I’ve been a faithful and consistent member of the sports media for more than a decade now so I have enough tenure to complain about some things, and if I had the power to change them I would.
But since I don’t have that kind of authority I still have this platform to share my gripes. Now I won’t be suggesting the discontinuation of any sport because writing about competitive events is a source of income for me and others.
With that clear, I will voice my displeasures and like Jay-Z said in Frontin’, “Let me talk to em. I’mma keep it real.”
Since this is a news source for basketball, I will start with the best sport God allowed us to discover. I’ve been watching basketball since Michael Jordan was struggling to get past the physical play of the Detroit Pistons. During that era, there was this violation called illegal defense, meaning defenders had to come with a double team or be within the legal guarding distance of their man.
Now, zone defenses are allowed but defenders can’t stay in the paint for three seconds unless their man is in the vicinity. But now these defenses are almost useless because there is no longer a Shaquille O’Neal destroying the opposition in the paint. Instead power forwards are now knock-down shooters (popularly known as stretch 4s) and centers are just rim protectors, resulting in a truly ineffective defensive set.
Plus point guards, shooting guards and small forwards for most teams shoot the 3 very well so refs should get back to calling illegal defense. Also with the lack of players posting up, I would make an argument for the removal of offensive three seconds in the lane but no one should have the liberty of operating in the lane for too long.
Then something has to be done about the hack-a-terrible-free-throw-shooter rule which I’ve already made my case for but if you haven’t read it click below.
Moving on to the game which moves forward without a clock ticking down—baseball. Since this sport is already played at a snail’s pace and runs for more than three hours on average, let me go ahead and get to it.
This should have been done many years ago but all of the newer stadiums should have been built with a retractable roof. Rain delays should be a thing of the past like small basketball shorts on NBA players. Managers need to start signaling for pitching substitutions and stay near the steps of the dugout especially if there will be multiple substitutions per inning. Bruce Bochy making trips to the mound more than once an inning is not must-see TV.
Also batters should be on a five-foul ball limit after strike two. Starting pitchers should no longer be punished for hitters just hoping to foul off pitches so a possibly dependable member of the bullpen can enter the game and more than likely surrender runs. Pitchers should not be allowed to throw to first as many times as they want and should have to throw a pitch before the pitch clock expires. But I have to applaud Commissioner Rob Manfred for already replacing the four-pitch intentional walk with a simple hand signal from the manager and freeing the All-Star Game of Bud Selig’s silly decision to reward the winning team (National League or American League) with home-field advantage in the World Series.
Manfred also plans to modernize the game even more with a 20-second pitch clock and a way to prevent an 18-inning game, starting with the 2018 season.
Now to the sport that owns the weekend the last quarter of the year—football. No disrespect to the highly-enjoyed NFL but I have to tackle college football first. The games are too long! Longer than NFL games which is baffling.
According to my estimation, college football games are at least 3 ½ hours despite it being already clear who will win the game. Majority of the teams pass the ball most of the game so the clock is constantly stopping, and definitely for too many incomplete passes. It also doesn’t help when long passes are completed and lengthy runs are made, and the clock has to be paused for a few seconds so the chains can be reset.
Get rid of that rule! Let the high school game have that distinction. College football shouldn’t trump the NFL as far as time.
Moving on to the National Football League, which is entertaining but equally overhyped. First things first, the preseason has to be reduced to two games. I realize this interferes with the money but major injuries and concussions could be minimized especially in this climate where people have concerns about the long-term consequences of playing football.
Not to insult the guys who hope to fill the last few spots on the roster but four games isn’t necessary to determine that. With all due respect, most of us don’t want to see a glorified tryout also known as Game 4 of the preseason.
Now I do like the Color Rush idea with the uniforms but football on Thursday besides the season opener and Thanksgiving has to go. Most of the matchups on that night during the 2016 season were hard to watch since nine of the games were blowouts. Yes, the other nine contests had single-digit outcomes but many of those games lacked entertainment.
Change is constant and definitely understandable but Thursday Night Football is just overkill.
When I first started covering sports for television, print and online, literally in that order, I had no idea of how different the task was compared to watching it for entertainment. (What rookie would have?) Knowing you can’t turn some games off or leave early is ‘different’ like Red (DJ Pooh) said in Friday.
For all of the other sports I didn’t mention, I’m going to take LL Cool J’s advice to Wyclef and not even turn my mic on.
Time spent watching sports can be an enjoyable experience but leave us some time for other important things outside of entertainment.