The watching sports report

Week 18?

watching sportsI grew up loving watching sports on television. Not just baseball and football, either. I grew up with the Wide World of Sports. Not so much in 2021.

Oh, I caught some innings of a few baseball games, but almost nothing from beginning to end. Yet I would READ the box scores and stories about the previous night’s games. I was particularly fascinated with Shohei Ohtani, who GQ profiled. “Not since the days of Babe Ruth has one of baseball’s greatest hitters also been one of its finest pitchers.”

Maybe it was the fate of the New York Mets, who looked as though they might get to the World Series but ended up not even getting to the playoffs. Or the New York Yankees who were streakily great, followed by being terrible and were eliminated after one playoff game.

Perhaps it’s my antipathy for some of the teams. Both the 2017 Houston Astros and the 2018 Boston Red Sox were nicked by a cheating scandal. The Astros also yanked their team affiliation from our local Tri-City Valley Cats. More parochially, the Dodgers beat the Yankees in the 1963 World Series; I hold a long grudge.

Gridiron

As usual, I didn’t watch the NFL before Thanksgiving. I saw bits of one of those Turkey Day games, then nothing else in 2021 unless the CBS game ran late, delaying 60 Minutes.

But then there was week 18. Week 18? There used to be 17 weeks in which the teams each played 16 games, with one week off. Now there is a 17th game. And, perhaps related to the expansion of the eligible playoff teams to 14, it seemed that almost every team that didn’t play their home games in New Jersey still had a chance.

Such as the Pittsburgh Steelers. Chuck Miller described what happened. But that Raiders-Chargers game that ended in the final minute of overtime was edge-of-my-seat exciting. The following week there were a couple of close games which I saw. However, I will acknowledge that I watched almost the entire Buffalo Bills beating of the New England Patriots, 47-17. Seven touchdowns in seven possessions!

Soured

Only one of the annoying things about COVID is that sports figures who you felt neutral or mildly positive about managed to act in a disappointing manner. Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers spread some malarkey about his vaccine status.

More irritating, though, was Novak Djokovic, the tennis star who got booted out of the Australian Open because that country actually wants to take the disease seriously. Then the Serbian president blasted Australia. Now, Djokovic may not be able to play in the French Open in May if he isn’t vaccinated. I had no strong opinion about Novak, beyond admiring his considerable talent, but now he’s rather ticked me off.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

3 thoughts on “The watching sports report”

  1. From Amy at Sharp Little Pencil: I am not quite sure why I had a problem with the website, but my comment on the Watching Sports Report didn’t seem to take. Here it is, and it comes with prayers for your family’s safety. We have several church members, all double/boosted, who still got Covid. One in hospital, in his 80s. Because nothing says, “I love you, Grandpa,” like giving him Covid. Ugh. A
    COMMENT:
    Yes, yes, and yes.

    I am an old Bills fan from my NYS years. The other two New York NFL teams played in Jersey, and Buffalo was, for me, the only legitimate NY team. Of course, we “converted” to the Packers once we moved here, because you always root for the home team. (Unless it’s the late 70s when I lived in LA and the Dodgers were playing the Yanks in the World Series. Hell, no, I wasn’t about to root for LA, home town be damned.)

    We watched Rodgers and Brady both boot their playoff games. Lex and I were quietly celebrating the fact that Aaron Rodgers was handed his hat because of the Covid issue. Brady, the same, but when you live in Wisconsin and your “star” quarterback spouts off like a horse’s ass, it’s embarrassing and sad.

    Finally, regarding tennis: I know we aren’t supposed to make fun of the names of folks from foreign countries. I know it. Still, the name “Novaxx” came so trippingly off my tongue… hee hee hee

  2. Here in Buffalo, continuing to root for the Bills has required a lot of covering-of-ears when various people on the team start opining about vaccines. Season’s over now, though, so I guess now I get to wait and see what kind of roster is around next year.

  3. I was never much of a sports watcher, and nothing play-offy except when Chicago teams did well, so, not very often. Once I moved to New Zealand, it was harder to pay any attention to US sports because the pay-tv service focused on sports played in New Zealand (rugby, league, cricket, netball), and ones New Zealand teams play with other countries (all of those other ones, plus basketball and, a little bit, baseball). There’s not much sport on free-to-air TV (not even delayed broadcasts), and the pay tev service(s) only broadcast/stream things that are popular with New Zealanders, which makes sense. There’s a perception that Kiwis are, “I don’t follow your dumb American sports,” and there’s a lot of truth to that (except they don’t actually say that, and while they may or may not actually think that, their actions show they have little interest in American sports. In fact, over all there’s been a decline in interest in sports, generally, sped-up by Covid-related cancellations and disruptions.

    I don’t have pay-TV any more, so I can’t easily see any US sports any more, either. Back in the 1990s, I could listen to a webstream of Chicago radio’s broadcast of Chicago baseball games, but Major League Baseball withdrew it’s express consent (and came up with a paid scheme using approved announcers, not those from the local market, which was actually the whole point of listening to Chicago radio). That was that.

    ESPN International used to broadcast one Chicago Cubs game per year, but that waned (except for the World Series the Cubs won, the last time I saw complete baseball games, actually).

    So, without pay TV, I don’t watch sport and generally even tune out during the evening news’ sport report. I guess what little interest I had in broadcasts of professional sport is now gone.

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