Sure, we could talk today about all the great ideas in sports — the Super Bowl, 24-hour sports TV networks, the goalie mask. But the weather has been so rainy and lousy that, quite frankly, we're in a cranky mood. Instead of celebrating all that is great about sports, we can't help but dwell on some of the bad things. So today we look at the worst ideas in sports, from the NFL preseason to the idea that led to the most awful sound in sports.
Four NFL preseason games
As if the NFL's money-printing machine doesn't crank out enough money, the league charges us poor fans regular-season prices to watch a bunch of guys who will be digging ditches in two weeks. Let's knock this thing back to two games. It would cut down on injuries, and if a team can't tell which players to keep after 187 offseason team "activities'' and six weeks of training camp, then two more games against a slew of fourth-stringers aren't going to matter.
Millions play, though there seems to be something inherently wrong with rooting for a player on a team you don't even like. The only thing I dislike more than fantasy sports is listening to anyone (yeah, I'm talking about you) droning on and on about his fantasy team. I don't care who your quarterback is. I don't care who you're starting this week. And here's a secret: Even those who play fantasy sports don't want to hear about your fantasy team. No one cares about your team except you! It's sports' version of showing other people pictures from your vacation. Some estimate that Americans spend about $800 million on fantasy sports. Can you imagine what else could be done with that money?
Sunday, we here at 2C listed the best sounds in sports. Well, that evil sound of "pinggggg'' when a baseball hits an aluminum bat gets our vote for the worst sound. Not only does the bat sound awful, it's dangerous to pitchers, especially at the youth level. Baseball seemed to do okay for nearly 100 years using only wooden bats. Can't we go back to that?
Other than maybe the occasional injury update — which the broadcasters in the booth can pass along — how many times during a game does a sideline reporter provide information that truly enhances a game broadcast?
This is an idea whose time has passed. Rarely do these games resemble an actual game, and these days, many players find every excuse possible to skip out of theirs. That baseball uses its All-Star Game to determine homefield advantage for the World Series is mind-boggling.
Interleague play in baseball
This is another idea whose time has passed. Interleague play is cool when you have the Mets vs. the Yankees or the Cubs vs. the White Sox, but those teams don't play enough to make up for series such as Blue Jays-Rockies, Orioles-Padres, Reds-Mariners. And if I have to watch one more Rays-Marlins series, I might turn into the Incredible Hulk and tear a Baseball Encyclopedia in half with my bare hands. On top of all this, interleague play leads to an unbalanced schedule, making the wild-card races blatantly unfair.
Here's the thing. You can get married, or you can hook up with porn stars, Perkins waitresses and pretty much anything that moves. But you can't do both. Well, technically you can, but it will cost you about $100 million in a divorce, endorsements, your reputation, your career and just about anything else good in your life. Doing what Tiger Woods did was really bad. Why? Because it obviously was really bad.
Hockey's salary cap
For years, the best thing about the NHL was blockbuster trades. Now they rarely happen because of the salary cap. What about small-market teams, you say? Well, the cap was put in place supposedly to help small markets such as Tampa Bay. Looking back, has any team been hurt by the cap more than the 2004 Stanley Cup-winning Lightning?
'Around the Horn'
This ESPN nightmare is the worst sports-themed show on television. It is the epitome of this age of TV shows with talking heads who are convinced that if they shout louder than everybody else, that makes them right. We have enough goofballs on Fox News, MSNBC and CNN yelling at us about politics that we look to sports to escape such things as who's to blame for oil spills, the economy and health care. So what do we get on Around the Horn? More yelling. What's sad is that the show's panel is made up of journalists who have intelligent, thoughtful comments when they write.
Sports-talk radio in Tampa Bay
It's not that sports-talk radio in Tampa Bay is a bad idea. It's that it is poorly executed. For an area with three major pro sports teams, elite college sports and many passionate fans, it's sad and surprising how thin sports-talk radio is here. It has a couple of talented folks but way too much dead air.
High school recruiting
Quick, who had the best-rated recruiting class in college football in 2005? Okay, I'll make it easier. Who had the best-rated class last year? Yet, college fans have become obsessed with how many blue-chip recruits State U has signed even though they haven't watched a high school game in 20 years and couldn't tell the difference between the best quarterback in the country and his team's water boy. Then they want their coach fired for being a lousy recruiter just because some website said his team didn't have a top-10 recruiting class. Here's a better way to rate a recruiting class: Check out your school's record in four years.
Tropicana Field catwalks
How come every other domed baseball stadium ever built had stuff built high enough to keep fly balls from hitting it? You would hear about a ball hitting a speaker in the Metrodome or the Kingdome once every blue moon, but it seems the Rays can't go a week without a ball hitting a catwalk.
The prevent defense
In football, teams go into the "prevent defense'' to protect a lead. But the only thing it prevents is a team winning comfortably. Maybe "prevent defense'' should be changed to "allowing-the-other-team-to-go-down-the-field-and-score-easily defense.''
Giving a 22-year-old kid $15 million
The Washington Nationals had little choice but to pony up $15 million to pitcher Stephen Strasburg, left, who now has had two arm issues in less than three months and is back on the disabled list. And while we're at it, the NFL went down a slippery slope when it started paying rookies who had never played a down more money than All-Pros. Think about this: Rams rookie quarterback Sam Bradford picked up a guaranteed $50 million before he took a snap in even a preseason game.
Owning an NFL team and a soccer team at the same time
It's working out well for the soccer team. The NFL team? Not so much.