The best of the best: Sports edition

The Red Sox vs. Yankees rivalry began in the 1900s and continues today in the MLB. Photo courtesy of 

What is the best rivalry in sports? 

Alison Miccolis, managing editor 

Red Sox vs. Yankees — “It’s the Curse of the Bambino.” January 1920 — the Boston Red Sox sold their star pitcher-turned-slugger Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. This trade was the catalyst for a now century-long rivalry that transcends baseball. While Ruth was playing for the Red Sox, they won three World Series titles in five years. After he left, it took 86 years for Boston to win the title — hence, the Curse of the Bambino. Fans tried desperately to break their losing streak going so far as to spray-paint “Reverse the Curse” on street signs and perform an exorcism outside Fenway Park. Yankees fans, however, look back fondly on this time. They went on to win 26 championships between 1920 and 2004. This fostered a deep-seated resentment, and oftentimes hatred, between the fans and players of these two teams. In 1967, the “Brawl in the Bronx” left Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee with torn ligaments in his shoulder after Lou Piniella of the Yankees slid into Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk — sparking a physical fight between players on both sides. This has been a recurring theme when the two teams play each other. Remember Jason Varitek’s mitt in Alex Rodriguez’s face? 

Flash forward to 2004: the curse is broken. The Red Sox trailed the Yankees three games to none in the American League Championship. Despite their rocky history, Boston never gave up. They went on to win the next four games and the championship, becoming the first team to win after being down three games to none. This led them to the World Series where they swept the St. Louis Cardinals in four games. The Curse of the Bambino was broken, but the rivalry lives on, and people pay attention. On Oct. 5, 2021, the Red Sox’s 6-2 win over the Yankees was the highest-rated Major League Baseball game on an ESPN platform since 1998, with an average of 7.7 million viewers. Whether you travel to the Bronx, Boston or watch the game on TV, you get to become part of the rich and complicated history made every time the Red Sox and Yankees are together on the diamond. 

Sarah Hohman, sports co-editor

Ohio State vs. Michigan — “The game.” Ohio State vs. Michigan. Losing an Ohio State-Michigan football game despite a winning record could be detrimental to a coach’s career. That’s how intense this rivalry is. Most people don’t know that the rivalry was initially fueled in the 1800s by both Michigan and Ohio’s claim of the Toledo Strip along the states’ borders. Dating back to 1897 when the first game was played, hostility has existed between these two universities. Tensions rising, tempers flaring and brawls starting are typical themes of each game. Every year it feels as if the game has playoff standards and will make or break their seasons. The “Ten Year War” was a significant period in the rivalry that brought more national attention to these two teams. It was a decade of intense competition from 1969-78 where the teams were ranked in the top 10 in seven of those games. Viewership is the big factor that places Ohio State vs. Michigan above any other rivalry. The 2022 matchup drew in 17 million views, making it the most-watched regular-season college football game in Fox Sports history. Audiences around the country feel and respect the high intensity of this college rivalry. These schools win, the main reason why the rest of the country cares to watch and why this rivalry will continue to exist.

Staff vote: Ohio State — 6/11 (54.5%)


Who is the GOAT of all sports?

Caleb Denorme, sports reporter

Lionel Messi — America-centric sports debaters seem to forget about the 5’7″ Argentinian magician when it comes to this debate, but in reality, he should be front and center. He made his professional debut when he was 17 and has been absolutely breathtaking ever since. In 1,033 games he’s scored 705 goals and assisted 333. That means he has averaged around one goal contribution per game that he has featured in. Statistically, he is one of the greatest individuals to ever play a sport, but he also has achieved everything he could with his squads. He’s won 42 trophies with Barcelona, PSG and Argentina, and the only competition he has not won is the Coupe de France. Individually, he’s won a record seven Ballon D’Or’s, awarded to the best soccer player based on their performance in the past year. Other than that, he has conquered his sport completely. On his path of conquest over the past two decades, he’s produced numerous moments to hang his GOAT hat on. Scoring a record 91 goals in the 2012 calendar year, winning the Copa America and the World Cup with Argentina and orchestrating one of the greatest comebacks in Champions League history with a 6-1 (6-5 on aggregate) win over PSG in 2017 to name a few. Nothing is more delightful than watching Messi dance through defenses and score odds-defying goals. He has the stats, he has the trophies and he has the moments to back up why he is the standard that GOATs should be held to. He simply is the pinnacle of sport. 

Kobe Mosley, managing editor

Muhammad Ali — When thinking of who is the greatest of all sports, my mind went immediately to “The Greatest.” Not many people can give themselves a nickname that bold and make people catch on the way that Muhammad Ali did. In a time when boxing was arguably America’s favorite sport, Ali was the star of the show. His 56-5 record and 60% knockout rate are amazing, standing tall next to Mayweather’s 50-0 and Tyson’s 50-6. Several of his fights are considered some of the most iconic sports moments ever — Ali vs. Liston, the “Thrilla in Manila” and “Rumble in the Jungle” to name a few. What made Ali so great in the ring was his unorthodox fighting style, what he called the “rope-a-dope,” giving up his body to wear down his opponent tired before showing off his own strength and speed. Ali was the first man to win the heavyweight title three times and, fun fact, has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated 38 times, second to only Michael Jordan.

The greatest thing about Ali though didn’t have to do with how he fought in the ring, but rather what he fought for outside of it. Ali was a pioneer in the civil rights movement, sacrificing prime years of his career, a heavyweight title and his own freedom to fight against racial inequality and injustice in America. He paved the way for athletes to be courageous enough to use their platforms for issues that extended far beyond the realm of sports. To go along with his character, he had one of the most charming and lively personalities that we’ve ever seen from an athlete. There will never be another Ali, but thanks to him, there will be many more great athletes that follow in his footsteps. If that isn’t the definition of a GOAT, I don’t know what is.

Staff vote: Muhammad Ali — 7/11 (63.6%)


What is the best sports moment of the 21st century?

Maeve Van Etten, multimedia co-editor

Michael Jordan’s game-winner in 1998 NBA Finals — When someone asks you who the greatest athlete of all time is, Michael Jordan should be considered. So, the greatest sports moment should be his game-winning shot against the Utah Jazz in Game Six in the 1998 NBA Finals. The buildup to this season, this game, and this shot alone are enough to fuel this as the best sports moment of the 21st century. Chicago was trailing by 3 when Jordan tied it up then stole the ball from Karl Malone which set him up for what he does best – the game-winning shot. Not sure if there is a stat out there about how many game-winning shots Jordan had, but this definitely wasn’t his first one. And just like that, the Bulls completed their second three-peat.

The reason I think this is the greatest sports moment is because of the finality of it. Everyone knew it was Phil Jackson’s last season as head coach, and because of that, there was so much uncertainty about which players were going to return. “The Last Dance” dominated the sports world to the point that there is a whole documentary about it — just another reason why it should be considered the greatest moment. This was Jordan’s last shot taken as a Chicago Bull, and I think it deserves to go down in history as the greatest sports moment of the 21st century. 

Jake Kaufman, sports reporter 

2016 World Series Game 7 — There have been a ton of amazing sports moments in the 21st century, across multiple different sports, but for me, Game 7 of the 2016 World Series takes the cake. The Chicago Cubs ending a 106-year-long championship series drought, which at the time was the longest of any team in professional sports in the way that they did it coming back from down 3-1 against the Cleveland Indians — now the Guardians — was just incredible. Then there were the twists and turns of game 7. The Cubs were up 6-3 heading to the bottom of the eighth inning and looked like they were en route to a reasonably stress-free win until the unthinkable happened. Cleveland center fielder Rajai Davis, who hit only 62 career regular season home runs in 14 major league seasons, somehow found a way to take Cubs ace closer Aroldis Chapman deep for a two-run home run to tie the game 6-6. Add in the famous rain-delay speech from Jayson Heyward, the unlikely rally in the 10th inning, and the fact that the Cubs’ World Series parade was the seventh-largest gathering in recorded human history and you get a story that really is primed for Disney.

Staff vote: 2016 World Series Game 7 — 8/11 (72.7%)


Which sports team has the best fanbase?

Matthew Crane, sports co-editor

Manchester United — This pick feels like a lose-lose situation because everyone feels like their team has the best fanbase. Regardless, a pick must be made, and Manchester United wins this one. While other leagues might have some strong fanbases, professional soccer seems to be ignored in the United States by fans of other sports. Soccer is a worldwide sport, and it must be recognized as such. Manchester United has to win this category. In May of 2021, fans of the team broke into Old Trafford and protested on the pitch against the Glazer family remaining the owner of the club due to the announcement of the team joining the European Super League. What other fanbase is breaking into their stadium and also coming up with a song to protest their owners with?  Over the years there have been estimates that the club has anywhere from 333 million fans to 1 billion fans. While the true number of the team’s fans has probably been overestimated by the club, it does not deny the fact that this fanbase is wild for their team. The Premier League club with the largest fanbase and one of the largest fanbases around the world takes the top spot.

Ethan Polak, multimedia co-editor

Dallas Cowboys “How ‘Bout Them Cowboys?” Whether you love them or you hate them, the Dallas Cowboys AKA “America’s Team” are the kings of sports in America. Year after year, the Cowboys sell out their home games with their average attendance rate reaching over 93,000 fans in 2022. The next closest professional sports team around the world had just under 20,000 fewer fans per game. With so many fans attending their games each season, you would assume that it was because their team was successful. However, the Cowboys haven’t made it past the second round of the playoffs since 1996, yet their pride in attending games inside “Jerry’s World” is like no other. Where else would you see fans sprinting into the stadium like their lives depended on it just to earn a spot in the standing room only? Some may argue that sports like soccer are more popular because they bring in more views, but their pride doesn’t rank as high as people who attend the events in person. In 2022, the NFL had the highest average attendance out of any sport in the world at over 68,000 fans with the next closest league being the Bundesliga at 43,500 fans. With so many people willing to dedicate time out of their day to not just watch, but to attend games, it is impossible to deny that the Cowboys have the most prideful sports fanbase in the world. 

Staff vote: Manchester United — 8/11 (72.7%)


What is the best sports movie ever?

Jia Skrudland, sports reporter

The Blind Side — “42.” “A League of Their Own.” “Hoosiers.” “The Rookie.” “McFarland, USA.” “Ford v Ferrari.” “Bend it Like Beckham.” While all of these sports movies are incredible and display the greatness of sports, none of them compare to the ultimate representation of sports which is “The Blind Side.” What makes this movie so special and stand out is the pure, inspiring and heartfelt message of the movie. In case you have never happened to see “The Blind Side,” which would be blasphemous if you are a sports fan, the autobiographical movie centers around Michael Oher’s tough upbringing and how his adoptive parents, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, helped him achieve any young football player’s ultimate goal of making it big in the NFL. Despite critics of the film, film experts thought it was worthy enough of a production to be nominated for an Academy Award. While it did not win a National award, it took home the award for the Best Sports Movie category at the 2010 ESPY awards. There is nothing better in sports than creating a film that humanizes athletes more, showcasing the pureness and rawness of athletes. And who does not love Sandra Bullock’s acting? 

McKenna Skatell, sports reporter

King Richard — Unlike many other sports films, “King Richard” puts the focus on women in sports. Based on the true story of the Williams sisters, King Richard tells the story of how Serena and Venus got their start in tennis. This film released in 2021 puts the focus on their father, Richard Williams played by Will Smith. From the beginning of their career, the Williams sisters had to defy all odds to get to where they are today as two of the best women in tennis. Their father’s dedication and belief in his daughters is felt throughout the movie, as he continues to push for them to receive equal opportunities as African American girls. Over their careers, Venus has won 49 singles titles while Serena has won 73 singles titles. On top of that, both women at one point throughout their careers were ranked No. 1. This movie was nominated for multiple awards, as well. As a result, Will Smith won the Oscar for Best Leading Actor. This film showcases Serena and Venus before their big break, something many people can find relatable. 

Staff vote: “The Blind Side” — 8/11 (72.7%)


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