Here are a few things sports fans have learned in the last couple of weeks:
— Winning 107 games during a 162-game season gets you nothing but expanded heartbreak when your team is eliminated in the first round of playoffs. Sorry, Giants.
— Emails filled with hate, racism, misogyny, homophobic references and things for which your mother would have washed your mouth out with soap, even 10 years later, can come back to haunt you. Maybe you deserve time on the unemployment line, Jon Gruden.
— Even if you believe not getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is your personal right, NBA execs have the final say if you’re a professional basketball player and you’re willing to forego millions of dollars to make your point. You da man, Kyrie Irving.
— Generating what might be a faux ‘rivalry’ can turn into millions of dollars for the combatants, because sports fans generally love vitriol and possible combustion, perhaps even constant catfighting. Good thing the biggest bucks are for charity, Brooks and Bryson.
— Fighting in professional hockey is nothing like fighting in pro wrestling. The on-ice battles, however stupid they may be, are real. Right, Zack Kassian?
— Blue Jays’ boss Ross Atkins is on the hot seat as he tries to figure out how to manage the team budget so that two free agents, pitcher Robbie Ray and second baseman Marcus Semien, can both be resigned for 2022. Sorry, Robbie, it was nice having you in Canada for one season.
— Even at age 44, a guy can still play quarterback in the NFL at the highest level. You’re amazing, Tom Brady.
— Even without a reliable placekicker, a team in the Canadian Football League can win games week after week. Another Grey Cup on the horizon, Bombers?
— Mental health is nothing to scoff at, and it’s especially problematic when you’re constantly in the spotlight because you’re a professional athlete. Isn’t that right, Carey Price, Naomi Osaka, Simone Biles and countless others?
• Music publisher Sam Harrop of England: “The news that Adele has new music coming out next week is roughly equivalent to Anthony Kim announcing he’s teeing it up (on the PGA Tour) next week.”
• Patti Dawn Swansson, on Twitter: “This is National Coming Out Day in various countries. I wish someone with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers would come out as a place-kicker.”
• NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, on ESPN-TV coverage: “With my tongue in my cheek, I’ve said a number of times that if ESPN is half as good at promoting us as they were at freezing us out when they didn’t have our rights, this is going to be great.”
• Comedy writer Jerry Perisho, on Twitter, on the controversial check-swing strikeout that ended the Dodgers-Giants series: “It was a horrible call. On the other hand, after that short nap the umpire was certainly feeling refreshed.”
• Columnist Norman Chad, on Twitter: “Week 6 NFL pick: Packers (-5) at Bears. Mason Crosby was gifted four game-winning field goal attempts last week – if I had been given that many chances, I’d still be married to my first wife.”
• Chad again: “Week 6 NFL pick: Jaguars (+3.5) vs. Dolphins, in London. More than 245 years after the revolution, we are still punishing the Brits by sending them bad NFL games.”
• Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg: “The NFL is still in shock over the resignation of Jon Gruden due to his offensive emails. Some NFL players were so shocked they did not abuse drugs, steroids, cause any domestic violence or drive drunk.”
• Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, on his dislike of bye weeks in the NFL. “The worst idea since sliced bread, sliced the long way.”
• RJ Currie of sportsdeke.com: “Canada’s most decorated Olympian, swimmer Penny Oleksiak, is sister to ex-NCAA rower, Hayley, and Kraken blueliner Jamie. No wonder she’s so athletic in the water, swimming in that gene pool.”
• Headline at theonion.com: “Urban Meyer Still Adjusting To Speed Of NFL Cover-Ups”
• fark.com headline: “Australian cricket player suffers 10the concussion, says he’s ready to try out for the NHL.”
• Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was on “voice rest” following a throat injury against the Packers but isn’t expected to miss any playing time. ‘Can we get one of those for Dick Vitale?’ piped up more than one basketball fan.”
• Charles Barkley, on TNT, on Wayne Gretzky not known for his defence: “He’s the Charles Barkley of hockey.”
• Tim Hunter of Everett’s KRKO Radio, on the Mariners buying Pyramid Brewery across the street from their ballpark: “If you’re a longtime Mariners fan, you’ll understand why.”
• Steve Simmons of Sun Media, on rapper Drake, unofficial hanger-on with Toronto Raptors, on now clinging closely to Canada’s national soccer team after its recent success: “Drake has become the Forrest Gump of sports: When anything important is happening, he is there, ready to switch his allegiance and ballcap at a moment’s notice.”
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by Bruce Penton