Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Get ready for five worst days of sports year

Take in a movie. Finish that novel. Prune the plumbagos. Trust us, you won't miss one pitch, putt or post route.

Today, there aren't any.

This is when the unofficial 24-hour dead period for American sports is observed. The NBA and NHL seasons have ended. The World Cup is over. NFL camps haven't yet begun, and Major League Baseball — on the back end of the All-Star break — has no games.

Thursday represents a reprieve of sorts with the first round of the British Open, but that will have wrapped up before most folks in this country get off work.

Could there be a worse sports day on the U.S. calendar? Got us to thinking.

Depending on one's perspective, some days can be downright rotten, even when the coverage is round-the-clock and/or the audience international. In no particular order, here are what we deem the five crummiest sports days of the year.

Day after the MLB All-Star Game

Probably No. 1 on our list if we had to rank 'em. No day screams for a Rocky marathon more than this one. It's arguably why God created ESPN Classic.

National signing say

Maybe this isn't the worst day in sports, but it's clearly among the most overhyped. Shortly after dawn, grown-ups from Tempe to Tallahassee will remain affixed to a TV or Twitter feed, keeping tabs on which teenagers — many of whom have been fawned over since puberty — faxed a letter of intent to which universities. Hey, we get the importance of football recruiting; it's a program's lifeblood and it requires year-round toil by coaching staffs. What we don't understand, for the life of us, is the obsession over how many three- or four-star recruits your alma mater amassed. In most cases, these kids' full potential won't be realized for another couple of years, if at all. (Hey, Gator fans, how are those recent stellar signing classes working out for you?) What's more, some won't even academically qualify. If there's any redeeming value to the day, it's that signed letters of intent bind a kid to the college, unlike oral commitments (don't get us started).

NFL's idle playoff Sunday

You've immersed yourself in 17 weeks of Cover 2 schemes, zone reads, injury reports and endless pregame banter by studio sets crammed with ex-jocks. You've then invested another three weekends and a bottomless supply of queso dip in playoff action. Then, pfffft, a Sunday with no games. For the hardcore football fan, that's some serious withdrawal. Temporary relief, if you want to call it that, arrives with the Pro Bowl staged on this night. But that's hardly an ample substitute for the real thing, which leads us to …

Super Bowl Sunday

The most overhyped sports day of the year, beating out national signing day by two Ben Roethlisberger spirals. Occasionally, the game proves worthy of the shameless daylong buildup, which has evolved — or regressed — into hours of fluffy, pompous, political, cheesy tripe. At least we have the commercials — and sometimes the halftime entertainment — to keep us interested when the game bombs. Twenty-six of the 48 Super Bowls (54.2 percent) have been decided by two or more touchdowns.

Christmas Day

Sure, the day is crammed with marquee NBA matchups, and that's our point. If one day a year screams for a sports moratorium, wouldn't it be this one? Forget the NBA millionaires for a moment, and think of all those people in lower tax brackets — concessions workers, ticket takers, parking attendants, security guards, officials, reporters, camera crews — forced to work on a day they'd normally prefer to spend with their loved ones. Of course, as long as the ratings are solid, what does the NBA care?

 
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Rays journal: Christian Arroyo set to play first game at Tropicana Field

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Published: 05/21/18
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Published: 05/21/18
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Published: 05/20/18
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Rays journal: Pitching plan works, until Sergio Romo leaves in second inning

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Published: 05/20/18
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Published: 05/20/18
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Published: 05/20/18
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Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/20/18