By Mark Coogan
It seems that the sporting world has entered the “Twilight Zone.” Sports have always been
dominated by traditions and predictability. But increasingly, sports have been entering a bizarre new realm, leaving fans and followers scratching their collective heads.
If you haven’t seen the end of the boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz yet, you need to do some Internet searching, (it may be hard to find due to HBO blocking it on copyright claims). While bizarre endings are not anything new to boxing, this one still might be a first. After a head butt, a hug and kiss on the cheek, two quick punches to the face blindsided Ortiz and left him down for the count. It was an extremely abrupt and polarizing end to a fight that kept Mayweather undefeated and left many still searching for answers.
In Major League Baseball, Adam Dunn has been a model of consistency. Since 2004, Dunn has hit exactly 40 homeruns in every season but two in which he hit 38. He has driven between 92 and 105 runs in each season and has walked between 101 and 122 times each season. However, as the weird sports year of 2011 comes to a close, Dun has only 11 homeruns, 42 RBI, and just 69 walks. Things have gotten so bad that his strikeout total, 168 at press time, is well above his batting average, just .164 at press time. While the high strikeout total is nothing new, the lack of production in every other offensive category has left White Sox fans feeling like they watched “Bizarro Adam Dunn” all year.
Tradition has always reigned supreme in college football. But much of what was held to be sacred in college football has been turned on its head by a flurry of conference realignment.
After a whirlwind year left the Big Ten with twelve teams and the Big Twelve with ten, Syracuse and Pitt, founding members of the Big East, have announced they are packing their bags and going to the ACC. Programs across the country have decided to put the almighty dollar ahead of the traditions of old, as we enter a new world of huge “super conferences,” devoid of the legacies and regalia that was once valued above all else.
Perhaps all these bizarre events and changes will be good for sports like the forward pass and the three-point line were. Or perhaps they will fade into obscurity like the XFL and soccer. One thing is certain though; this is not the same sports world we were living in a year ago.