As the Calendar Turns: Ranking the Sports Months – Part 1

Posted: July 8, 2007 in Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, College Basketball, College Football, Golf, Major League Baseball, NBA Basketball, NFL Football, Sports

After the White Sox got pummeled by the Twins for a total of 32 runs over the course of a doubleheader this past Friday (for those of you breathlessly waiting for a diatribe on the state of baseball on the South Side, it will come soon enough), I came to the somber realization that this is a pretty terrible time of year as a sports fan if your baseball team’s play is in that purgatory between the major league level and AAA ball (as the Sox are demonstrating right now). While it isn’t a complete disaster in the City of Chicago overall since the Cubs are in some type of bastardized version of a pennant race with the Brewers right now where 82 wins for the season will likely yield the playoff spot out of the NL Central, as far as the male side of the Frank the Tank household is concerned (the female side was raised far north of Madison Street, so she doesn’t share my current plight), the real baseball season is over until playoff time (although fantasy baseball is still fortunately kicking for me).

It’s been awhile since I’ve felt so down on baseball so early in the year since the White Sox have at least been somewhat in the playoff hunt or at least not completely out of it during the summer on a consistent basis since 1990. The problem is that there’s nothing else out there right now to fill sports void for me right now – it’s still a few weeks from the start of NFL training camp, the NBA draft is already over, and the start of the NFL and college football seasons are two months away. I don’t even have the Mark Buehrle trade watch to think about anymore since the Sox (wisely) just signed a contract extension with the lefty. Simply put, July is a pretty bad sports month if your baseball team is out of it. This got me to thinking about which months of the year are best for sports fans and concurrently which are the worst, which is perfect timing since I haven’t put up a mindless and gimmicky sports ranking in a long time.

My ranking of sports months is based upon what I watch on a regular basis, which are Major League Baseball, NFL Football, NBA Basketball, College Football, College Basketball, the major golf tournaments and the occasional Grand Slam tennis match. Thus, you won’t see any references to hockey and NASCAR, even though they might well be worth watching live and in-person. I’m also only taking into account annual events, so I won’t refer to a number of items that I enjoy such as the Olympics, World Cup soccer or the Ryder Cup since they don’t occur every year. Finally, I’m approaching this from the perspective of how much I’d be excited to watch these events regardless of whether my favorite teams or players are involved or playing well. With all of that in mind, here is Part 1 of my ranking of the months of the sports year from worst to first:

(12) JULY

Team Sports in Season: Major League Baseball

Major Events: MLB All-Star Game, Wimbledon finals, British Open, start of NFL training camp, MLB trade deadline

Comments: I remember not too long ago when the MLB All-Star Game and the festivities surrounding it such as the Home Run Derby was the sporting event that I anticipated the most during the summer. With the combination of the steroid scandal plus the abomination of Chris Berman at the announcers’ mike, though, the Home Run Derby has become a complete farce. The baseball All-Star Game itself is still the best of any of the pro sports leagues, but with the advent of interleague play, there is no longer the mystery of what would happen in certain AL-vs.-NL matchups. July is certainly a fantastic time of year if you’re British with Wimbledon and the Open Championship, and while I enjoy taking in those events, this is a pretty bad month on the team sports front if you’re baseball team is out of the pennant race.

(11) AUGUST

Team Sports in Season: Major League Baseball, NFL Football (preseason)

Major Events: PGA Championship, start of U.S. Open (tennis), start of NFL preseason

Comments: Pretty much the only thing that makes August slightly better than July from a sports perspective is that the NFL preseason has started which means we can be preoccupied with whether Rex Grossman should be back starting at quarterback for the Bears. I’ve been on record before as stating that watching NFL preseason games is awful (even though I invariably end up viewing a ton of them to fill the time), but what’s important about August as a sports fan is that September, one of the best sports months of the year, is just around the corner.

(10) MAY

Team Sports in Season: Major League Baseball, NBA Basketball (postseason)

Major Events: NBA Playoffs, NBA Draft Lottery, first series for main baseball interleague rivalries, French Open

Comments: NBA Playoffs are in full swing at this time of the year while it’s still early enough in the baseball season that there’s still hope for your team even if it’s off to a bad start. Plus, for those towns with major interleague baseball rivalries such as Chicago, the first of those series is almost always near the end of May.

(9) FEBRUARY

Team Sports in Season: NBA Basketball, College Basketball, NFL Football (postseason)

Major Events: Super Bowl, NBA All-Star Game

Comments: It’s weird to consider the Super Bowl as a February event, but it looks as if though that’s going to be the norm for the foreseeable future. So, with that being the biggest single event on the sports calendar, February is the beneficiary of the NFL’s insistence of putting two weeks of hype after the conference championship games. These are the dog days of the NBA and College Basketball schedules, although the end of the month perks up again as it becomes crunch time for college teams on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. Historically, February has gotten a bad rap from sports fans since it’s sandwiched between the NFL playoffs and the NCAA Tournament, which are arguably the two best sports events of the year, but when compared to July and August, there’s still a good amount going on from a sports perspective.

(8) JUNE

Team Sports in Season: Major League Baseball, NBA Basketball (postseason)

Major Events: NBA Finals, NBA Draft, U.S. Open (golf), second series for main baseball interleague rivalries

Comments: The NBA crowns its champion and then gets into tis future a couple of weeks later with its annual draft. We start getting a real sense as to who will be the contenders and pretenders in the baseball world, while the U.S. Open humbles the world’s best golfers. This is the best sports month of the summer.

(7) DECEMBER

Team Sports in Season: NFL Football, NBA Basketball, College Football (postseason), College Basketball

Major Events: NFL playoff races, college football conference championship games and lower tier bowls, ACC-Big Ten Challenge (college basketball)

Comments: Much in the way August sets the table for the buffet of September events, December is the precursor to the spectacular array of events to come in January. The difference is that there’s a lot more importance and excitement in terms of what happens in December (i.e. divisional races in the NFL and conference championships in college football) than the NFL preseason and dog day baseball games in August. Plus, basketball on both the pro and college sides are getting into full swing.

I’ll have another post up with the rest of the rankings in the near future.

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Comments
  1. Sportsattitude says:

    I live in Philadelphia and was watching the first game of the White Sox’s hideous Friday doubleheader with the Twins on MLB’s Extra Innings. It actually made one feel good about being a Phillies fan. Sounded like the Sox broadcast team was ready and willing to drink some Jonestown kool-aid and end it all right there, or at least jump out of the booth to get sweet relief from having to watch and report on it.

    Like

  2. Hawk Harrelson drinking Jonestown kool-aid? It would be a dream come true.

    Like

  3. Sportsattitude says:

    I loved Hawk when he played. Had the fur coats and the bling. Way ahead of his time. However, I do think his announcing career could be shortened without incident.

    Like

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