Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss the surprising Indianapolis Colts, uncertainty surrounding Olympic hockey in 2014, the notion of Vince Carter returning to the Raptors and baseball's GM meetings.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is up to the Indianapolis Colts and their head coach in absentia Chuck Pagano, whose team won again this week, four days after he paid them a visit. Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia before the season began, and the Colts were coming off a two-win season, and it felt like there were darker times ahead. Well, the Colts are 6-3, and they won that sixth game after shaving their heads in solidarity with Pagano, whose post-game visit after win #5 was the stuff of goose bumps. My vision that I'm living, he said, is to see two more daughters getting married, dance at their wedding, and then hoist that Lombardi several times. The NFL, and sports, is a cynical business. The Colts, right now, are anything but.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is down to all the uncertainty regarding the hockey tournament at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. It isn't Sochi's fault that the NHL and NHLPA don't have a deal and that the parameters for the Olympic tournament remain guesswork at this time. Normally, with the Olympics little more than a year away, this would be the time for speculation on who might play, or who should play or will play for Team Canada. Instead, general manager Steve Yzerman doesn't even know whether NHL players will be cleared to play, whether the lost time this year will translate to no lost time next year. Or whether Olympic hockey will revert to what it was pre-1998. The thing is, nobody knows. And once again, fans are left to only guess.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: Because you really can't go home again, my thumb is down to the notion of Vince Carter returning to the Raptors. Now in his basketball dotage in Dallas, the 35-year-old said he would be happy to return to Toronto for one last shot. Once he was the brightest sports star in the city, bigger than any Leaf or Blue Jay at the time, but retracing steps is rarely a wise career path. Carter might be wistful because his Raptor years were the best of a notable career that, nevertheless, feels vaguely disappointing. But no one can soar when burdened with the baggage that Carter, loved and loathed, accumulated in Toronto.
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is up to the sensible consideration of three items by baseball general managers at their meetings in California. They are studying a broader use of instant replay. As broad as possible would be my suggestion. They are being urged to amend the September call-up rule that allows as many as 40 players on a big-league roster - some teams use it, others don't, and there should be standardization. And there are talks designed to better protect pitchers' heads with some sort of helmet or cap liner. Makes for a good agenda, especially if it results in quick action, and not more talking next year.