Changing one thing about the sports world in 2008 would be like changing the scent of the liniment in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ or Miami Dolphins’ locker room. Not likely to have much impact.
So we’ve come up with several things we’d like to see:
— More replays. The NFL does replays right, the NBA is tinkering with more and even baseball is open to the idea now. The first value of sports officiating is getting it right, and umpires and referees aren’t diminished one bit by the available technology.
— Just once, someone actually take it with them, helping us to better understand Carl Pohlad.
— The NHL get its games back on real TV (ESPN, NBC, TNT). Hockey won’t build a fan base on what sounds like an all-sing-along network (Versus).
— Every monetary amount in sports immediately get divided by 10: salaries, ticket prices, franchise valuations, concession prices. Result: Somewhere, a family of four actually attends a game.
— A moratorium on “tinkling piano music” features in TV sports, dripping with pathos. When somebody’s mom has a cancer scare, it’s just as life-altering if he’s your mail carrier or the guy at the next desk as it is for a linebacker.
— For all of 2008, whenever Kobe Bryant phones in to a sports talk show to air his latest trade demand, the host is required to shout “Oh, shut up!” and drop the call.
— The average annual salary of a university’s math, science, English, law, medical or business school head become the maximum available to its sports coaches.
— Apologies — such as the one pitcher Andy Pettitte got away with (“If what I did was an error in judgment…”) after being named in baseball’s Mitchell Report — no longer count. In fact, that ol’ If you were offended, I’m sorry approach automatically doubles whatever penalty a guy faces.
— If five words or phrases are prohibited from the sports world — only five! — 2008 will be Eden-like. They are: steroids, assault, renegotiate, handgun and 3 a.m.
— It’s asking way too much, especially on short notice, to expect peace and good will toward men from our athletes and coaches. So for the next 12 months, we’ll settle for them being kind to dogs.