Playing Commish Of U.S. Sports

Steve Murray
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Wednesday - November 23, 2005
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Last week a question was put out to Sports Bar listeners on KKEA: If you could change anything in sports, what would it be?

Sounds like a good time for a rant.

The Designated Hitter: The only thing more bizarre than this made-up position is that it’s found in only one league. In no other sport will you find such a division of the rules. Back in the days of the banjo-hitting pitcher it may have been a sound idea to have someone come to bat who actually had a chance to make contact. But with pitchers now no longer embarrassing themselves at the plate it is time to get rid of the position and shift the immobile batsmen back to first base where they had played for a century.


Overtime Loss in Hockey:

After it is all said and done the only thing that matters when you leave the ice is the victory. Teams should not be rewarded for losing no matter when it occurs.

Salary Cap in Baseball:

Major League Baseball is quickly moving toward third world economics where the rich consume and control the resources while the poor try to scrape together an existence. The game cannot continue to allow New York to spend more than $200 million while Tampa is forced to get by with less than $30 million. (2005 numbers)

College Football Overtime Rules: After four hours of intense competition where every movement is carefully orchestrated, the game is reduced to a shootout where large portions are stripped away and statistics are completely distorted. There are no kickoffs or exciting returns. No punters. Hardly ever a running play. And how about this: With the field reduced to only 25 yards, does a corner-back who picks off a pass at the five have only to return it 20 yards to score? Ridiculous.

Baseball Home Field Advantage: You battle all season long, through injuries and slumps, to finish at the top of your division. Your reward? Not home field advantage in the World Series. That’s given to whatever league wins the All Star Game. League officials says it’s too difficult logistically to do what the NBA and NHL do.

NCAA Football Playoff:

This may be the most ridiculous of all. The NCAA crowns a champion in every sport it authorizes except Div.-1A football. Although many schools proudly list their national championships, the truth is there has never been one. At least not as far as the NCAA is concerned.

NFL Hypocrisy /Dominance: Every sport wants to be seen in a good light and spends big bucks on promoting a positive image. The NFL, however, has taken a near Big Brother approach to its control. It killed ESPN’s Playmakers because it portrayed a NFL team as anything but an idealistic entity. It wanted no ads for the film Two for the Money during its broadcasts even though gambling has played a huge part in the popularity of the sport. The list goes on.


Seat Licensing: This is akin to a car salesman giving you the “I don’t do this for everyone deal” line of crap. Just tell me what it costs. Yes the seat is “only” $25 and the licensing fee “just” $15. Don’t insult my intelligence. Just let me know it’s going to cost $40 to see the game, give me my ticket and get out of the way.

Deteriorating Skills in the NBA and MLB: If everyone seems to agree that athletes are bigger, stronger, faster, better than those of old, how come far too many are unable to perform the basic skills of the job? And better yet, why do teams allow this to happen? Back in the day baseball players were taught five ways to slide into a base. Now they are lucky if they can fall down without spiking themselves. Bunting and the hit-andrun are now a specialty. The NBA is no better. Shooting with both hands, penetration without palming and hitting free throws are things to be admired, not expected.

Advancing the Ball After Time Out. If this was allowed in a high school game you would think it a strange but acceptable thing to do. How the NBA can determine that allowing a team to advance the ball to midcourt instead of throwing it in from the base line after a time out in the final two minutes of a game is just dumb.

Baseball Umpires’ Arrogance: If you slow the tapes down, it’s clear that officials get 95 percent of the calls correct. So why do they insist on bringing pressure on themselves by refusing to admit they may have erred and get assistance from their coworkers?

Self-centered Athletes: Not to sound like a holier-than-thou dweeb, but it would be nice if athletes realized that it is their skill that is special, not them. That unless you are Barry Bonds, LeBron James or Sidney Crosby, nothing you sign will find itself at auction. Yes, you deserve your privacy. Yes, there is pressure in what you do, but you’re not as important as a teacher nor give as much as the military. So knock it off.

Of course there are more, but space is limited.

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