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Commentary: The sports world is upside down

by on January 26, 2014 1:59 AM

The world is upside down.

While we try to prevent our eyelids from freezing shut, out in Los Angeles, the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings play a hockey game in Dodger Stadium. The game-time temperature was expected to be between 60 and 70 degrees.

The NFL is hoping that long-range forecasts of Super Bowl game-time temperatures in the mid-20s are accurate, and they’re hoping that those models showing the possibility of a major snowstorm next weekend never materialize. 

People who paid $5,000 for two tickets will be sitting in frigid temperatures, assuming that they aren’t prevented from going by the league changing the day of the game to accommodate the weather.

The Pirates’ home opener is scheduled for March 31.

I did some research and you’ll have to trust me on this, but on the typical March 31 in Pittsburgh, you can expect temperatures in the high 40s to low 50s and a 60 percent chance of precipitation. I’d put your chances of being miserable at about 75 percent.

And, of course, the NHL will determine its champion in mid-to-late June. Indoors. On ice. 

This only happens when fans have been dumbed down to the point that they accept this stupidity and when the leagues scheduling the games have monopolies. 

I’m a free-market guy, and I understand that nobody is forced to buy a ticket to a game, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s unfair for the NFL to give fans the choice of not going to see the team that they have invested so much time, emotion and energy into or paying $2,500 to sit in freezing drizzle. 

I’m still holding out hope for The Blizzard of 2014.

• The Dodgers’ $8 billion TV contract kicks in on the Feb. 25.

If the Pirates are getting $20 million per year on their TV deal, it will take them 40 years to reach $8 billion. 

• The Yankees have spent well over $450 million on free agents this year.

• Seattle Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman said that white people who referred to him as a thug after his postgame, nationally televised rant following the NFC championship game were actually using that word as a substitute for the N-word — the implication being that they are racists.

The media, not surprisingly, weren’t too quick to challenge him.

One columnist who did was Jason Whitlock of ESPN, who is African-American. He said it was “completely dishonest” and offensive to read race into the controversy.

Whitlock said people might view Sherman as a thug because he looked “predatory” and went on to say, “I’m not going to let someone paint all of these people that use a derogatory word as somehow they’re flaming racists.”

There was a pretty strong consensus that Sherman acted like a jerk when he trashed his opponent after beating him.

• Plaxico Burress did two years of hard time for accidentally shooting himself with an illegal gun in a crowded New York City nightclub.

On Friday, former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent got 180 days for causing the death of his friend and teammate Jerry Brown in December 2012, when he crashed his Mercedes on a suburban Dallas highway.

Brent’s lawyer tried to convince the judge that the cops’ blood tests showing twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system were flawed.

They also hoped to benefit from a trial a few weeks earlier in which a Texas judge let a 17-year-old drunk driver who killed four people off without prison time. His defense had been that he was coddled by his parents into a sense of irresponsibility.

Brent served 30 days in an Illinois prison for DUI back in 2009.

And he gets off with 10 years’ probation and 180 days in jail? 

Did I mention that the world is upside down?

• Words can’t describe how glad I am to not be going to Sochi for the Winter Olympics.

• After the Yankees signed Japanese superstar free agent pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year, $155 million contract, major league baseball apologist and Fox Sports contributor Ken Rosenthal wrote that baseball’s natural order had been restored. “The Yankees need to be the Yankees — for their own sake, the sake of their fans and for Yankees haters everywhere. This is not a team that should be getting outbid by the Pirates for catcher Russell Martin, as it was last season.”

It’s guys like Rosenthal, apologizing for the Idiots Who Run Baseball instead of ridiculing them, who enable major league baseball to exist despite going against every normal person’s understanding of what a league is supposed to be.

Here’s hoping Tanaka goes 34-0 with a 0.98 ERA and the Yankees finish 162-0.



John Steigerwald's blog can be found at www.justwatchthegame.com, and he is the author of "Just Watch The Game." His column appears each Saturday.
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