Single page view By Patrick Hruby
Page 2

Overturned British tea taxes. The end of unequal suffrage. Prohibition replaced by the beer helmet. The great thing about America is that you can always change the rules. And all it takes is political will, money, popular support and money.

Did we mention money?

Barry Bonds
If you think there's no way to get this guy out then we think the AAA club would love to have you.

The athletic world is no different. When stall tactics and stagnant scores threatened pro basketball's very existence, the NBA adopted the shot clock; when viewers became blasť at the prospect of bikini-clad competitors, Olympic beach volleyball added bikini-clad cheerleaders. Brilliant. Time and again, sports have adapted to contemporary challenges, tweaking and tinkering to produce a better product.

Which is where Page 2 comes in.

Every sport has silly rules, official commandments and unwritten customs that are annoying, unnecessary and just plain dumb. To wit: Why can't the ground cause a fumble? Why is the college 3-point line so darn close? What follows are some of Page 2's athletic pet peeves, along with suggestions to make things better.

Is this the last word on lame sports rules? Of course not. There's always room to revise. After all, that's the beauty of America. Sports, too.

Besides, we had to save a few items for the next slow news day, so here's a handful of them:

Offsides in Soccer
Soccer has never caught on in the United States. Why is that? Could it be the almost complete lack of, um … scoring? Forget offsides; everything short of pantsing the defender should be allowed on the way to the net.

In fact, pantsing should be allowed, too.

Intentional Walks in Baseball
Let's see: Spend $60 on a ticket to watch someone not pitch to David Ortiz? No thanks. Better to grant each team a single intentional walk per game, the way the NFL doles out limited coaches' challenges. And when the pitcher decides to chicken out? Give the batter two free bases.

Vote: Change or Not To Change?
You've heard the pitch. Are some rule changes in order?
Vote: Page 2's Dumbest Rules

Really, why should a meatball artist get a near-mulligan because he can't get the likes of Barry Bonds out?

Boxing Scoring
Besides a healthy respect for sequined apparel, what do boxing and figure skating have in common?

Try subjective scoring. Outrageous judging. Unsatisfying decisions.

While there's no way to fix figure skating -- short of making it a full-contact affair -- there's an easy solution for boxing: have every fight end with either a knockout or one fighter quitting. If it takes 22 rounds, so be it. Settle things like men.

NBA Late-Game Timeouts
In the NBA, each team can call two full timeouts in the final two minutes -- and call 'em they do, turning free-flowing basketball into an excruciating adult version of freeze tag.

Look, these guys know the plays. More important, they know how to play. So let them. In the last two minutes, allow a single timeout per team.

One more complaint: Why do 20-second timeouts last a minute or more?

Amateurism in College Sports
We live in a free society. We believe in free markets. Should we subject some of our best and brightest athletes to an outdated, bunkum philosophy that runs contrary to both?


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