Friday, July 10, 2009

Top 10 impossible ways to improve sports

Don Quixote tilted at windmills; I tilt at sports. Here's ten ways to make sports better that will never, ever happen.

10) Outlaw athletes in broadcasting. Let's see; we've got people who go to school to learn how to perform as broadcast journalists. We also have people who spend their lives studying every possible nuance, maybe even with extensive statistical analysis, or from cultivating managerial and coaching sources over decades of work. And over here, we've got a guy who used to play the game, probably with such a monomaniacal focus that he has active contempt of study or thought. But on the plus side, the athlete also has a lifetime of recited cliches and tired anecdotes, along with a need to cover for the friends he has that are still in the game. By all means, let's keep hearing from the meatheads.

9) No non-sports coverage of athletes.
Hundreds of years ago, one of the most successful composers in classical music was, well, a raging anti-Semite. Had he worked today, and this unfortunate aspect of his personality remained constant and well-known, I'm fairly sure that no one would have listened to his work. But, well, people didn't know, or care, and we still get to listen to Wagner, which means that Apocalypse Now still gets to have "Ride of the Valkyries" play when the helicopter gunships come over the horizon.

The point? Knowing stuff about Wagner, the man, drives no benefit to your enjoyment of his music; in all likelihood, it's an active detriment. The same thing goes for athletes, really. Let's stop hurting ourselves by caring about who and what they do outside of the spotlights.

8) No taxpayer money to fund stadiums. The jobs that are created by these jobs are mostly myths, the organizations that they reward do not need any help at all, and the corporate welfare is absolutely rife. Future generations will wonder how we could have possibly been so stupid, really.

7) Minor leagues outlawed.
I don't mean that there should be no minor leagues; I mean that they should not be slaves to a major league master. If every team was independent, with their own ability to sign and develop talent, actual pennant races with integrity, and maybe even the ability to move franchises up and down in minor league designations to avoid fire sales at the top level... well, there's a reason why college sports make money all over the country. That's because they actually play games that matter.

6) Decriminalize steroids. Not because I really want to see every player juicing like mad in a dystopian nightmare of body modifications, but because I've already seen the movie of what happens when you try to keep these things out of the game. It doesn't work, because there's just too much money involved in cheating, and cheater technology is always ahead of detection technology. Since the fans don't care, the players don't care, that just leaves us with the media? And who the hell cares about them?

5) Short and/or single game playoffs. Want to know why March Madness is so popular? It's all about the Madness, really.Single-game excitement factories, as opposed to best-of-seven holy wars. So let's go back to regular seasons that mean something, with playoffs that have more of that NFL Playoff / NCAA college hoop experience of Any Given Day. Especially in the earlier rounds, where a low seed can catch lightning in a bottle and really fire up the public imagination.

4) Local ticket sales only. Maybe I'm trying to hold the ocean back with a broom on this one, but making life easier for Road Fan to invade and ruin home field advantage should not be easy. I realize this is completely naive, but a nation of people rooting for teams that aren't local... it's not good. Especially not in the long run.

3) No third men in. When a batter rushes the mound, everyone else who jumps in -- from either side -- gets tossed. And if you go, you go -- none of this "Hold Me Back!" nonsense. Within a few months, I guarantee you that we'd be done with 80% of the timewaste, in every sport.

2) Anti-monopoly action against the Lemur. Ask any hard-core NHL fan -- which is to say any NHL fan -- and they'll tell you that the Lemur ruined the game coverage. In comparison with TNT, their NBA coverage is second-rate. The MLB Sunday night work is the Joe Morgan train wreck, and every summer, they inspire multiple murders with the Home Run Derby. Oh, and the MNF telecasts have brought us Dennis Miller, Tony Kornheiser, and at least 40 points to my blood pressure, along with the blood in my eyes. Too many sports, too much coverage... too much capacity for abuse.

1) Financial closure. Do you know the compensation package of everyone of your coworkers? Probably wouldn't be the best thing for your day-to-day effort do do the job, right? Well, why do we think it's making our enjoyment of sports any better? Honestly, the games are more fun when you don't mix it with accounting.


Tracer Bullet said...

Nice list. I'd also outlaw stupid team nicknames like abstract concepts (the Liberty) and names that can't be pluralized (the Heat). That only works in two instances: Crimson Tide and Fighting Irish. Everybody else can fuck right off.

I'd also legalize bump-and-run coverage until the ball is in the air and the clothesline tackle.

Tim Woodall said...

I would also include using camera angles that were exciting and/or relevant.

How often during the playoffs do we get to see the QB's viewpoint, or the view from halcourt, that actually gives us a sense of just how good/big/fast/tall these athletes really are? And why is it only for 5 seconds and then lost to the ether.

Quit the nose-bleed POV, and give us something that we actually want to see. Impossible? Probably...

DMtShooter said...

Solid point, but things have changed on this in your lifetime. If nothing else, that overhead on wires camera in NFL games for kickoff coverage made me want a bigger television. And HD.

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