Fall Pro Sports

Camden Berman, Staff Writer

The transition from September to October marks an exciting period in the world of pro sports. The starts of the basketball and hockey seasons are rapidly approaching, but the focus at this point in the fall is on Major League Baseball and the National Football League. With the MLB postseason well underway and an array of surprise teams dominating the scene in the NFL, we take a look at some of the intriguing storylines surrounding two of America’s most popular sports.

While the New York Yankees failed to reach the postseason for the third time in four years, the New York Mets managed to squeak through and earn a Wild Card berth in the MLB playoffs. Despite being shutout by Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants, who are always potent come October baseball, the achievement of making the playoffs, despite losing three of their best starting pitchers to injury over the course of the season, remains an impressive one for the Mets. Both the local teams fell short of winning a title, but an array of young talent leaves their futures looking promising.

Five teams remain alive in the MLB playoff race. The Chicago Cubs finished at an MLB best 103-58 and defeated San Francisco in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908, by far the longest period without a championship in the majors. If the Cubs have hope in ending that drought anytime soon, it would surely be this season as they await either the Washington Nationals or the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cleveland Indians will meet in the ALCS for the right to represent the American League in the World Series. Cleveland is considered a cursed city in the world of sports, but with the Cavaliers winning an NBA championship this past summer, Indians fans are certainly hoping for similar success with their baseball team.

The National Football League is already entering week six of the young season and things are looking bleak for the local teams. The New York Giants and New York Jets have struggled mightily to begin the year, sitting at 2-3 and 1-4, respectively. Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning has struggled behind a porous offensive line, and the Giants’ star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has faced heavy criticism for letting his emotions get the best of him. Big Blue certainly has the talent to turn things around, but whether they will be able to in a tough division remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the Jets may regret paying Ryan Fitzpatrick 12 million dollars this off-season to be their quarterback. Fitzpatrick has thrown a league leading 10 interceptions thus far, including six in one game. After failing to reach the playoffs despite a 10-6 record last season, Jets fans may soon be calling for Fitzpatrick to be benched in favor of one of their three backup quarterbacks.

Despite the Giants’ and Jets’ struggles, the NFL season has been very intriguing through five weeks. The Minnesota Vikings (5-0) and Atlanta Falcons (4-1) have shocked the masses and been two of the best teams in the league thus far. The Vikings are undefeated despite losing their starting quarterback and running back for the season, while the Falcons recently defeated the defending champion Denver Broncos. Equally as surprising are the disappointing seasons that the Carolina Panthers (1-4) and Arizona Cardinals (2-3) have put together thus far. The Panthers have gone from 15-1 and a berth in Super Bowl 50 to the bottom of their division, while Arizona has been mediocre despite lofty expectations. Much can and will change over the course of the NFL season, so strap in for what promises to be a thrilling ride toward postseason football.