You all know my theory: There are two sports -- only two -- that command ongoing "appointment" attention throughout their seasons: The NFL and college football. And that's because they have such a limited -- and regimented -- season.
Every other sport battles for relevance on any given day. Some sports have built-in "events" that generate mass enthusiasm: The three-week NCAA Tournament; the MLB All-Star Game and playoffs; the NBA All-Star Weekend and NBA Draft. Obviously, the NBA Playoffs prove you can sometimes catch lightning in a bottle. And scandal tends to trump all.
Among other sports, it is a battle to capture -- at best -- a handful of days in a sports fan's year: The NHL's Outdoor Game, the four Sundays of golf majors, the four finals of the tennis Slam events, the Daytona 500 or Indy 500, the NCAA Frozen Four or lacrosse Final Four.
But sometimes these moment happen organically, and it is as much of a litmus test for the NHL's presumptive resurgence as anything else when the Caps and Pens play Game 7 tonight. How many NHL fans will watch? How many casual fans will tune in? If you're not watching tonight, as a casual fan (and I qualify myself as APALLINGLY casual), when WILL you watch?
Leading with hockey (as I did today) is normally trouble for a sports column trying to find traction with mainstream fans, but -- again -- a handful of days out of the year, the non-"Big" sports can own the sports-news cycle and merit being the lead story. Will the fans follow?
More in today's column:
*Big Baby: Biggest breakout of the NBA playoffs.
*Lakers rout: So much for Rockets' amazingness.
*OJ Mayo: Tim Floyd is so so so screwed.
*Jays: Yes, they are for real.
Complete column here. More later.