Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss Stephen Strasburg, super-sizing and finger-wagging in the NFL and the acting prowess of the Manning family.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is down to the NFL, which has decided that in a league where men attempt to turn one another's limbs, brains and organs into a fine jelly, taunting is too savage an act to be allowed. Therefore, new limits on, let's see: "sack dances, the home run swing, the Incredible Hulk, spiking the ball, throwing or shoving the ball, pointing, pointing the ball, verbal taunting, military salutes, standing over an opponent, or dancing", if they're directed at an opponent. NFL players are the lowest paid of the four professional sports with the shortest careers and the most brutal working conditions. But the NFL has apparently decided that in their particular war, the soldiers must focus on their body language, and stop to take tea.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up to Stephen Strasburg, who only has five wins with the disappointing Washington Nationals, but has pitched way better than you might think. Strasburg has had 16 starts in which he's given up two or fewer runs against and he's dead last in the National League in run support. By comparison, Max Scherzer has a 17-1 record with the Detroit Tigers, leads in run support, and he's had 15 starts of two runs or fewer. One of them is supposed to be having a great year, the other guy disappointing. The truth? The great Strasburg is still pretty great.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is down to the ongoing super-sizing of NFL linemen, a thought driven home this week by the passing of Art Donovan. Donovan played in the 1950s at almost 300 pounds, a roly-poly tackle known to Colts teammates as “Fatso”. No one played at three bills then. Now early into exhibition season, some 500 players of 300 pounds or more dot NFL rosters. Donovan said the game once was played by oversized coal miners and West Texas psychopaths. Football currently is played by men who are at heightened risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Chalk it up to evolution? Hardly. The concussion is not the only health crisis facing the NFL.
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is up to an idea we'll call "rapid fire" survey thumbs. The NFL's latest YouTube sensation – featuring the Manning brothers, Peyton and Eli - is pushing football on your phone.
Now, around the desk we go. Do you like this stuff, this one in particular, or not, and if you do, who should do hockey on your phone?
Arthur: I'm am willing to watch almost anything Peyton Manning does in the entertainment sphere. I'm okay with Eli, I think this is probably his best performance. I think Peyton Manning is the most bankable celebrity name in all of sports.
Simmons: Thumbs up. It looked like an Andy Samberg Saturday Night Live skit! I liked it.
Farber: Yo! I liked it.
Hodge: Alright … I thought I was watching Alec Baldwin in “Rock of Ages” and wasn't sure I wanted to see any more of it. But I'll go with you. Thumbs up to football on your phone. Now, hockey on our phones… Think about that and who should do it. That's another story for another day.