Monday, May 20, 2013

Sports Improvements

The Pro Bowl has been in the news continuously for ways to make the spectacle watchable.  This article puts forward the idea of a draft to draw interest.  I've heard different variations, but the one that sounded the most interesting was when the top vote getters in the AFC and NFC draw from a pool of pro bowlers irrespective of conference.  Commentators also put out the idea of putting serious money on the line.  The amount of money is unknown, but I would imagine that the amount would keep increasing until the players actually played.

Even then though, it's unknown how many players would risk their career for a one time payout.  I'm sure there would be a few, but it would be hard to get a whole team to gel around the idea (let alone two).  The idea of switching to flag football has also been brought up as an idea to minimize injuries and encourage more spirited play.  An even more interesting idea that was batted around was that a game shouldn't be played at all.  Instead, since being selected is an individual achievement, a series of challenges would be set out that all the players would compete in, such as throwing accuracy/distance, kicking accuracy, etc.  This might prove interesting in seeing what linebackers have the 'stuff' to pull off even a fifteen yard field goal.
On the sports radio show they had a guy on who was decrying the designated hitter rule and predicted it's inevitable demise.  I got to thinking about football though and the fact that players don't play 'both sides of the ball'.  Before continuing, I should point out that even for football that the idea of having players play 'both sides' has been put out as an idea to improve game safety as teams would favor long-term speed and endurance (cardio) over refrigerator sized players who need oxygen after every two plays.  But anyway, point being that in football they want players who can excel at individual positions on offense or defense.  In sports like soccer or rugby, the best ball handlers also have to try and be the best defensive players as well, which keeps players from being a true master of any one aspect of the game.

The designator hitter rule would seem to be an acknowledgment of this fact, but still, baseball can be boring (face it).  Might it make sense to allow for roster expansions so that teams can field whatever offense they feel gives them the best advantage?  I previously defended the DH because of the poor batting quality of pitchers, but catchers, generally, aren't too much better and often bat at towards the bottom of the order.  As another example, it probably wouldn't boggle the mind to come by strong first basemen who can't hit.  Some 60/40 batting rotation of DHs and (probably) outfielders may only kick off an arms race where defenders get better and better along with the batting, but if football is any guide, defense can't keep up.

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