Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss the casualties of the NHL lockout, Triple-Crown threat Miguel Cabrera, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano and all of the sports figures who behaved badly this week.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is down to the Ottawa Senators and the Florida Panthers, who were the first NHL teams to lay off employees in the early days of this wholly unnecessary lockout. Ottawa's bad, since if you're that quick to pink-slip people while selling hockey in a Canadian market, something's wrong. But in Florida, the layoffs included mascot Stanley C. Panther, who was released into the wild to fend for himself. I get that owners are trying to squeeze their big-ticket employees, but ... The mascot? Really? What, you want Stanley to be seen eating out of garbage cans? After all, a mascot is meant to entertain fans, and to connect with fans, and shows you care about fans, and ... Oh, now I understand.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up to Miguel Cabrera not Melky Cabrera, as we enter the final days of the baseball season. You see, it's been 45 years since somebody won the Triple Crown and that last somebody was Carl Yasztrzemski which happened in the first year I remember following the sport closely. It didn't seem that much at the time. Frank Robinson had done it the year before. But since then, nothing. Dick Allen came close in '72. Albert Pujols came close a couple of times. But really nothing like this. Cabrera leads the American League in batting, in RBI, and is tied for the lead in home runs with the injured Josh Hamilton. Should he get there, he joins Yaz, Robinson, Mickey Mantle, as the last people to pull this off. All three just happened to win MVPs in those triple crown seasons.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is down to rookie Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano for a distinctly rookie move. His decision to bull-rush take-the-knee Giants quarterback Eli Manning at the end of the game last Sunday was bull … well, you know. If Schiano were so keen on playing to every whistle, the Buccaneers also would have done it when Manning kneeled unmolested at the end of the half. The Bucs' stunt differs from the glut of baseball's unwritten rules in this regard: unlike stealing with a 10-run lead in the seventh inning, this wasn't about etiquette but potential injury. An unapologetic Schiano said he would do the same thing again. And he would be wrong again.
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is down to the subject matter, but it's up to the way I'm supposed to feel after I deliver this rant. Well, maybe not a rant, but rather, a recitation of this week's stories that could cause a rant.
Yunel Escobar suspended for gay slur; Laurier University baseball team suspended for hazing; NHL lockout continues; NFL replacement refs still working; Canadian speedskater Olivier Jean victimized by sabotage; figure-skating coach Kevin Michael Hicks charged with sexual assault; snowboarder Shaun White charged with public intoxication and vandalism; Atlanta Falcons' running back Michael Turner charged with DUI. Oh, for a story that lifts us up and inspires us. It seems like we haven't had once since Lance Armstrong.