Monday, January 20, 2014

Are You Ready For Some Football?

While everyone is focusing on the upcoming super bowl, I have been treating these weeks as I would any other. Football never had that much of an appeal to me. I used to enjoy watching the Eagles on occasion but never felt I was missing out on anything if I didn’t put the game on. And now, with all the rules changes, additional penalties, and a seeming increase in showboating, it really has lost the little attention I paid the sport.

Of course, that is a major issue across all sports. The rules are changing and removing some of the aspects of the game that kept it interesting. Hockey has fallen into this same model. While football has increased the prevalence of penalties, slowing the game down and, possibly, causing more injuries due to the hesitation of some players during plays, baseball seems to be implementing changes that are having a greater negative impact on the way the game used to be, the traditional game of baseball.

The most recent changes have taken the human element out of the game. The expansion of instant replay and the manager’s ability to challenge is something that I don’t have a big problem with. However, when it comes to umpires, monitoring the strike zone is something that should have never happened. Part of the game and part of the pitcher’s job is to know what kind of strike zone that particular umpire has. Some used to have massive strike zones like Eric Gregg and pitchers would take advantage of that fact. Others would have high or low strike zones. It is the pitcher’s and the batter’s responsibility to adapt to the situation.

Speaking of strike zones, whatever happened to pitching inside? The art of the brush back has been completely lost on the current generations of pitchers and I can’t really blame them. If you throw a pitch inside you run the chance of getting thrown out of the game. Put a shrinking strike zone on top of that and it’s no wonder why offense remains so stout throughout baseball.

And now we get to the real issue that bothers me about modern sports. Eliminating collisions at home plate is completely ridiculous. As a catcher, you know what may happen. You signed up for it. You made the decision to play the sport professionally knowing the risks that are involved. Football and hockey have had similar regulations put in place to eliminate certain kinds of contact. What the heck did these athletes think they were getting into when they decided to pursue this career?

There is something wrong when you can watch more hard contact in NASCAR. I think we should sign all these millionaires up to play a full season of rugby and see if they continue to complain about the violence that exists in their sport. In the end, toughen up and earn the absurd amount of money that you are getting paid to play a game!

So, going back to the original question, am I ready for some football? Eh. Not really. Not sure I am ready for spring training either. The real question is, where can I watch some rugby?