Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss the decisions of Glendale city council, Forbes Magazine and the NHL, Christine Sinclair's FIFA snub and Mariano Rivera's potential comeback.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is down to the outgoing city council in Glendale, Arizona, many of whom are outgoing for a reason. Last week, they city voted for a 20-year, $308 million arena management fee for the future owner of the Phoenix Coyotes, assuming that particular unicorn ever turns out to be real. It's a municipality blackmailing itself on sunk money, and it's incredible. The city has already made cuts to services; it may make more. The deal is contingent on the team being bought by January 31, so the lockout could scuttle it, but if it goes through, your worst-case scenario is this: Phoenix makes the Stanley Cup final, attracts fans, loses, and doesn't have police or fireman when the riots begin.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up to Forbes Magazine, for doing something hardly anyone has been able to do these days - fostering talk about the NHL that had nothing to do with the lockout, Gary Bettman or Donald Fehr. It was just good old-fashioned hockey talk without making whole or mediators: when Forbes declared that the Toronto Maple Leafs are the most expensive team on the planet - with a value of $1 billion - suddenly we had something to chew on that was fresh and new and fascinating even. Are they honestly worth that much? Is the value real or just spectacular? Frankly, I don't care. I was just happy to be talking hockey again, not talking Bettman or Fehr.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is down to FIFA for failing to name Canadian striker Christine Sinclair as one of three finalists for its Player of the Year award. But before you burn your Umbro soccer cleats in protest, understand these were not some clueless bureaucrats in Switzerland, nursing a grudge and nursing a beverage, who snubbed Canada's ref-bashing Olympic hellion. National team coaches, captains and reporters voted. But Sinclair, a six-time finalist, certainly deserved to be short-listed more than, say, Marta, the Brazilian who is there for lifetime achievement rather than her 2012 international play. Shame on FIFA. But then, couldn't we say that every week?
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is up to 43-year-old Mariano Rivera, the most celebrated relief pitcher in baseball history, who, by signing a one-year contract, is hoping to bounce back from an ACL tear that cost him all but nine games of last season. Rivera is acknowledged as the greatest closer ever to enter a game in the 9th inning - thus, the end of his career just had to be different than the end of his 2012 season. Which is to say, Rivera deserves one or more saves to add to his career total of 608 just so he won't have the knee injury that occurred while he was catching fly balls during batting practice in Kansas City be the last thing he did in the uniform of the New York Yankees. He oughta leave for the last time in glory, and not in pain.