Those pet peeves – ranking the biggest sports annoyances

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By and large, I think most people who know me would agree that I’m a pretty level-minded, peaceful human being.

But when it comes to sports, I’m more quirky than a Martian and more nuts than a jar of Planters.

As I sat down these past few weeks to watch the dozens of bowl games across the ESPN family of networks, I realized something: A lot of things really, really bug me in the world of sports.

So I decided to do what every warm-blooded American does and I took this topic to Facebook. Once there, I realized that I’m not the minority – I’m the overwhelming majority.

Every sports fan has certain things that just get under their skin within the world of sports.

They are all equally infuriating and completion of this column had me spitting nails and chewing bricks.

But after much thought, here’s the list. In each item, it explains why these things irk me as much as they do.

It’s therapeutic. It makes me feel slightly better about myself.

I’m the world’s biggest dork. What can I say?

Casey’s list of sports pet peeves

7. The pick-off happy pitcher –

I love baseball at both the college and professional levels. But one thing that irks me is the pitcher who continually throws the ball to first base in the middle of a game. Sure, I know the pick-off is a necessary part of the game. But is it really necessary to fling the ball over to first base 15 times when a near-crippled catcher is on base? He isn’t going to steal, so why do it? Baseball purists will tell me to get over myself – that’s fine. But for a sport in dire need of a boost in tempo and pace, the pick-off is such an utterly useless play that shouldn’t be eliminated, but should be restricted.

6. The “rings” guy –

Every circle of friends has the one guy who thinks that success is only measured in victories. No other metric – just victories and championship rings. You all know who I am talking about – the guy who thinks LeBron James can’t even be compared to Kobe Bryant because he has just one championship. He’s also the guy who thinks Eli Manning is better than Peyton because he trumps him in Super Bowls two-to-one. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be about rings – it can be about success in general. How many uninformed fans think Tony Romo is an awful quarterback because his teams have historically not won big games? The answer to that question is far too many. I have a true or false question for those who are in that category: Tony Romo has a better career fourth quarter quarterback rating than both Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. If you answered true, you’re the winner. So much for his reputation of being a choke artist, eh? But yet, despite facts, Romo is considered a stiff because he never wins. Forget the fact that his defense allows 40 points in most big games – it’s all his fault, right? A lot of things must be in place for a team to win significant games. When they don’t, it doesn’t diminish the greatness of individual players within the team.

5. Lazy comparisons from announcers –

This one really bubbles my blood. Did anyone else out there ever notice that every black quarterback in college football is compared to Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb or Vince Young – even if his skill set is more like that of Andy Dalton? How about with receivers? Has anyone ever noticed that every white wide receiver is the next Wes Welker – even if his skills align more closely with that of Marques Colston? Announcers haven’t yet mastered the ability to mix colors when making comparisons from one player to the next. It’s unfortunate. It’s also annoying as heck.

4. The “opponent” fan –

Much like the rings guy, every group has this person within it. He’s the guy (or gal) who is usually a fan of a good, but not great team. He’s the guy who is fully convinced that his team is much better than it is and he is more than willing to explain the logic behind it. “Well, Team A beat Team B by three points and Team C beat Team A, so it obviously means Team C will beat Team A,” he’ll tell you. These people are the worst! Every game in sports is different and past results mean absolutely nothing when it comes to today’s game. If we followed this logic in the NFL, we would have to agree that the Arizona Cardinals are better than the Houston Texans because they beat the Patriots and the Texans didn’t. You can make stats say anything. The “opponent” fan makes me want to pull my hair out. Their logic just makes no sense.

3. The lack of legality in football hitting –

There once was a time when people were able to watch football and enjoy its physicality and hard hitting roots. Those days are long gone. Literally every, single big hit in football is now a penalty. It’s infuriating when a receiver gets smacked in the mouth on a slant route and the officials hurl a flag for an illegal hit on a “defenseless player.” What exactly is the defense supposed to do? Let him catch the ball cleanly? Attack the player at his knees to avoid a helmet-to-helmet hit – something that could end the receiver’s career? The NFL’s “concern” for its players has gotten completely out of control. The reason why I placed concern inside of quotation marks is because the league actually doesn’t care about head injuries at all. It’s all a charade to cover their tails in lieu of pending court cases. If football truly wants to clean up its act, why don’t they force players to wear pads? Today’s NFL player wears a helmet, shoulder pads and that’s about it.

2. The amateur flopper –

It’s unfortunate, but I’ve come to accept flopping as a part of basketball. It took a lot of soul-searching for me to finally accept defeat, but I now admit that it’s a part of basketball. So with that said, I will now target a different demographic and will single out bad floppers. One type of flopper in this category is the person I’d like to call the “loud flopper.” They are the players who make an obnoxiously loud grunting sound when they take a charge in an effort to sway the officials. This would be a smart tactic if it wasn’t a complete lie. Taking a charge means that you sacrificed your body for the sake of a foul. If a person truly was hit in the gut cleanly by a player running full-steam ahead, they wouldn’t have the wind to say anything. Grunting doesn’t sell your dive, basketball nation – it just makes you sound like a women’s tennis player. Get over it and find another trick.

1. The five-minute memory media –

I wish I had a quarter for every time a major network sports analyst contradicted himself/herself throughout the course of the season. By now, I’d have at least a few thousand dollars. In today’s five-minute news cycle, everyone wants their opinion to be the most pointed and innovative. The end result is a babbling mess of contradictions and non-sense. One week, Kobe Bryant is a hero. The next, he is washed up and is a has-been. One day, Drew Brees is the best quarterback in the NFL. The next, he is an overpaid $100 million man who is robbing the Saints blind. Why can’t we just take a few steps back and see the big picture for a change? Talking heads talk just for the sake of hearing their own voices. It’s infuriating and is not fun for anyone.

Rant over.