A couple of weeks ago, Bob Molinaro had this comment in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:
“Hoop du jour: ESPN has released its “Way-Too-Early Top 25” basketball poll for 2020-21. We’re bored, yes, but this bored?”
Sad to say but we are indeed that bored; and with the boredom, comes sports writing that borders on the phantasmagorical such as the prose under headlines like these:
- A Bold Move For Every NFL Team Before The Draft [Aside: “Bold Move” is about equivalent to “Wild Guess Pulled Out Of Thin Air”.]
- Five Ways The NBA Can Crown A Champion
- MLB Will [or Will Not] Open The Season With [or Without] Fans In The Stands
You get the idea…
I am convinced that sports will be back after the world has found a way to deal with COVID-19 simply because sports are a form of entertainment and I believe that entertainment is a necessary ingredient in a civilized society. Ergo, I have taken the opportunity of my self-imposed stay-at-home directive to think about the return of the sports that I consume as part of my entertainment diet. Specifically, I have some things that I would like to see jettisoned from those sports once they are back on the menu.
I do not delude myself that these things will not come back with the sports that they despoil in the present time nor do I think that I am going to create a groundswell – or what politicians call a movement – that will render these things to the dustbin of history. [Hat Tip to Leon Trotsky for the “dustbin of history”.] Nonetheless, I will not shed a single tear if any or all of the following things magically disappear:
- The NFL should stop playing 4 Exhibition Games before the regular season. They are absolutely meaningless and far too many players are injured in these nonsensical games.
- In MLB – and even in some minor league games – players come to bat with walk-up music. It is stupid and not part of the game. Any player who allows walk-up music to be played for him should also expect to hear Chopin’s Funeral March played for them every time they make an out.
- By the way, might it be possible to start a baseball game without having a ceremonial first pitch – – or sometimes two of them?
- Too many NBA games have devolved into 3-point shooting contests. The Rockets and Nets tried 99 3-point shots in regulation and 7 more in an overtime period one night. That averages out to exactly 2 such attempts every minute. Bet that was a fun game to watch. Maybe put a limit on the number of attempts by a team in a game?
- No more reporting on “All-Star snubs” or “Hall of Fame snubs”. Here is the gold standard for such reporting. Joe DiMaggio was passed over for the Baseball Hall of Fame four times before he got in. If a player is “snubbed” commensurate with that standard, write about it. Otherwise…
- The real story about Halls of Fame is that they are being quickly diluted with players who are not nearly comparable with the players inducted when that Hall of Fame was in its “start-up phase”. Why not shame the voters when they continue that dilution?
- While on the subject of no more reporting, how about we ignore – in perpetuity – anything that Pete Rose says or does? [Obviously, this dictum would be retracted when Pete Rose goes to the Great On-Deck Circle in the Sky; obituaries would be appropriate.]
- Anyone writing anything that resembles a “Bracketology report” prior to February 25th of a given year should receive 30 lashes.
- Anything and everything that turns National Signing Day into a soap opera event should be a felony.
- Any golf writer who focuses on anything Tiger Woods says or does in a tournament where Woods is 15 shots off the lead should be banned from covering golf and made to cover camel racing in Saudi Arabia.
- The March Madness Final Four games should go back to being played in basketball arenas and not indoor football stadiums.
Thoreau said, “The devil finds work for idle hands.” My hands are no more or less idle in these days of COVID-9 than they were in normal times. But I have had more time to ponder in the last few weeks and the list above is the product of that extra pondering time. Perhaps Satan finds ways to implant thoughts into idle minds?
Finally, I am sure you are glad to have come to the end of this recitation; so, the following definition from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm is an appropriate way to end it:
“Enough: What parents yell into the garage after three hours of drum practice.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………