Monday, March 13, 2006

New Rule: No one can criticize another athlete for being driven by greed. If you're such a selfless person, then I demand you walk into your employer's office and demand a paycut. Until you do, you're driven by the almighty dollar as much as the rest of America.

New Rule: If we're banning steroids and its kin for being "performance enhancers" then we must also ban Brian Roberts and the growing number of players using MaxSight, a brand of contacts which filters out 95% of ultraviolet light and highlights the objects more important to the athlete. If that's not performance enhancing and unfair (ask a pitcher how he feels about it), then I don't know what is.

New Rule: No more claims that steroids are not natural. There are only two ways to look at steroids: they're natural because everything is made from something that comes from Earth; or, that steroids are unnatural because they're made artificially by the pharmaceutical companies. And if they are unnatural, then we must ban batting gloves and body armor, too, because they're fabricated and give an unfair advantage to the hitter. At least steroids can help a pitcher out, too.

New Rule: Athletes must stop thanking God after succeeding in their sport. In watching Chipper Jones point to the sky as he touched home plate after hitting his second homerun of the WBC, I thought, "would Chipper be berating God had he popped up to the catcher?" Probably not. If you're going to thank God for your success, he's just as responsible for your failure, so you have to let him know how you feel about that, too.

New Rule: Fans must stop coveting the "Game of Shadows" book as if it is baseball's Bible (which, coincidentally, is also a book filled with fairy tales). The Chronicle claims the book "paints a sweeping picture of Bonds' thoughts about using steroids." How do they know what Barry was thinking? I don't think Bonds has ever said he was jealous that "McGwire was being celebrated as the best slugger of the modern era." Therefore, it is assumptions and not fact. Believe it if you must, but you shouldn't need a book to validate your beliefs of whether or not Bonds used steroids or not. Until a positive steroid test turns up, or Bonds himself admits to using steroids, he is innocent until proven guilty. We can all stop talking about him now.

New Rule: Fans must stop whining about ex-athlete broadcasters because they don't speak as fluently as someone who graduated from broadcasting school. Personally, I would rather listen to someone who knows what they are talking about from first-hand experience than someone who probably has never stepped foot on a diamond past the high-school level, despite the occasional stuttering.

New Rule: The mourning period for Kirby Puckett's death has passed. Yes, he was a great ballplayer and always wore a smile. We get that, but enough's enough. People die all the time, Puckett is no different just because he had a nice smile and generally a pleasant person.

New Rule: Instant replay must be instituted in baseball. It seems a contradiction that baseball, the sport that covets its statistics the mightiest, would let those statistics be affected by arbitrary calls that cannot be overturned, especially by something as precise as instant replay. The least Bud Selig could do, after watching the U.S. celebrate an ill-gotten win against Japan, is institute the replay in the World Baseball Classic and wean its way into Major League Baseball. Baseball purists will cry at the thought of changing their precious sport, but it will be for the better.

New Rule: Hockey has to give me a reason to love or hate the shootout. I've been watching the most hockey I've ever watched in my entire life, but I still cannot figure out whether I like or dislike it.

New Rule: Basketball has to reduce the number of teams that make the playoffs from 8 per conference to at least 6. It's absolutely pathetic that half of the teams in the NBA make the playoffs. Baseball, surprisingly, has the playoffs down right, especially with Selig's institution of the Wild Card. Eight of baseball's 30 teams (a little over 25%) make the playoffs and they're a lot more interesting than watching an eight-seed with a record barely over .500 getting squashed by an elite team like the Detroit Pistons or San Antonio Spurs.

New Rule: People have to pick at least one upset when filling out their NCAA tournament brackets. What's the point in just comparing the ranks of the teams and picking the better of the two?

New Rule: There will be either a one-minute time limit or a three-shot limit in the Slam Dunk Contest. After watching the relatively miniature Nate Robinson take 10 minutes to successfully make one dunk, and then beat Andre Iguodala (who completed his dunks in a minimum of tries) by one point is a travesty. At least penalize them for missing.

New Rule: The WBC, which is still a baby -- Bud's baby, actually -- must make some important changes before next time. First, the scheduling is all wrong. Hold the Classic either in the middle of July, creating a four-week break in the MLB similar to how the Olympics split up February-into-March in the NHL. The Homerun Derby and All-Star break can sandwich the WBC, or both can be held before or after the event, it doesn't matter. Secondly, the round-robin style of play is unbaseball-like. Have pools the same way they're set up now, only have a best-of-three or best-of-five series that way the good teams won't get beaten by the fluke, like the way Venezuela lost to Cuba on Sunday, March 12. The pitch-count and tie-break rules must be abolished, as well. Play the games out until there's a winner, and let the managers keep their pitchers in as long as they want. Until the upper management in the MLB puts a clause in the players' contracts that expressly allows for the termination of a contract if the player is injured in WBC circumstances, the players should be allowed to go over and risk injury under their own free will. Lastly, Bud Selig has to find a way to improve the quality of officiating in the WBC. It hasn't been completely bad thus far, but it hasn't been good either. The strike zones are consistently inconsistent.

New Rule: LeBron James must have a role in each of SportsCenter's commercials from now until he retires (or just isn't funny anymore). The commercial where Scott Van Pelt steals his chair is a television classic. In another, Lebron James is trying to clear a paper jam in the copy room, and Stuart Scott walks by, stops and stares at him for a minute, and says, "The Chosen One, huh?" In fact, most of the SportsCenter commercials are hilarious; if only the actual show was as good as the commercials are funny...

New Rule: Fans must condemn all athletes who speak unpopular opinions, rather than just the ones they don't like. Most fans hate Curt Schilling because he said Alex Rodriguez's ball-slapping incident in the 2004 ALCS was "bush-league." Those same fans then adore Ozzie Guillen, who called Rodriguez a hypocrite for being wishy-washy in choosing a country to represent in the WBC. Let's be consistent with our calls here, ladies and gentlemen. Hate Curt, hate Ozzie, or don't hate them at all for speaking their mind.

New Rule: People must stop regarding Pat Tillman as a "hero" because he quit football in order to join the armed forces, ultimately resulting in his untimely death. He knew what he was getting into by willfully enlisting in the armed forces. It's not like he was held at gunpoint and forced to defend his country. He's not a hero, he was just someone who was unfortunately killed well before his time by friendly fire. Society is getting a bit too liberal in administering the hero labels.