Perhaps by not trading him, the Mariners painted themselves into a corner with Felix Hernandez. They had to sign Hernandez to a monster contract. They were all-in, even knowing they would pay an exorbitant cost. ... The commitment by both the player and team is admirable, as is the passion of the fans. But get back to me in a few years, and tell me if everyone still holds the same romantic view. I???m sorry, the risk of trading Felix -- even when factoring in the possibility that the return might have been disappointing -- was less than the risk of signing him for $175 million. Yes, Hernandez has averaged 238 innings over the past four seasons, thrown a no-hitter, won a Cy Young. But consider his ERA-plus by season during that period: 171, 174, 109, 122. (FOX Sports) Comment
Atop the Central Division and near the top of the Eastern Conference, the Pacers rank among the NBA's pleasant surprises this season, too. But where are the paying customers? ... Look around Bankers Life Fieldhouse when teams other than Miami, Chicago or the Los Angeles Lakers are in town. There are lots of empty green seats in the building even though the Pacers bring a 15-game home winning streak into Friday's game with Toronto. ... While they have increased attendance by 1,320 fans a game from last season, that's still not enough. "It's very disappointing," Pacers guard and Indianapolis-native George Hill said. "The fans show up when we play the marquee teams, but they show up wearing the marquee team's clothes. We feed off them." (Indianapolis Star) Comment
A Super Bowl in Minneapolis? After meeting with NFL officials at the Super Bowl in New Orleans, Vikings executives came home firmly intent on landing the 2018 Super Bowl for their new stadium, which is to open in 2016 in downtown Minneapolis. The only time Minnesota has hosted a Super Bowl was in 1992 at the Metrodome, where Washington defeated Buffalo 37-24. "We started to do some homework on our bid," Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said Tuesday, Feb. 6. The Vikings already have applied to the 2018, 2019 or 2020 Super Bowl. They are pushing hard for 2018. In New Orleans, they were briefed on the second round of the application and formal presentation processes. (Pioneer Press) Comment
Fireworks over Bolshoi Ice Dome celebrate the 'One Year To Go Before Sochi Winter Olympic' ceremony in Sochi, Russia. (The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
Down go the Hoosiers as Illinois' Taylor Griffey serves up a 74-72 upset over No. 1 Indiana.