Thursday, December 12, 2013

Major Changes in our Favorite Sports

There it is--Major League Baseball has decreed that there will be no more home place collisions in the future. The home plate collision is one of the most exciting plays in baseball, but in the future all runners trying for the contested plate must slide. That is going to be funny when the runner thinks he is crossing the plate uncontested suddenly finds the ball waiting for him and it is too late to slide.

But wait, there is more.

It is rumored that the National Football League is considering outlawing tackling below the waist. That coupled with no tackling above the neck and no horse collar tackles transforms football from a game of hard hits into a laughable version version of ballroom dancing as the players must tackle each other, or dance, between the waist and the neck. This may be the result of last Sunday's hit by T.J. Ward on Rob Gronkowski. Ward reports his thought process in the referenced article:

There used to be an unwritten rule among players never to hit an opponent in the knee or from behind. But those unwritten rules have been trumped by the new ones from the league. Ward predicted last season that the emphasis on eliminating hits to the head would result in more low tackles and knee injuries. He repeated that position on Sunday. 

“When they set the rules, everyone knew what was going to happen,” he said. “This can happen if you have those type of situations. It’s pretty much inevitable. And they force our hand with this.” 

Ward could have tried to hit Gronkowski at the waist, but he’s giving up seven inches and 65 pounds to  the tight end. If he tries to make a high tackle and misses it, he loses his job.  

Finally, I have heard that the National Hockey League is looking to take the fight out of hockey because of concussions. On Saturday the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins played a brawl filled game that highlights the need for change. Although I do enjoy a good hockey fight, even I have to admit that things got out of control at the game on Saturday.

Maybe the games for all three sports will improve, after all we really don't need these highly paid and talented players reenacting the death matches of the Roman coliseum.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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