Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss the magic of R.A. Dickey, Hockey Canada's decision to release Nail Yakupov, Mitt Romney's praise of Jack Nicklaus and the behaviour of Jon Cornish and Khalif Mitchell.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is up to R.A. Dickey of the otherwise hopeless New York Mets. More and more, so much of baseball can be reduced to math, and while this helps us understand the game, it can strip away the magic of the unknown, too. Well, R.A. Dickey was an unremarkable pitcher for a decade before he was convinced to try a knuckleball in 2005, and has blossomed the past three years. Now, at 37 years old, he is second in the National League in wins with 20, second in ERA and first in strikeouts. Nobody could have predicted this. Dickey is the only knuckleballer in baseball right now, he's 37 years old, and even he doesn't know where the ball is going next. Magic.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up, sort of, to Hockey Canada, along with CHL commissioner David Branch and the Sarnia Sting for finally coming to their senses in the matter of Nail Yakopov. Yesterday, Hockey Canada announced it would be signing the transfer papers enabling Yakupov, a Russian, to play at home in Russia. While just about everyone tripped over semantics here while trying to come to a conclusion, what seemed lost - until yesterday was the best interest of the kid, the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft. While ideally he would like to play for the Edmonton Oilers, we know that's not happening right now. So in support of Yakupov, his finances, his future and that of the Oilers, the right decision has been made. It just took a little too long to get there.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is down to U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney. On a campaign stop in Ohio this week, the Republican nominee - with Jack Nicklaus, a native of the state in tow - declared the Golden Bear the greatest athlete of the 20th century. If Romney had called Nicklaus the greatest golfer of the century, he would have been rock solid. But even avoiding foreign policy and limiting the list to USA athletes, clearly Nicklaus would rank behind, say, decathlete Jim Thorpe or Michael Jordan. As the American on this panel, my choice is Babe Ruth. To borrow Romney's favorite number, Ruth was a 47 per cent greater athlete than Nicklaus.
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is down to the mooning Jon Cornish of the Calgary Stampeders and the throat-slashing Khalif Mitchell of the B.C. Lions. Their behaviour brought fines from the Canadian Football League. Apparently suspensions weren't warranted and neither player was cast in the same light as eye-black-slurring Yunel Escobar, but really it's all the same when these guys embarrass themselves, their teams and their leagues - when they offend fans with actions that are rightfully called "stupid". I get the complaint that political correctness is out of control, but not quite as much as that which provokes it.