Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tom Jones: Changes that have spoiled traditions in sports

Wimbledon — the coolest tennis tournament in the world, the one with the richest tradition — jumped the shark Monday. In the name of progress, innovation and fan friendliness, it closed the retractable roof on Centre Court to keep rain from interrupting its precious tournament. Fans cheered and players praised, but a tradition was lost, just like when lights were installed at Wrigley Field. The thing that was supposed to make it better actually made it a little worse. Here are some sports traditions lost in the name of advancement.

Braves on TBS

Atlanta's "SuperStation'' was one of the first cable stations. The best thing was, anywhere in the country, you could watch Dale Murphy, right, and the Braves. They were horrible, the old "Launching Pad'' was practically empty and announcer Skip Caray talked more about what movie was on after the game. You didn't always watch, but it was comforting to know they were on. These days, TBS shows a national Game of the Week, and fans can watch any game they want. But there was something special about watching the Cubs on WGN during the day and the Braves on TBS at night.

New Yankee Stadium

These days it's all about private suites and swanky clubs and plush clubhouses. But not only does the new stadium lack the charm and tradition of the old digs, it's a joke with homers flying out at a record pace. It's like a new easy chair that might look nice and have a place for your drink and remote. The old chair had stains and rips and a missing handle, but it sure was comfortable.

New Year's Day bowl games

You're supposed to have the Cotton Bowl in the mid afternoon, the Rose Bowl in the late afternoon and the Sugar and Orange at night. And by the end, we're supposed to have a national champion. Now these classic bowls are spread out. Did you know that last year there was a bowl game on Jan. 6? And it was the GMAC Bowl, for crying out loud.

Organ music at hockey games

Go to a hockey game and prepare to have your senses blasted. Loud music, screaming promotion announcers, overly caffeinated "spirit'' team kids firing T-shirts out of air guns. Teams still have an organ, but we're subjected to AC/DC and Guns N' Roses before every faceoff. Maybe just once a season, teams could have "organ night.'' No announcers. No T-shirts. No rock music. Just a guy playing an organ during the breaks.

Scheduled doubleheaders

The holiday baseball doubleheaders — Memorial Day, July Fourth, Labor Day — were great. Twi-night double­headers were the best. Now, the only time there's a doubleheader is to make up a rainout. And it's always a day-night doubleheader so teams can squeeze out full gates from every game they play. Once again, another example of greed taking one of the great traditions from sports.

World Series day games

Gone for good are the days when kids would sneak a transistor to school and listen to the first couple innings before racing home to watch the end. Or maybe you had a really cool teacher who would close the blinds, turn off the lights and wheel in that black-and-white television on that huge stand so you could enjoy the game. Memories like that build fans. The first night World Series game was in 1971, Orioles-Pirates Game 4. Now games end so late that kids can't stay up to watch.

Roof at Wimbledon

Rain is part of the tournament's charm. It changes momentum. It adds intrigue. Last year's final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer became an epic, partly because of the rain. When you think of Wimbledon, what comes to mind? Grass, strawberries and cream, and rain. Not anymore. Now we have a roof. At Wimbledon. Blasphemy!

Tom Jones: Changes that have spoiled traditions in sports 06/30/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 7:10am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. DeSean Jackson's 'Ferrari engine' brings him to first Bucs camp


    TAMPA — When the Bucs signed Pro Bowl WR DeSean Jackson, in the offseason, QB Jameis Winston said his new target was "a Bentley with a Ferrari engine," a nod to Jackson's 5-foot-10 frame but elite speed.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson sits for an interview while on camera with NFL Films.   HBO's NFL Films production of "Hard Knocks" documented a day in the life of Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson with his family at their home in Tampa on Wednesday, July 26, 2017.
  2. What you should know about new Rays slugger Lucas Duda


    The MLB trade deadline is a few days away, but the Rays aren't procrastinating. Earlier today, they swung a deal for the Mets' Lucas Duda, sending minor league right-hander Drew Smith

    Slugger Lucas Duda will add some (more) power to the Rays lineup.
  3. Rays add a bat, too, acquiring Lucas Duda from Mets


    The Rays made another big move today, acquiring 1B/DH Lucas Duda from the Mets.

    Duda, 31, is a lefty slugger who will take over as the Rays primary DH against right-handers, with Corey Dickerson now playing most of the time in the outfield.

    To get Duda, the Rays gave up minor-league RHP Drew Smith, …

    The Rays acquired 1B/DH Lucas Duda from the Mets.
  4. Bucs do their best to stiff-arm the expectations


    TAMPA — If you want to see a team giving the Heisman trophy stiff-arm to expectations, check out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    As always, the key to the Bucs success will be Jameis Winston. He still is only 23, but a charismatic leader that this team and this town believes deeply in. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. A trip down memory lane of Bucs' preseason expectations


    With HBO's Hard Knocks in town and the Bucs opening training camp Friday with their highest expectations in a decade, here's a look back at Tampa Bay's preseason expectations since their last playoff appearance in 2007 — and the results.


    Jameis Winston and running back Peyton Barber celebrate a touchdown last season against the 49ers. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]