|Invention Hall of Fame|
By Jim Caple
Page 2 columnist
Sports has been constantly evolving since the Scottish began seeking longer distance from their golf balls. But when you look at our $400 million stadiums and watch our 24-hour sports networks and buy our $180 replica jerseys, it's easy to think that modern sports has finally reached its absolute peak, that there can be no further improvements, that there is nothing left to invent. Or at least nothing that Billy Beane hasn't already thought of first.
And then you see a commercial for the Swingaway and you have to re-evaluate everything.
What are the greatest inventions in sports history? Like the California gubernatorial recall, there are hundreds of candidates but these are the 10 we consider indispensable:
1. Instant replay
It's not quite as amazing as Flubber but it does have the very substantial benefit of having actually been invented.
3. Protective cups
4. Face masks
5. Batting helmets
6. Baseball caps
7. Baseball cards
Title IX gets all the pub but these may have been even more crucial to the development of women's sports. Not to mention providing a great photo op during the 1999 World Cup.
9. Cup holders
10. Football chain markers
As for the 10 worst sports inventions? That's easy. Artificial turf. Luxury suites. Fantasy leagues. 24-hour sports radio. Mini-camps. Gambling. Aluminum bats. Titanium clubs. Bullpen carts. And of course, the worst sports invention of all -- the designated hitter.
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.