By Michael Felger
Time for one of those "hot-not columns where I skip right to the good stuff.
These guys have no shame. Check out the latest Forbes list of the 50 most valuable sports franchises in the world and tell me what you see.
Not only does the NFL hold down 11 of the top 15 spots, but every single team in the league makes the list. To repeat: EVERY SINGLE TEAM. Theres not a single weak sister. Even the Raiders, who havent done much of anything right, on the field or off, for over a half-decade, make the list. By comparison, major league baseball has only five teams on the list (and after the Yankees at No. 2, it doesnt have an entrant until the Red Sox at No. 35), the NBA has but two (the Lakers and Knicks at Nos. 49 and 50, respectively) and the NHL, predictably, has none.
In other words, NFL owners possess the most lucrative sports properties on earth and theres not a close second. For them, making money is as simple as rolling out of bed. And in the case of Al Davis, he doesnt even need to do that.
Yet these men have the gall to tell the public that the players are making too much money? They look at the camera with a straight face and say the system is broken? The Patriots, ranked way up with the big boys at No. 5, whine about uncertainty while jerking around their franchise quarterback yet again on a new contract?
Am I the only one who finds that outrageous?
I could give a rats behind where Jacoby Ellsbury did his rehab in June. Unlike some of his teammates, I dont think its a big deal he was in Arizona. Thats not the issue. The issue is simply the amount of time its taken him to get back on the field. Its gone from ridiculous to embarrassing.
Were talking 15 weeks and counting from the time he originally suffered the fractures on April 11. Were talking nine weeks and counting from when he aggravated something related to the injury on May 22. It doesnt matter that the Sox thought they were bruised, the treatment is exactly the same: rest. The return time for fractured ribs is usually around six weeks.
Take, for example, the case of Jeremy Hermida. He was placed on the DL with five fractured ribs on June 11. He returned to the lineup over the weekend in Seattle, a span of exactly six weeks. Meanwhile the Sox continue to wait on Ellsbury. What a joke.
Red Sox TV ratings
Maybe theres good news in these numbers.
Maybe Red Sox ownership will realize that their astronomical television and radio ratings are no longer a given and that, from this point forward, the big numbers will only come when fans believe the team has a legitimate opportunity to win a championship.
The Nation just never felt that way about the 2010 Sox. It started with the acquisitions of Mike Cameron, Adrian Beltre, Jeremy Hermida and John Lackey, a group that fans never embraced or seemed particularly interested in. The Sox were then an easy team to ignore while the Bruins and Celtics were doing their thing in the playoffs. And when the attention went back to the Sox in June it just wasnt an interesting team to watch.
The lack of "star power on the team is one thing, but I dont believe its the definitive factor. To me, fans heard the term bridge year and got the message early on. Even though John Henry didnt mean what fans thought he did, the cat was out of the bag. And the Sox were never able to put it back in.
Email Felger HERE and stand by for the next installment of the mailbag on Aug. 12. Felger will post another column early next week. Listen to him on the radio weekdays, 2-6, p.m. on 98.5 The Sports Hub.