Today is the 20th anniversary of the Seinfeld episode concerning the holiday, Festivus. In following the tradition, this December 23rd, here is my airing of grievances and feats of strength from the major sports:
AIRING OF GRIEVANCES
In the NBA, the power of the players to control their owners has been a constant problem. Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and Chris Paul say they want to leave their franchise team and there’s no debate, they’re right onto listening for new deals! They say they want out and they’re gone. That’s ridiculous, but it looked like it was staying in the NBA until recently.
STANTON LEAVES MIAMI
Giancarlo Stanton followed in suit with the NBA stars and decided he wanted to leave the city he’s called home for his entire eight-year career. Immediately, he’s dealt to the New York Yankees, which actually leads me to my next grievance which is how a lifetime Pinstripe traded the star of the team he newly owns to the Yanks for next to nothing! Derek Jeter willingly deals the reigning National League MVP from the Miami Marlins to the Bronx for Starlin Castro and a couple of mediocre minor leaguers? Something’s not right, here.
FIGHTING IN FOOTBALL
From Michael Crabtree and Aqib Talib to A.J. Green and Jalen Ramsey, the fighting in the NFL has gotten out of control. The sport is dangerous enough as it is, and with the ongoing investigations into concussion protocol and CTE, they definitely do not to be scrutinized over how Ndamukong Suh stepped on Aaron Rodgers’ throat. The Cincinnati Bengals are a prime example, for they’ve been recognized as thugs ever since Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict tried to essentially assassinate Antonio Brown in the 2015-16 AFC Wild Card.
NHL LEAVES THE OLYMPICS
With great players from around the globe in the NHL, it’s a real shame that this 2018 Olympic Games is the first tournament to not include the NHL athletes. Who doesn’t want to see Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin lead Team Russia against Patrick Kane and Zach Parise for Team USA, or Tuukka Rask and Team Finland against Henrik Lundqvist and Team Sweden, or the many notable faces of Team Canada against whatever sorry country they’re pitted against? The NHL doesn’t want to take two weeks out of their season anymore to showcase their best and brightest stars, but fortunately, we still have the Hockey World Championship in late spring.
The Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets, the Boston Celtics, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Oklahoma City Thunder are prime examples of superteams. These teams are corrupting the NBA because now great players are just getting together and making it ridiculous for other teams to even try! It’s not inconceivable that the only competition in the West is the Warriors, Houston and OKC and it’s only Cleveland and Boston in the East because of these superteams.
FOOD AT MARINERS’ GAMES
The Seattle Mariners are a fine organization, but their food has gotten a little outlandish. Safeco Field is now serving roasted grasshoppers at Mariners’ games, but however good they may or may not taste, this writer is not on board with munching on insects.
The New England Patriots are often thought of as the Yankees of the NFL because they just keep on winning, but that hate is directed mainly at Tom Brady. People claim that he’s not the greatest quarterback of all time, but the stats do not lie and now people are claiming that he’s not that good when he’s the front runner for MVP. Giving the MVP Award to somebody else is like when the NBA gave the award to Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon or Magic Johnson just so Michael Jordan didn’t get it every single year; greatness gets repetitive and people need to get on board.
Sure, the Las Vegas Golden Knights is a pretty addition to the NHL, but now the league is in a weird situation. The West now has 16 teams and the East has 15, lopsiding the league so that there’s one more team to contend with in the Western Conference than there is the East. Maybe it’s just an answer to how the Nashville Predators, who made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, were the last seed in the West, but the seventh seed Calgary Flames wouldn’t have made it in the East, so now teams have to do slightly better to make the playoffs.
FEATS OF STRENGTH
The Celtics, Cavs and Rockets all boasted win streaks in the double digits, with the Land at 12 games, Houston at 14 and the Celts at an outstanding, historic 16 games. Granted, all three of these organizations fell under my list of superteams, in the competitive National Basketball Association winning above ten games in a row is no small task. Only a strong team could pull off such a feat.
The Los Angeles Angels are making themselves into a powerful foe for their American League counterparts. Already possessing arguably the greatest baseball player since Babe Ruth in Mike Trout, with the recent acquisition of Shohei Ohtani, Zack Cozart and Ian Kinsler, they’re a daunting danger to the daring demeanor of the distant desert teams in the AL West. The all-star Reds’ shortstop Cozart and the WBC Team USA star Ian Kinsler make a deadly, dastardly duo in the middle infield and Ohtani speaks for himself, something he doesn’t do when addressing an English-speaking crowd! They barely missed the playoffs last year, so with this rejuvenation, this year will be a wild one.
Okay, okay, it was last season, but it’s still 2017 and 28-3 is the greatest Super Bowl comeback in history. Without their star tight end, Rob Gronkowski, and only held up by Tom Brady’s cool calm collectiveness, Julian Edelman’s nimble fingers, James White’s clutch speed, LeGarrette Blount’s means of just hurling himself through a defense and Martellus Bennett’s grit, Bill Belichick’s soldiers sauntered into Houston, through screeching Falcons to the first Overtime victory in Super Bowl history. A fifth ring to the GOAT’s hand through the only 21 minutes and 8 seconds of a comeback is no small deed.
LIGHTNING STRIKES AGAIN
Last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning was the tenth seed in the Eastern Conference and now they’re the best team in the entire league! This year, they have the best powerplay, most goals scored per game, the most points, most wins (and least losses), Nikita Kucherov leads the league in both goals and overall points, Anton Stralman has the best plus-minus, and Andrei Vasilevskiy has the most wins by a goaltender. This isn’t a jump from the absolute worst, but the irrelevant squadron from the 2016-2017 season is now the scariest phenom on the ice for the 2017-18 season.
Now that I’ve exhausted my airing of grievances and feats of strength, it’s time to take out the festival pole. 2017 has been a good year for sports and let’s hope for an even better one in 2018, so this December 23rd can really prove to be a Festivus for the rest of us.