In the vein of Grantland’s Half-Baked Ideas, I have a few proposals for fixing some of the issues in sports. Keep in mind, these are cockamamie ideas that have no appreciation for reality or respect for these games. I have no right to criticize or act like I can fix things, but this is the internet and unwarranted, unrequested, unqualified criticism is what the internet is for.
Sport: Soccer a.k.a. “the beautiful game” a.k.a. futbol a.k.a. the other football
In addition to being low-scoring, a chief complaint about soccer is that it lacks variation throughout the game. It’s 90 minutes of guys on the pitch trying to make something happen. This year, watching the World Cup, I gained an appreciation for the nuances, the tension of a team who keeps the pressure on, the thrill of the buildup to a shot on goal, but with if you’re in a bar watching a soccer game, there aren’t too many reasons to stop a conversation and tune in to watch. Unless it’s a corner, or free kick it’s easy to miss a goal if you’re not glued to the TV set.
Solution: Power Play
Whenever a player receives a yellow-card, they also have to sit out for a 5 minutes without replacement. Exactly like hockey, the team being penalized now plays short-handed for the next five minutes, fighting an uphill battle to survive. This opens up opportunities for scoring, as well as bringing a highlight to what otherwise might be a match without hills or valleys. This past World Cup, there was an average of 2.92 yellow cards given per game, so the Power Plays wouldn’t be too common an occurrence.
Problem: It’s the Lady Version of the NBA
The problem with the WNBA is that it is just another version of the NBA. There are similar rules and the same game, but it is proportionally less athletic and flashy. While the WNBA is home to a lot of great stars (call me Maya, call me Shoni), there are very few in-game dunks and the other exciting plays. There is a lot of fundamentally sound basketball, but the WNBA lacks the thrilling moments that make basketball the sport of choice for the Twitter Generation.
Solution: Sudden Death Overtime
Every overtime is Sudden Death. As in, next point wins. There is no way that this isn’t an awesome idea. Sudden death produces some of the most exciting sport you can ask for. (see: 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Atlanta Hawks vs. D. League Select). Every sudden death jumper or lay-up will automatically make it’s way onto the SportsCenter Top 10. Seimone Augustus will become known as “Sue-Ellen Death” when she holds the record for most overtime game winners. Kirk Goldsberry will have to create new graphics to show where games are won. This idea rocks.
Problem: It’s Boring
If you’ve ever watched a baseball game,
you’re probably 60 years old you probably learned a few things. First, they’re long. The average length of a baseball game has increased in the past half-decade from 3 hours to 3.5 hours. Second, they’re uneventful. Don’t get me wrong, a Clayton Kershaw fastball is a sight to behold, but since the end (not really) of the steroid era, it’s a pitcher’s league and what that means is low scoring, low hitting, low energy games.
I was doing a lot of research on how to fix baseball, but with every idea, you run into an inevitable roadblack: tradition. Baseball is build on tradition, and you know what? I like it. I don’t want to introduce rules to force pitcher’s to pitch quickly. I don’t want to limit innings, bring the back walls in or expand the batter’s box. Replay doesn’t take up as much time as you think. So let’s roll with the punches, man. I say introduce better seating in MLB stadiums. For this 2014 season, only 3 teams (San Francisco, St. Louis, Boston) sold more than 90% of their seats on average. I say, if we’re going to have long games, low attendance by old people, and low energy, let’s expand the seats. Let’s put in bigger seats, couches, La-Z-Boy recliners and do it like the Jaguars are doing, embrace mediocrity in style. If people are going to be sitting around for hours, let’s keep them warm and comfortable.
I’m going to post about my experience at my first U.S. Open game. Stay tuned and don’t forget to check out Haikummute and Seminaroot!