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Ken Lipshez

Their top 10 and my two cents

I shook my head when I read the top sports stories of the year as judged by the Associated Press.

1) Boston Marathon bombings.

2) Lance Armstrong disgrace.

3) NFL concussion lawsuit settlement.

4) Baseball drug bans of A-Rod, etc.

5) Aaron Hernandez arrest.

I’m not diametrically opposed to the collective opinion of 96 U.S. editors and news directors when the tenets of journalism are considered, but they apparently didn’t ask the sports people.

If the real world were a department store, sports would be the toy department. We turn to sports as entertainment when our work is done, and while the sports world is rife with greed, corruption and cheating just like anything else our species touches, I would have liked to see one actual sports result among the top five stories of the year.

The Red Sox winning the World Series was sixth. The Ravens winning the Super Bowl was seventh.

The dramatic turnaround of Auburn’s football team comes in at No. 8. If I can relegate the terrorists, the cheaters, the criminals and the legal issues aside to the front page, I would have to consider the way the Tigers beat Alabama on the return of a short field-goal try as time expired as No. 1.

The Red Sox World Series success, the Ravens winning the Super Bowl, the Heat adding another NBA title and the greatness of LeBron James would all be on my list.

Ninth on the AP list is the Manti Te’o soap opera, followed by the Miami Heat winning their second straight NBA championship.

I realize I would be chastised for being naïve and out of touch at an editorial meeting, but I would much rather prefer that we stick to the games. As a person who would much prefer to watch reruns of “Gunsmoke” for the umpteenth time rather than “American Idol,” I wholeheartedly accept that.

Out of touch? Perhaps.

Pollyanna looking at the world through rose-colored specs? Sure, I’m guilty, but I’ll keep holding on to what I believe is a better way sports no longer matters. …

While we’re on pet peeves, how ridiculous is the obsession with fantasy teams? I watch the ticker on the bottom of the screen during NFL games and I see numbers flashing by for quarterbacks, receivers, running backs and kickers.

Well, let me tell you something, fantasy freaks. There isn’t one of those skill-position people who would be going anywhere without the unsung heroes in the offensive line. Let me see you incorporate them in your fantasy world.

The funny part about it is players like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Marshawn Lynch and Lesean McCoy would be the first to tell you that. If you need any more proof, consider the 2013 New York Giants. Other than asking contemporary fans to keep their fantasies to themselves, I have this to say: Giants GM Jerry Reese better spend his cash on a free agent guard and tackle.

Fantasy. Humbug! A generation of casual NFL fans is growing up not understanding or caring about anybody numbered 50-79. Include the heart and soul of the sport in these fantasies and then maybe you’ll come close to understanding the nature of the sport. …

I had to laugh when I read a report from something called The Sports Xchange that the New York Yankees’ offseason moves have “ensured” them of a return to the postseason.

I have two views of this.

First of all, since when does a team that sorely lacks pitching pick up some aging offensive stars and suddenly be thrust ahead of the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays?

Second, the word “ensure” takes this ironic twist.

Baseball continues on the path where the wealthy have all the advantages. What the Yankees have “ensured” is that they will compete for a playoff spot. Money, you see, will allow a team to prepare itself well for the long haul of 162 games, leaving the small-market teams desperately trying to hold onto their players and banking on those in the running for Comeback of the Year awards.

Yes, the Yankees have “ensured” like only the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, Rangers, et al., can. Thankfully, the human effect, which includes heart (# RedSoxClubhouse) and sadly injury may just make such “ensuring” merely a vehicle to win the Hot Stove Headlines pennant. …



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