Friday, January 2, 2009

This is Not a Hockey Column

Yesterday, the NHL played it's second, soon-to-be-annual, Winter Classic, an outdoor hockey game, this year at Wrigley Field.

By most accounts, the game was a success--both in terms of logistics and the game itself, a 6-4 Detroit Red Wings victory.

According to an article, the NHL in the future will likely look to keep this game to baseball fields, since football fields can present scheduling difficulties with the lack of a sizable gap between the end of the football season and New Year's.

Now, I won't hide the fact that I am a hockey fan and I'd pay good money to go to an outdoor game, even though I can't imagine my Devils ever getting picked to play when the Rangers could play the Bruins or Islanders or the Flyers could play the Pens, but there would still be a novelty to it--something placed on the list of 'things to do before I die'.

That said, there is something awesome about playing hockey on a baseball field.

It's hard to get more Americana than watching Chicago and Detroit play each other at Wrigley; in a year in which both cities' baseball and football teams have sorely disappointed, their hockey renaissance in one and continued success in the other must be a welcome respite.

When you think about it, it's not hard to see other reasons, besides logistics, that would make baseball fields a better option for hockey than football fields.

Where would you, for example, get more of an old-timey feel, Fenway Park or Foxboro? Yankee Stadium or Giants Stadium? Okay, so in some cities, like Pittsburgh, the feeling might be more old-timey at the football venue, but baseball fields are, by design, usually smaller than football fields, and more personal.

There is something special about sitting in the first row and seeing your defensemen *ahem, John Madden/Colin White/Mike Rupp* ram the other guy *ahem, Scott Gomez* into the boards. How much fun can the game be if you're sitting in section 399, Row ZZ?

Winter is a long, dark season, especially in the north. When you can bring back baseball--even if it's just the host venue for another sport--even if only for a day, it does make winter feel that much shorter.

1 comment:

  1. I stumbled upon your blog after reading your little vignette on Peter Abrahams blog.

    I agree, I'd love to go and watch a hockey game out in the cold with some snow falling. It would conjure up some pick up games on the lake in central NJ.

    I also share your sentiment on a Ranger / Devil matchup that would never happen. Too bad you root for the wrong team! ;)