Friday, February 26, 2010

Fixing Sports, One League at a Time

All sports have a handful (or tons) of dumb rules that piss casual fans off to no end. After talking with the Lube Tube on gChat late last week, we bickered about a few and I knew the people needed a meatball this week, so I thought I'd write something for you.

I'm a Yankees fan, if you hadn't heard, so I'm never going to be for a salary cap. Don't give me the weak 'only the big teams make the playoffs, win in the playoffs, win 'ships' argument. It's garbage, hot garbage. In the first decade of the 2000s, 23.5 teams made the playoffs (.5 is Cinci losing the one-game playoff vs. NYM in 2000) and 21 of them WON a series. Fourteen teams won a pennant and eight teams won it all. Show me another league with numbers like that, it doesn't exist.

I'm getting myself upset defending my favorite sport and getting off topic. In regards to what I would change several small things to get the game speed up. Try watching a national TV Yanks/Sawx broadcast and get a full night's sleep. It's impossible. Limit the number of throws over to 1st to keep a runner on. It can get excessive, so new rule is three pitches per batter. Next rule, per the Lube Tube (with a tweak): 15 seconds between receiving the ball and starting your wind-up or making a throw to keep a runner on (he suggested 10). The waiting games batters and pitchers play with each other is great for hardcore fans (occasionally) but it drives everyone else crazy. Last rule is for batters, you have eight seconds to leave the box and get a sign, adjust your cup, fix your gloves, tap your helmet, etc. Keep it moving.

Everyone knows the last two minutes of a close basketball game takes about as long as the first 38 or 46. It's excruciating to watch and so freaking predictable. Let's speed this up by enforcing the league's intentional foul rule. If a foul is deemed intentional (which every foul when your team is down with seconds to go is) it's a flagrant and the fouled player gets two shots plus his team gets the ball. It's unfair that the team who is losing/being outplayed for 90% of the game gets to change the way it's played in the last 10% and give themselves a chance to get back in. I don't like it.

The Lube Tube says if the losing team when they are down by 10+ and there is less than a minute remaining to make it a technical. I am on board with this 90%. Is making almost every game that much faster worth giving up historically amazing performances like the Jason Williams Miracle Minute and the Tracy McGrady 13 points in 35 seconds? I don't know.

Take the skirts off the QBs. Mike and Mike made a great point today when they were trying to find a way to get the NHL back into the four major US sports discussion. They noted the NBA is a star's league where the players have more fans than the teams or the game itself. On the flip side, the NFL has more fans of the game than they do of the players. When Brady went down, the league didn't see a major letdown. Him getting destroyed by Pollard actually birthed a new star in Matt Cassel. If a QB gets killed by a defensive player, it's just a part of the game. My friend T-Dog from Texas used to share a quote with me that a coach once told him: "Football is not a contact sport, it's a collision sport." Hits are a part of the game. Let's rewind things to a few years back when you could smack a guy a step and a half after he released the ball. The sport will be fine without a couple of stars. Unless every starting QB goes down the same week, I don't see why we are so protective of them now.

This reminds me of when the NBA enforced the hand-check rule and took away some of the physicality of the game. This may just be because the Knicks have been garbage the last 10 years, but I miss watching those games when MJ couldn't drive without being accosted. The physical element that teams like the Knicks, Heat and Pistons brought to the game every night. The NFL is the premier contact/collision sport in our country, let's not make it soccer, please.


1 comment:

  1. don't give me the number of different pennant winners and ship winners.

    give me the stat of total playoff appearances for top tier salary teams when compared to that of lower salaried teams. The disadvantage comes in playoff appearances. Low payroll teams hope to make the playoffs and occasionally get lucky ('08 Rays?). High payroll teams can BOOK IT that they will make the playoffs in baseball.

    'nuff said.