The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

So, I was watching the MSG Network earlier, and I caught the tail-end of a segment called "What If". Basically, each of the resident pundits (made up of NYC-area sports reporters, apparently) presented their top three premises on how certain key events in sports history would have gone differently, and what that would have meant longer-term. For instance: One guy asked, "What if Harry Frazee didn't need the money?", meaning the owner of the Boston Red Sox back in the early part of the 20th century would not have sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees for money he'd use to open a Broadway play. No curse of the Bambino. Get it?

They asked for submissions from viewers, via this here page. Since I'm a HUGE fan of alternate reality scenarios (mainly non-sports, but I'll play along), I jumped at the chance. I submitted the first ones that came to mind. Here they are, for your edification:

What if:

... Bobby Hull hadn't joined the WHA? The rival hockey league might never have gotten off the ground, players' conditions would still be miserable, players like Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky would have been drafted instead of getting their starts in the WHA as undrafted pros.

... Curt Flood didn't challenge MLB's reserve clause? His challenge was the beginning of the end of business-as-usual for owners in all the major sports.

... Mark Messier didn't guarantee, and deliver, his famous Game 6 win in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals? The Rangers 1940 Cup drought might still be going strong, and we would be looking at a confirmed, instead of a questioned, Devils dynasty.

Pretty creative, if I do say so myself.

And if you think I'm posting this at 1AM in the morning in order to guarantee a confirmed post for Saturday, you are correct.