Sometimes, it’s healthy to vent your frustrations.

We’re halfway through 2017 and there have been enough headlines in the sports world to make a person bounce their head off their desk. I’m no exception.

I can go on for days on many of these topics, but I only have so much space in this column, so I’ll keep my takes brief and to the point.

If there’s a topic you felt I missed, or feel strongly about, I’d love to hear feedback via email or on Twitter. Some of our readers’ best takes or responses will be featured in my column next Monday.

Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn fight

Let’s start with the freshest item. On Saturday night, Jeff Horn upset Manny Pacquiao to win the World Boxing Organization’s welterweight world title in front of a hometown crowd in Brisbane, Australia. Horn was awarded the title in a unanimous decision. The outcome frustrated fight fans and non-fight fans alike, as Pacquiao nearly knocked Horn out in the ninth round, and landed twice the number of punches (182 landed out of 573 thrown, a 32 percent success rate) as Horn did (92 landed out of 625 thrown, for 15 percent).

Judge Waleska Roldan had the fight 117-111 in favor of Horn, while fellow judges Ramon Cerdan and Chris Flores had it 115-113 for Horn. Pacquiao — no stranger to controversial decisions after losing a split decision to Timothy Bradley Jr. for the welterweight belt back in 2012 — took the loss in stride after the fight, knowing he and Horn have a rematch clause.

“That’s the decision of the judges. I respect that,” Pacquiao said.

I’m more annoyed than frustrated by this. Not at the judges, but at fight fans. Anyone who knows anything about boxing knows you don’t let a fight go to the judges. More likely than not, the decision will be controversial. If you want a fight to go your way, you knock the other guy out, plain and simple. Credit to Pacquiao, he knows this fact and had no complaints after the fight.

What we should appreciate is the fact that both fighters put on a good show, with lots of action. They didn’t dance around all night long; they got after it and the fight got bloody. It’s not an all-time great, but in the day and age of Floyd Mayweather Jr. dancing around a ring all night long, it’s a fight I’ll take, and appreciate.

David Price

It was reported Friday that David Price — one of the high-price, free agent pitchers of the Boston Red Sox — had a spat on a plane ride with NESN broadcaster and Baseball Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, over alleged comments made during the broadcast of Price’s start Thursday night against the Minnesota Twins (Price allowed three runs on six hits and struck out seven in a 6-3 win).

The outburst comes on the heels of Price creating a rule that he will not address the Boston media on days between his starts, and after an alleged outburst at a reporter in the Red Sox clubhouse, all within the past month.

Price signed with the Red Sox in 2016, after spending the better part of six years with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays. All three cities are areas and teams that don’t have extremely high expectations — or pressure — from fans and media. In just a year and a half, Price has shown to be as soft as Charmin paper in Boston. By his own admission, 2016 (17-9 record, 3.99 ERA) was not a great season for Price, and thanks to injuries and inefficiency, 2017 (3-2 record, 4.61 ERA over seven starts) hasn’t been much better.

Instead of worrying about what others are saying about him, perhaps Price should spend more time with pitching coach Carl Willis, and less time talking down fans and media. The only way Price will win favor with the Boston crowd is with his performance. If he doesn’t learn this quickly, his time in Boston will be remembered along with other free agent busts like Carl Crawford.

Pace of play in baseball

Call me old school, but I hate almost any sort of change when it comes to Major League Baseball. I certainly appreciate the fact that commissioner Rob Manfred is looking for ways to improve the game, but in my opinion, length of gametime isn’t driving fans away.

MLB has experimented with pitch clocks in the minor leagues. The results have been small, but effective. But several other factors can play into longer games, for example, a 10-pitch at-bat with several foul balls occuring multiple times during a game. Multiple pitching changes tacks on time, as well. Those are just two examples of factors that can prolong a game. No Red Sox-Yankees game — under any rules — will be less than three hours unless Chris Sale is dominating.

If the length of time of a baseball game bothers folks that much, they simply shouldn’t watch. If MLB wants to impress me on a rule change, they’ll finally decide if both the American League and National League will use the designated hitter. I think they should, since fans are more fond of home runs than watching pitchers hit.

LaVar Ball

His overpriced shoes. His ridiculous comments. His latest appearance on World Wrestling Entertainment’s flagship show “Raw.” You name it, there’s a good chance I will dislike it when it comes to the paterfamilias of the basketball-loving Ball family.

Ball never had much of an athletic career. He played one season of college basketball at Washington State, averaging 2.2 points per game. For a short period of time, he was on the practice squad for both the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers of the NFL. But this hasn’t stopped Ball from making claims that he could have beaten Michael Jordan in a game of one-on-one in his prime.

However, Ball keeps much of his talk for his three sons, specifically Lonzo Ball, who was recently drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft. Before Lonzo was ever drafted, LaVar Ball said his son was as good as Golden State star Steph Curry. When Lonzo Ball was drafted, LaVar Ball said his son would lead the Lakers to the playoffs in his first year. Could he put a little more pressure on his son?

Worst of all, LaVar Ball is the head of Big Baller Brand, a “lifestyle apparel” brand that sells $50 hats, $50 t-shirts (both simply say Big Baller Brand on them), as well as $400 shoes.

I fear that LaVar Ball may be the worst thing that has happened to sports in some time. The Balls are turning into the Kardashians of basketball, and that’s not a compliment. Any story involving them is a good story. I worry that — if Lonzo is successful — more parents will act in a similar manner in order to grab headlines for their children, all across the country. It would be a nightmare come to life, one that I have absolutely no interest in seeing.

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer


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