In the time leading up to Monday’s total eclipse of the sun observable here in North America, there were seers and doomsayers asserting that this was the beginning of the end. The apocalypse was right around the corner and it was the eclipse that was going to signal its beginning; the eclipse was an evil omen.
Well, it would appear as if the Earth is going to continue its routine journey around the sun notwithstanding the fact that the moon “got in the way” for a few hours for a small fraction of the planetary surface. Since no one would think of coming here to get information about the end of times or about human history being erased, I guess the only thing to do now is to proclaim that we can – and should – look forward to things in the sports cosmos that will happen because the Earth continues to exist. For example:
- College football begins in a couple of weeks.
- The NFL’s real season begins right after Labor Day.
- The NBA regular season will begin in about 8 weeks even though most folks know already that the NBA regular season is nothing more than six months of tedium.
Before any of those things come to fruition, we will have to endure the happening and the aftermath of the Mayweather/McGregor money-grab – err, fight. The hype and promotion for this thing has been about the same as the build-up to a “championship clash” in pro ‘rassling. The only thing that seems to be missing is the stipulation that the loser of this fight will permanently retire from any of the combat sports. Let me insert here some commentary from two sportswriters regarding this spectacle:
“Mayweather-McGregor: Ready, set, hype!: Only five more days until unbeaten boxer Floyd Mayweather and UFC star Conor McGregor will be in a Vegas ring this coming Saturday. Mayweather is heavily favored, but, with both men so unlikeable and such idiots in the buildup, can we please fix this thing so they simultaneously knock each other out?” [Greg Cote, Miami Herald]
“Anything goes: If the participants and promoters have gone this far to create the vulgar cash-grab and all-around circus that is the Aug. 26 fight between Floyd Mayweather and Condor McGregor, who’s to say it won’t be fixed in some form or fashion? Rigging the fight wouldn’t violate principles of sports integrity. This one has none going in.” [Bob Molinaro, Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot]
Please note that both of these sportswriters used the word “fix” in their commentary and – quite frankly – I am not offended by that at all. There is so much potential money to be made here that it would not surprise me to have this event end in such a way that people clamor for more to “set the record straight”. Moreover, I will not be shocked to see this fight end in such a way that someone books another boxer against another MMA fighter somewhere down the line. I will read about this fight; I might – I said MIGHT – watch some part of it on YouTube after the fact. There is just about nothing on the planet that would get me to watch the fight live – and in living color.
Since I am positively looking beyond this concocted confrontation, what might I hope to witness in the upcoming months in the world of sports? Well …
- Can the LA Dodgers win 117 games this year to break the MLB record for wins in a season? With 39 games to play, the Dodgers need to win 29 of them to get to 117 wins. That would mean playing close to .750 baseball down the stretch and that is unlikely.
- Can the Dodgers win a World Series for the first time since 1988? They are well-positioned to do so.
- Can the Cleveland Indians win a World Series for the first time since 1948 – and only the third World Series championship in franchise history? The Indians came close last year taking the Cubs to the seventh game of the Series; can 2017 be THE year?
- Will the 2017 season see another NFL team (the Jets) go winless for the season? This will not come easily for the Jets despite their scorched Earth roster moves of the offseason. They have two games against the Bills, one against the Jags, one against the Browns and one against the Rams. Those represent 5 “winnable” games; it will be difficult for them to lose them all.
In yesterday’s rant, I said that I would only put the Olympic Games in countries with solid and resilient economies. A reader chastised me in an e-mail saying that South Africa put on a perfectly acceptable World Cup tournament in 2010 and that the World Cup is comparably complicated to the Olympics. I have 3 things to say about that:
- The World Cup is not nearly as complex. A country only needs one sort of facility for the whole thing; that is not nearly true for the Olympics. The athletes are professionals and need not be housed in a concocted space like an “Olympic Village”.
- The World Cup athletes and teams come from only 32 countries – – to expand to 48 sometime soon – – and not from more than 100 countries.
- If you would like to see a Summer Olympics in South Africa, please consider that the powers-that-be there could not find ways to control vuvuzelas in the World Cup. Is that the accompaniment you want to hear for all the competitions and at the Opening/Closing ceremonies? I don’t think so …
Finally, Dwight Perry had this comment in the Seattle Times regarding the results of Tiger Woods’ blood test after his DUI arrest:
“Put him down for a 5
“Golf icon Tiger Woods had Vicodin, Dilaudid, Xanax, Ambien and THC in his system when he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Jupiter, Fla., in May, according to a toxicology report released Monday.
“In other words, a solid four over par.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports ………