The lighter side of sports: Mike Tyson's cannabis resort, Buffalo columnist sick of Bills, national champion UCF, and TV star Ruben Amaro Jr.

By: Andrew Bucholtz

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Welcome to another look at the lighter side of sports. Here are some of the weirdest recent sports-related stories.

Mike Tyson is opening a cannabis resort: Recreational marijuana was legalized in California on January 1, and former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson is taking full advantage. Tyson has broken ground on a 40-acre property outside of Los Angeles, which will feature land dedicated to growing marijuana, a school on cultivation techniques, and "a supply store, extraction facility, edible factory, premium “glamping” campgrounds and cabins, and an amphitheater." It's not the first unusual business venture Tyson's been involved with (others include The Hangover series, Being Mike Tyson on Fox Sports 1, a one-man Broadway show, and Mike Tyson Mysteries, "featuring Tyson solving mysteries in the style of Scooby-Doo"), but it's definitely a strange one.

Buffalo News columnist Rod Watson is tired of everyone talking about the Bills: The Buffalo Bills made the NFL playoffs for the first time since 1999, and that's sparked a whole lot of excitement in the city. But one local columnist had a rather "Bah, humbug" response all ready. Rod Watson of The Buffalo News unleashed an incredible rant this week titled "Playoff game? Please don’t tell me any more about it." Here are some lowlights:

We can’t possibly be so psychologically pathetic that having a football team make the playoffs for the first time in 18 seasons becomes the most important thing in town.

...Buffalo needs help. At the inevitable watch parties, we should use halftime for mass therapy sessions to reaffirm what should be obvious: There are things more important than Tyrod Taylor’s quarterback rating. A city with Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan masterpieces, Underground Railroad sites and a burgeoning medical campus should not have to fixate on LeSean McCoy’s all-purpose yardage.

Did anyone ever tell Watson it's possible to appreciate both Frank Lloyd Wright and LeSean McCoy? And it's not like Wright's buildings have a playoff berth to celebrate. They're always there, unlike the Bills.

UCF claims a national title, throws a parade, pays coaches bonuses: It's hard not to feel for the University of Central Florida Knights, who wrapped up a perfect 13-0 season with a Peach Bowl win over Auburn Monday but didn't receive a chance to play for the NCAA FBS national title thanks to the College Football Playoff selection committee. UCF has responded in entertaining fashion, though, declaring themselves national champions, complete with a trip to Disney World (just 30 miles down the road from their Orlando campus), a parade, and bonuses for the coaches. And their timing is particularly good; doing so ahead of the actual CFP title game between Georgia and Alabama means it's tougher for critics to respond.

Yes, UCF is probably not the best NCAA FBS football team this year, but it's hard to blame them for this; they did everything they could on the field and still didn't have a chance to play for a national title. And while they're far from the first team to be overlooked this way, their case points out how the current four-team playoff is still a long way from ideal. But on the more entertaining side, this self-proclaimed national title fits in with a long history of declared and claimed national championships, many which were for seasons much less impressive thank what the Knights did this year. So why not have a parade?

Ruben Amaro Jr. appears on The Goldbergs: Former MLB player and general manager and current Mets' first base coach Ruben Amaro Jr. went to Philadelphia's William Penn Charter School, the same school as TV writer and director Adam F. Goldberg. That's led to Goldberg making a fictional Amaro Jr. (played by Niko Guardado) a recurring character in his The Goldbergs ABC sitcom, a fictionalized version of his upbringing. (And it's good it's fictionalized, because the two actually attended the school a decade apart.) That led to Amaro Jr. himself making a cameo in Wednesday's episode, playing his father, Ruben Amaro Sr.:

It's the latest fun sports moment in The Goldbergs, which has also featured plot lines on everything from a character's beloved Flyers t-shirt to Ron Hextall's famous goal to getting lost in Philadelphia's old Veterans Stadium. And it's the latest example of the lighter side of sports.