Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Sports Pet Peeves

Originally published at www.uwritesports.com

Having advanced deep into middle age, I can't help but know more answers than there are questions. Small children even look inquisitively at me and point. Unfortunately, they never ask the really important questions.Although we live in the City of Champions, formerly known as The Hub, that hardly insulates us from pockets of sports folly. I'm sure you have your own list, but I'll start us off.

1. Blatantly, patently offensive hometown officiating. Gene Hackman pretty much covered it in Hoosiers, but it's become an art form unto itself in the NBA.

2a. Shot selection from hell. I know that Raef LaFrentz shoots 36% on three-pointers, but why is it that I've seen him make three this year and miss seventy seven? Do they count his shots during practice as well? (Illinois, you should read this)

2b. Seven foot tall guys not named Dirk who think they should make a living shooting three-point shots. Brad Lohaus, Travis Knight, Raef LaFrentz, and Shaquille O'Neal-three of these guys are kind of alike, and belong on Sesame Street. One is a real NBA center. Raef, get in the paint.

3. Timeouts in the NBA that allow the ball to be advanced to half court. I'm in favor of allowing the ball to be advanced directly underneath the other teams' basket. Makes about as much sense.

4. Bill Cowher. The angst on his snarling face just nauseates me. Take your medicine.

5. Abominable free throw shooting. I'll excuse Shaq, because his hands must be so big, it feels like shooting a grape. High school kids think that all that 'And One' stuff is basketball. Put 'em on the line and it's Mystery Science Theater 3000'.

6. Guys who constantly insult John Madden and Joe Morgan. Madden and Morgan know more about their sports in their little finger than most of their critics in their supersized-ego brains.

7. Nitwit radio. On the morning after the NCAA Championship game, which was competitive and hard-fought, we have to listen to Right Wing radio , with the apotheosis of Anne Coulter. Does Anne know anything about hoop? If so, she's welcome on the radio. I actually had to put on the "Fountains of Wayne CD' to hear 'All Kinds of Time'. At least the song is about football.

8. Mel Kiper. Actually, I'm just jealous because he has more hair than I do, as does the average onion.

9. Jerry Remy calling runs 'points', as in put another point on the board. Love the RemDawg, but stop calling runs points.

10. Truly, madly, deeply outrageous college sports fans. Okay, so I went to Harvard, and we haven't won anything except debate competitions. We can't even win Presidential elections anymore. But there needs to be a March Madness tournament for the most obnoxious fans. Number one seeds: Notre Dame, Nebraska, Duke, and Michigan.

11. Bad Mascots. The Phillie Phanatic is cool, the Chicken an icon, but Wally scores low.

12. The LaRussa Doctrine. We need a maximum number of lefty-righty switches in an inning. Tony LaRussa (a genius on the downside, absent great players) pioneered the three-hour baseball game. Stop the madness.

13. Publicly financed sports stadiums. I always thought the biggest ripoffs in society were college, weddings, funerals, and divorces- until the proliferation of multimillionaire owners going on the dole.

14. Artificial turf basketball flooring. If it doesn't come from a tree, then it doesn't belong on the floor.

15. Donald Fehr. Marvin Miller had a certain savoir faire, plus in his era, the Simon Legree owners did take advantage of the players. Fehr is a smarmy weasel who makes the owners look good, which isn't easy. (Gene Orza, you're tied for Fehr status).

16. Work stoppages. Actually, they're play stoppages. You NHL guys are never getting that money back, and neither are the vendors, security people, bull crew and everybody else who actually needs the money to take care of their families and send the kids to college.

17. The 3-point shot line in high school. Actually, it's not the line, it's where it is. Move it out to twenty-three feet, and put it in play for the last three minutes of the game. Same for college.

18. Signage. Well, I know the Red Sox need two-hundred and seventy two signs across every free surface in Fenway. I'm expecting to see a Coca-Cola emblem on the mound, Microsoft on the skin part of the infield, and DELL carved into the outfield grass. Oh my gawd, I've suggested it, now Theo and the Trio will probably get it done.

Why only eighteen? Why not? It's Dave Cowens' number, and I like it. Plus, to paraphrase 'Billy Madison' anybody reading sports columns goes home dumber. May God have mercy on our souls.


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