Sunday, June 28, 2015

The 10 most overrated things in sports

I cannot claim ownership of what follows. I discovered it, of all places, on Time-Warner Cable’s web site. But, for the most part, I agree with the thoughts. The items are not listed in any particular order, so regard them as all equally overrated.

The Olympic Games: Without even bothering to mention the festering cesspool that has been FIFA and international soccer for the last few decades, it's important to bear in mind that the International Olympic Committee bears all the same hallmarks of corruption and ludicrous overspending on facilities that will never be used again. The Winter Olympics are a more egregious culprit in this, as the events require a remote location with snowy mountains for skiing and alpine tracks for bobsledding and such. The shocking $51 billion price tag on the 2014 Sochi Olympics led to a dearth of bidders for the 2022 Winter Olympiad. Sweden and Norway, which already have all the necessary facilities, both dropped out of the gambit, leaving only China and -- wait for it -- Kazakhstan, land of superior potassium. The Olympics are fun to watch on a non-annual basis, but they're also outrageously wasteful.

Sliding Head-First into First Base: If it was quicker to slide into first base, then you would see Olympic sprinters diving across the finish line. They don't, because it slows you down. Yes, head-first slides look cool (bonus points if you're batting helmet comes tumbling off), but it's a stupid tactic unless you're trying to avoid a tag.

Floyd Mayweather Boxing Matches: Never, ever pay to watch Floyd Mayweather box. You're buying a ticket to 12 of the most boring rounds in existence. The prime minister of Cambodia was so convinced Manny Pacquiao beat him, he refused to pay up on a large bet he had placed on the long-awaited bout. Also, Mayweather is a human slug, as proven by googling the term "mayweather domestic abuse."

Mock Drafts: Mock drafts are among the most pointless, tedious, speculative, and unjournalistic exercises in sportswriting, and yet, the NBA and NFL drafts launch repeated mocks beginning months before draft night and culminating in crescendo of rumor and misinformation. Sports fans devour these and bicker over the merits of each imagined selection. Immediately after the draft is done, all mocks are useless. Here's the secret: No one knows! It's really just a vehicle for Mel Kiper and Todd McShay to argue over how high to draft a quarterback.

Televising the NBA Draft Lottery Selection: The NBA lottery selection program is televised (because money), but it's a silly, contrived exercise in staging. This year, it seemed to exist solely as a showcase for New York Knicks general manager Steve Mills' devastation at landing the No. 4 pick. The entire lottery selection has already been picked earlier in day under watch of an independent auditor, so the league could simply have a press release about the draft order.

MLB Draft: The first-year player draft lasts for an exhausting 40 rounds, plus compensation picks. Compare that to drafts in the NBA (two rounds), NFL and NHL (seven rounds each). Baseball's lengthy amateur draft is also known as the "rule 4 draft," and of course there is a separate rule 5 draft as well, though this is a brief affair during the winter meetings aimed at preventing teams from hording too much young talent. Moreover, if you ever see any of the players from the draft in the MLB, it'll be several years later.

Silence: When you watch tennis and golf, you have to be silent most of the time, and we have only decorum to blame. If a baseball player can hit a round ball traveling 90-plus miles per hour using a round bat as tens of thousands of fans roar with anticipation, then Novak Djokovic should be able to get his racquet on a tennis ball regardless of noise. Smart fans know when to be quiet, like when the home football team's offense is operating, so they can keep a lid on it during a golfer's backswing. Other than that, go nuts! The Big 12 already encourages cheering during their conference's college tennis matches, partly due to youth tennis' plummeting popularity.

Men's College Football and Basketball: Yes, college football and basketball are very exciting, and that will only increase once the agonizing 35-second shot clock drops to 30 seconds. But the NCAA is one of the most hypocritical, exploitative, money-grubbing organizations in all of sports. Between heavy time requirements each week for the "student-athletes," their miniscule chance of going pro, and the deplorable graduation rates across the board, major college sports are very hard to root for with pangs of guilt. It's no wonder that Northwestern football players voted last year to unionize. While football and basketball do fund many smaller college sports in certain aspects, U.S. Rep. Jim Moran pointed out last year that a head coach of a sports team was the highest paid public employee in 40 different states -- 27 football coaches and 13 basketball coaches, as noted by Deadspin. Those are your taxes at "work."

All-Star Games and the Pro Bowl: From the non-contact farce that is the Pro Bowl and NHL All-Star Game to the excruciatingly long and cripplingly boring Home Run Derby and Slam Dunk Contest, every single All-Star affair is simply terrible and a waste of everyone's time. And the fan voting could be the worst part of all, because we're responsible. Aside from hoops fans voting an injured Kobe Bryant an NBA All-Star starter, Kansas City Royals fans have Omar Infante currently leading the balloting at second base. (He's hitting .227 with only three walks in 62 games, so literally every other AL second baseman is a worthier choice.) Either way, the winning league will have home-field advantage in the World Series -- for no logical reason whatsoever.

NASCAR: As Forbes reported in 2012, NASCAR "has become the No. 1 spectator sport, and 17 of the top 20 most attended sporting events in the United States are NASCAR events." Formula One fans around the world think that's hilarious, because instead of the myriad intricacies of road racing, each event simply involves a few dozen cars turning left and occasionally getting a tire change.

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