We all have pet peeves in sports. I’m not sure why this week a few seemed to strike a nerve, but they did.
After watching the Cleveland Guardians play the Chicago White Sox, I am reminded of a few irritants.
In the May 10th game, White Sox fans seemed to be extra special. You could hear the fans riding Guardians catcher Austin Hedges. It was at least one fan and it was constant. It was endless and it was all over the television.
Here’s a public service message for the hecklers. You are funny when you drop a one-liner every now and then. We, the fans, did not pay money to hear you heckle all game. Take your show to a comedy club, where patrons who actually paid money, may or may not laugh at your attempt to be the center of attention.
The fact the game was in Chicago reminded me of one postgame show when I was working for then-Fox Sports Net Ohio.
I had a little chair set up in front of the then-Indians’ dugout. Then US Cellular Field was empty toward the end of the game. There were two couples sitting maybe four rows above the Indians’ dugout. It was obvious by the number of empty cups around them they had been drinking. It appeared that it was a double date. The men sitting on the outside, the women sitting on the inside. As I started the show, it became obvious the couples were not happy with each other. I was talking about the highlights on television. I glanced up to see one woman throwing a hay-maker and landed it on the jaw of the other women. This happened as I was throwing the postgame into a commercial break. The next 90 seconds could have been a pay-per-view event.
As Chicago’s finest were nowhere to be found, the next minute was one for the ages. The women at this point were yelling at each other defending the men that escorted them to the game. Arms were flailing into punches that sometimes landed. Parts of the body not normally seen in everyday life were now exposed to the world. By the time the police arrived, the women were yanking on each other’s hair and were too exhausted to move as the police came to break things up.
It was a moment where I was speechless. It is a memory of that ballpark that is burned into my mind. As White Sox fans were riding the Guardians earlier this week, all I could do was flashback to one of the most bizarre things I have ever witnessed in 30 years of covering sports.
I’m not sure what happened next. It’s not fair to judge all White Sox fans on this moment in time. It is what I think about when I think of that ballpark.
Why do we care about how much money an athlete earns? There is only one case when this matters. When a team is held to the confines of a league salary cap and it hinders them from making a move. In some cases, I see it as a commitment by ownership when you can go over the cap. Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert didn’t blink when the team needed to spend more money and paid luxury tax money for going over the cap.
The example this week is Tom Brady. Reports surfaced that he will join FOX television when he retires. The reports say he will make $375 million over 10 years.
I say good for him. According to
spotrac.com, the Tampa Bay quarterback has made $302 million in 22 years in the NFL. Again, good for him. The voices I hear ripping him for getting this contract say, “Nobody deserves that much money,” are crazy. Imagine you are sitting at a table and someone offers you $375 million. I dare you to say, “No, that is too much money.”
You can argue the person whose voice I hear calling a game doesn’t matter. I’m fine with that. If FOX wants to overpay or underpay, that is on them. Telling sports teams or a TV network, they are overpaying for a player seems to be a right of passage. The real question here is why Brady would take one more hit on the field. I can’t remember the last time I witnessed a broadcaster getting a concussion.
Along those lines, I am a little worried about the over-saturation of legalized gambling in the NFL. Mike Florio of NBC Sports had a story about how we view the NFL and it could be changing with new streaming and television contracts. The thought of multiple games on a Monday night all season, adding a permanent, early Sunday morning game and regularly scheduled games on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon coming into play feel uncomfortable.
You could have a future where every game is the only game being played at one time. It’s a format that might be good for gambling, but I’m not sure if it’s a great idea for all the fans.
COVID still impacting sports
COVID-19 halted its first MLB game of the 2022 season May 11. Unfortunately, it affected the Guardians as they were looking to get out of Chicago this week with a series win before they were scheduled to head to Minneapolis for a weekend series against the Twins.