”), but we have to be more calculating. Balls being thrown back on the field by toddlers after an away team home run. Petty overhead plane banners. Heckling other batters. I once watched a San Francisco Giants fan pop a Dodgers fan’s beach ball for no good reason other than “rivalry.” It’s not that there’s never a physical element to the game, but it’s not quite the same as tackling the ever-loving heck out of your opponent. You take the violent urges out on the ball itself, whacking it to kingdom come, not on the opposing players themselves.
Once again, good breathing room until football season.
So if you’re looking to turn your energy elsewhere in these long summer days, look no further than the baseball diamond — whether you’re rooting for Buckeye baseball, supporting a local minor league team, or cheering for your favorite MLB team, even the so-called dull moments are exciting if you’re paying attention.
Matt’s Take: The Basketball Tournament
Like Jami, I too love baseball season. I grew up with baseball as my primary sport, and I spent more than a decade coaching baseball and (primarily) softball at the club, high school, and college level. However, since my beloved Cincinnati Reds are one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball this season, my excitement has waned a bit. I used to say that as long as the Reds could stay in contention to get us to August when the Buckeyes started fall camp, I would be happy, and anything beyond that would be a bonus.
Well, that isn’t really in the cards this season. So, while I will be looking forward to the NCAA Softball Tournament starting next month, the Women’s College World Series wraps up in early June, so I need something that gets me a big closer to football fall camp.
So, I am opting for The Basketball Tournament. It’s been nearly four years since the Ohio State alumni team Carmen’s Crew cut down the TBT nets in 2019, and after sitting out last summer’s tournament, the boys are ready to come back in 2023.
This summer will be the 10th-anniversary tournament, and while details are still scarce, we know that Carmen’s Crew will be in the field.
Last summer’s TBT took place in July and August, so unless things change dramatically, I would guess it will happen around the same time. Honestly, given the Women’s World Cup starting in late July, I wouldn’t mind this happening from late June into mid-July, that way we can space out our pre-football sporting events.
But, if the year off has made you forget about all of the excitement that Carmen’s Crew has brought to the summer months, here are some of the names that have represented the (mostly) Ohio State alumni team in TBT over the years:
Lenzelle Smith Jr.
This is in addition to Evan Turner who has served as a coach and GM for the team as well.
And this isn’t including some of the impactful players from other schools who have Central Ohio connections granting them a right to be on the team. Players like:
and perhaps my favorite non-Buckeye Buckeye of all-time Jeff Gibbs.
These teams throughout the years have been insanely entertaining, even when the enjoyment came in part because of their messiness. But that 2019 run — which earned the team a collective $1 million — was special. William Buford was unstoppable, Aaron Craft was as annoying to opponents as ever, and each and every game was thrilling.
In case you were wondering, winning the 2019 MVP, winning the 2019 TBT Championship & knocking down the game winning FT, does in fact land you on the list— TBT (@thetournament) March 23, 2023
William Buford, without a doubt, belongs in this exclusive club! pic.twitter.com/TA0a787xeS
I’m not sure what this new generation of Carmen’s Crew is going to look like; whether some of these “old-time” Ohio State stars will be back, or if a new generation of former Buckeyes will don the scarlet and gray once again, but I am absolutely pumped to watch them again this summer, and I hope another deep run will speed up the agonizing wait for the start of college football season.
Who has the right answer to today’s question?
This poll is closed
Jami: Baseball Season
Matt: The Basketball Tournament