Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss the Hornets' proposed name change, the Vikings' Adrian Peterson, Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, and the Blue Jays' late broadcaster Tom Cheek.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is up to the New Orleans Hornets, who may change their name to the New Orleans Pelicans. Now, your first thought is probably that pelicans are large floppy goofy-looking birds who look like they were designed by Walt Disney, but it's no sillier a name than the Charlotte Bobcats (where the Hornets came from), the Washington Wizards (formerly the Bullets), the Utah Jazz (who were the New Orleans Jazz), the Los Angeles Lakers (who came from Minneapolis), and the Toronto Raptors, who were named after a movie. We're not even getting into the Anaheim Ducks, or the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, or the Washington Redskins, or…okay, I'm out of time. At least they didn't name them the Drunken Tourists, or the Corrupt Local Officials. Flap those wingspans with pride.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up to Adrian Peterson, who is defying science and logic while running the ball this year for the Minnesota Vikings. Peterson is doing this less than a year after tearing the ACL and MCL of his mangled left knee. And he's doing it in an NFL that has de-emphasized the running back and gone passing crazy. He's 300 yards ahead of the next best rusher in football, running for more yards per carry than anyone else, and more runs of over 20 and 40 yards than anybody. When you watch Adrian Peterson, you're seeing an all-time great. He is the Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith of the new generation. And if only the Vikings had a quarterback to go along with him.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is up to Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, who demolished a barrier as surely as he destroyed Alabama's air of invincibility. The Texas A&M quarterback became the first freshman to win the award that honours the best player in U.S. college football, compiling statistics that eclipsed even those of recent winners Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III - when those quarterbacks were theoretically all about the boolah boolah and not the moola moola. Johnny football - now that is a nickname - memorably engineered the upset at Alabama, truly a signature moment. Notre Dame linebacker Manti T'eo was worthy, but apparently defence wins championships, not Heismans.
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is up to the Baseball Hall of Fame for recognizing the distinguished career of the late Blue Jays broadcaster Tom Cheek with the Ford C. Frick award. There is no higher honour for a baseball man behind the mike than to join a list that includes Ernie Harwell, Vin Scully, Jack Buck, Red Barber, the first winner of the Frick award - Mel Allen, and the winner two years ago, Dave Van Horne. Cheek is deserving for his amazing streak of 4,306 consecutive regular-season games, for his Joe Carter home run call, among many others, and for his knack of letting his listeners see the game that they could only hear on radio. Better that he was honoured sooner - far better if it had happened while he was living, but it's good that it was finally and properly done in 2012.