Why Baseball’s Trade Deadline Is Better than the NBA’s

For those that religiously follow other sports that are not America’s Pastime, the NBA just completed another edition of its trade deadline.

While there were a few deals that went down especially before yesterday’s 3 p.m. buzzer, it was another one of those events on the basketball calendar that I treated with a relative, “Meh.”

A big reason for that lies in the fact that the NBA’s trade deadline is nowhere near as active as Major League Baseball’s.

There are many things I love about MLB and there are many things about the league that sometimes make me want to rip my hair out (and this coming from someone who does not have much hair). But … the trade deadline is one of the things MLB does right.

Over the course of a 162-game season, and coming a few weeks after the All-Star break, MLB’s trade deadline is perfectly placed for intrigue to build as a season wears along. In baseball, a big Trade can mean the difference between your team being eliminated in the Division Series and your team reaching the World Series. Just ask the New York Mets last year when they pulled the trigger on the deal to land Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers.

The NBA’s deadline is nowhere near as active. I am not glued to NBA TV on trade deadline day the way I am glued to MLB Network on July 31. When it comes to MLB’s trade deadline, there can be a lot of talk of deals going down in the two weeks leading up to deadline day, then on July 31 so many deals will go down it feels like you are on a merry-go-round that is going too fast.

I like rides that go somewhat fast — that is what the baseball trade deadline is.

The big deals that happen in the NBA do not happen in the course of a season — they occur in the offseason during the free agent period.

But as mentioned above, baseball’s trade deadline outdoes basketball’s for another reason: its trades actually matter.

Usually by a given point in the NBA season we almost know which teams are going to be playing in the NBA Finals (given everyone stays healthy). Honestly, let’s just skip the rest of the basketball season, have the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs play a best-of-seven series, and the winner gets LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

With Major League Baseball, you cannot predict the World Series. This is especially true as we have not had back-to-back World Series champions since the New York Yankees of 1998-2000. Parity is at a high in MLB and by the time we reach July 31 on the calendar, typically 20-22 teams will still be in contention to make the playoffs (now especially true with each league having two Wild Card representatives).

Who at the start of last season (except people who live in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, western Missouri, and Kansas) had the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets facing off in the Fall Classic?


And would the Mets have even made the Fall Classic without the Cespedes deal (or without Daniel Murphy doing his best Ted Williams impression throughout last year’s NLCS vs. the Cubs)?

So, NBA — rumors of where Dwight Howard will be (or won’t be) traded are all okay. But I’ll take a 12-trade deadline day with three of them involving more than two teams, several superstars changing uniforms, cash considerations, minor league prospects and players to be named later.

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