Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Breaking Down ESPN Magazine's "31 New Rules"
The latest ESPN The Magazine has an interesting article about changing sports. They are doing what all of us sports nuts have done at some point or another: lay out our list of changes if we were the Czar Of All Sports.
I'm going to look at the list of 31 and rank how I feel about them in order.
No. 1 - MANDATE UNIVERSAL REPLAY (ESPN's #1): I'm in full agreement here. I love tradition, but I also know that we live in an age where you can sit at home and instantly replay anything at any time. We live in an age where fans sitting at the stadium can instantly watch a replay on the gigantic video screens. So why not let the leagues have those same tools to correct wrong calls?
-SCRAP THE ALTERNATE POSSESSION RULE (ESPN #5): I hate the arrow in college basketball. Jump it up!
-LET HIGHER SEEDS PICK PLAYOFF FOES (ESPN #16): I'm big on this one too. The Colts and Saints should be able to pick their opponent next week. The Patriots and Cowboys should be able to do so this week. I think the same thing should happen in the baseball playoffs.
-UNIFY FOOTBALL'S RULES (ESPN #8): I like this. The NFL and college have too many rule differences. Keep the NFL's rule on down by opponent contact and keeping two feet inbounds. Keep college's wide hashmarks and lack of a two-minute warning.
-SEED NBA PLAYOFFS WITHOUT REGARD FOR CONFERENCE (ESPN #15): I've been big on this for a long time now. During much of the last decade, the Western Conference Finals has been the de-facto title tilt. Have all six division champions make it in, along with the 10 next best teams. Seed them one to 16 and have them play regardless of geography.
-ENFORCE EXISTING RULES (ESPN #30): Yes! Enforce the rules that already on the books before .
-NO DH (ESPN #22): Love it. I hate that guys can make a career out of just being a hitter and nothing else. Pitchers need to hit!
-BAN THE WHIP (ESPN #28): Jockeys should not be allowed to beat a horse with a stick -- it's animal cruelty!!!
-LIMIT CATCHER VISITS (ESPN #4): I think we all can get behind this one.
-MAKE FALL EASIER (ESPN #29): Basically they want more playoff teams in baseball. I'd like that too.
-DROP THE DROPPED THIRD STRIKE (ESPN #23): I don't see why catchers have to throw out a guy when he drops the third strike.
-CHANGE FIELD DIMENSIONS (ESPN #13): This will never happen because it means dumping several rows of those high priced seats. But it does stand to reason that our playing fields need to be made bigger. A bigger court would make basketball more fun. A larger field would be awesome for football. But it ain't happening.
-MAKE PITCHERS PITCH AND HITTERS HIT (ESPN #3): Make pitchers have to pitch once they get on the rubber. Make hitters have to hit once they get in the batters box. No stepping off the mound or stepping out of the box.
-ALLOW 30 SECONDS OF PENALTY-FREE TD CELEBRATION (ESPN's #10): Love this. Let these guys have fun when they score a TD. We are!
-TOSS GOLF'S SCORECARDS (ESPN #7): I see you working. Same as instant replay, we live in a time where a golfer's score is instantly on a gazillion websites. Why should they bother keeping their own score when a freakin' camera follows them around at all times? There's nothing better than someone signing a scorecard that contains an error and become disqualified.
-FIVE MINUTE PENALTY FOR FLOPPERS (ESPN #25): This is for soccer, folks. But how much better would soccer be if it wasn't filled with guys falling down as if they were just shot.
-LET MMA FIGHTERS ATTACK DOWNED FOES (ESPN #18): Remember when MMA was raw and violent? Still is, but not to that extent. Now if an MMA fighter gets into trouble, he falls to the canvas and his opponent cannot kick or stomp them. Let 'em!
-NO FOULING OUT (ESPN #19): I get it, but don't like it. I think that if there was no real penalty for fouling, then the game will get more violent and ugly.
-STANDARDIZE TRUNK LENGTH (ESPN #11): I'm not a fan of boxers who wear their shorts and protective padding near their nipples.
-CONTRACT 40-MAN ROSTERS (ESPN #9): Yeah, there's nothing better than watching a mid-September contest between the Brewers and Padres and seeing both managers use a ton of pinch hitters and relief pitchers. Still, over half of the league uses this time to bring up their top prospects to get big league experience.
-ALLOW A LITTLE ROUGHING THE PASSER (ESPN #21): I agree that QBs have it easy nowadays. While I'm not big on roughing the passer, these guys don't need to be handled with white gloves.
-IT AIN'T OVER ... (ESPN #31): Basically it is a revamping the argument about overtimes in sports. I'm with it on shootouts (hate 'em), but little else.
-MAKE NASCAR DRIVERS EARN STARTING SPOTS (ESPN #14): I get why NASCAR automatically gives the top 35 point leaders a starting spot. Sponsors and ratings. What would happen if Dale Jr. doesn't qualify for a race? That ain't happening.
-ELIMINATE THE NBA'S AGE LIMIT (ESPN #12): I'm actually in favor of the age limit. Yeah, you don't get that first year of LeBron or Kobe ... but you also won't get stuck paying busts Kwame or Korleone.
-TWEAK THE NHL'S WAIVER SYSTEM (ESPN #27): I'm not knowledgeable about what happens in hockey's waiver rules.
-SEED 16 WORLD CUP TEAMS (ESPN's #6): I couldn't care less.
-SEED FOR SURFACE IN TENNIS (ESPN #17): Don't care about this, either.
-PERMIT FREE DROPS FROM FAIRWAY DIVOTS (ESPN #20): Nope. Still not caring.
-BRING BACK THE PERFECT TEN (ESPN #24): Figure skating? Come on!
-RETHINKING SOCCER SUSPENSIONS (ESPN #26): No one cares!
-SPIKE NFL PACE OF PLAY (ESPN's #2): Their solution is the limit offenses one huddle per set of downs and then shorten the play clock to 35 seconds. I like the thinking, but I'm not sure I'd like what the NFL would look like if this happened.
Brought to you by the Sportz Assassin at 2:07 AM