Good Morning
Good Morning
SportsColumnistsNeil Best

Leap Day makes the worst sports month longer

Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks looks

Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks looks on in the second half against the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016. Credit: Jim McIsaac

February 29? Really? Must we?

For sports fans, adding another day to February is like going into overtime in the Pro Bowl, or giving a college basketball coach an extra timeout in the final minute, or watching David Ortiz’s home run trot.

Please, make it stop.

There are historical reasons why Leap Day was attached to February, which you can look up on the Internet and which go back many centuries before people realized it would extend the most torturous month in sports talk radio.

But we know better now. Add a day to April instead. Or June. Or November. Anything but this. Why not just add a day to the beginning of March and call it March 0.5?

Presumably the pain is not as acute in cities with NBA or major-conference college basketball teams that are serious championship contenders, unlike here.

But even then, the February dog days are a mere prelude to the starts of the NCAA Tournament in March and NBA playoffs in April. Same goes for hockey.

Things could have been worse this Leap Year. The weather continued to be relatively mild, certainly so compared with last February. But those hints of spring only added to the sense it is time for the month to be over.

Must I illustrate what I am talking about here? Fine. How about this: As of Friday, four of the five most-viewed sports stories for the week on focused on Yoenis Cespedes' parking space in Port St. Lucie.

Meanwhile, on sports talk radio, the Oscars, Presidential primary politics and the nuances of the Yankees’ new ticket policy performed Steve Trachsel-like innings-eating duties, filling up otherwise useless hours.

(By the way, about that Yankees vs. StubHub thing: All this is just transitional jockeying before a day when all teams price individual tickets on a minute-to-minute basis as the market fluctuates, like airlines do. End of digression.)

Moving the Super Bowl to February in recent years at least has made the first few days of the month more tolerable, but that afterglow does not last long, especially without a local team involved.

Cam Newton pouting in a postgame news conference? Classic mid-February fodder.

Another digression: At least this Feb. 29 was made better around midnight Eastern Time when "Spotlight" was named Best Picture at the Oscars, causing journalists the world over to feel better about their career choice. (Shouldn’t we all be taking today off to celebrate? Boss?)

The victory for “Spotlight” finally avenged “Rocky” knocking out another journalist-picker-upper, “All the President’s Men,” 39 years earlier in the Best Picture race. Sylvester Stallone even was a surprise loser for Best Actor in a Supporting Role Sunday, another illustration of an upside down night.

Anyway, back to Leap Day.

My disrespect for it is strictly February-sports-based, with no offense intended for those Leapers who must wait four years for every birthday, including hockey Hall of Famer Henri Richard, celebrating his 20th today, and Amityville’s John Niland, a Super Bowl-winning Cowboys guard who is celebrating his 18th.

It’s just, well, you know: more February. Blech. Please, nobody call a timeout until the calendar mercifully flips at midnight.

That includes you, Chris Webber. And by the way, Chris: Happy March 1 Birthday! We all will celebrate with you.

New York Sports