Some things that really irk me in sports today/Paul Peterson

It’s one of those comments you hear all too often when you tune into Rod Allen and Maria Impemba on the Detroit Tigers televison telecasts.

“Bunting isn’t a part of his game,” the duo tells us when a Tigers player is faced with an obvious bunting situation, something manager Jim Leyland usually refuses to acknowledge.

Why not? As far as I can remember, Hall of Fame players like Al Kaline, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, etc. were willing to lay down a bunt to help their team win.

Now Rod and Mario, who are not to be mistaken for the late and great Ernie Harwell, are trying to tell us that journeymen performers like Alex Avila, Ramon Santiago, Don Kelly and Omar Infante don’t know to bunt. Give me a break.

But the non-bunting habits of the Tigers are just one of many things that really irk me about today’s sports scene.

Another is the fawning media attention paid to NASCAR driver Danica Patrick on a weekly basis.

I could care less about the NASCAR circuit and have only a passing knowledge of the sport, but all the headlines given to Patrick can only be described as overkill.

For a driver who seldom finishes in the top 20 at races and has never won an event on the circuit, she gets far too many headlines.

But today’s sports outlets seem more than willing to shower attention on good-looking women athletes – even if they have done very little to earn it.

Speaking of excessive media attention, LeBron James of the Miami Heat is another athlete who gets more ink than he deserves.

Sure, James is a standout in today’s watered-down NBA. But is he really better than such past superstars of the league as Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird? No way.

James, who turned off many sports fans with his boorish “leaving Cleveland” ESPN extravaganza show two years ago, stands out because he’s that much better than the rest of the players in the league.

The endless self-promoting ways of networks like ESPN is another sore point.

With the World Cup soccer finals coming up next year, the network has started giving viewers a constant barrage of soccer scores from all over the world.

Honestly, how many sports fans care whether Bayern defeated Leverkusen, Santos Laguna tied Toluca, or Manchester United – perhaps the one soccer team I do recognize – downed West Bromwich?

It is true that soccer has a huge worldwide following, and it offers great excercise to participants. But the low-scoring sport has never really caught on as a spectator event in this country. Many youngsters here play the game for a time … and then quickly move on to other interests.

Case in point: One of my grandsons played in the local soccer league for six years, but seldom talks about the sport. And he has no interest at all in the upcoming World Cup.

The above are just a few of the things that raise my hackles about today’s sports scene. And that list didn’t even include the garish tattoos sported by many athletes …