Couch Slouch: There’s room in sports for those who play dumb

July 15, 2012

Yes, it’s time again for “Stupidest Things in Sports.” Which raises the question: How could this only be the second installment ever of “Stupidest Things in Sports”? One could do an entire column of stupidest things just based on a John Tortorella news conference, or an NBA player’s tweets. Oh, let’s just get stupid:

Tennis champions who crumple to the ground when they win a Grand Slam event. Whatever happened to just walking to the net and shaking hands? I could even live with them racing to the net and jumping over it to greet the loser. But from Andre Agassi to Rafael Nadal, these modern “champions” now collapse to their knees, stomachs or backsides like they’ve been shot by a sniper. I fully expect golfers to follow suit — maybe Rickie Fowler will do a green-to-tee gymnastics tumble after winning the British Open.

Injury time in soccer. It feels like a random number that every referee pulls out of a jar. Here’s a novel idea: Just stop the clock any time there is an “injury,” then restart it when play resumes. This would allow players and fans to know precisely WHEN THE GAME ENDS.

The sideline reporter interviewing the coach at halftime. What, one day we’re going to get a David Frost-Richard Nixon exchange from these conversations? It is a painful exercise for reporter, coach and viewers.

Football players dumping Gatorade on their coach in the waning moments of a victory. First of all, this celebratory gesture lost its appeal about 2,700 gallons of Gatorade ago. Second of all — and maybe this is just me — but I’d consider it more appropriate to dump Gatorade on a coach after losing a game.

Relief pitchers warming up when they come into a baseball game. What the heck have they been doing in the bullpen for the past 10 minutes? That would be like letting reserves shoot around for a while after they substitute in to a basketball game.

The American League has the designated hitter, the National League still does not. In the NFL, would they have four downs in the NFC and five downs in the AFC? In the NBA, would they have a three-point shot in the Western Conference and no three-point line in the East? In MLS, would they have a goaltender in the Eastern Conference and no goaltender in the West? (Hmm. I like that idea.)

In tennis, scoring goes 15, 30…40? Why is the third point less valuable than the first two? And why isn’t it just “1, 2, 3?” P.S. Don’t get me started on “love,” as in “40-love.”

Baseball teams paying millionaire players meal money. Think about it.

“J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!” I mean, how hard is it to spell “Jets”? Jets fans act as if they just discovered plutonium. Granted, they’re well-lubricated, but I’d be a lot more impressed if the MetLife Stadium faithful spelled out “Neanderthals.”

The brushback pitch. Oh, this is a good idea: Let’s throw a 90-mph pitch with purpose that — if slightly misdirected — can end a batter’s career, or worse. This has such an Al Bundy/Dark Ages feel to it.

Sportscasters wearing leis every time they cover an event in Hawaii. You don’t see newscasters walking around with rosary beads every time they cover something at the Vatican.

The seventh-inning stretch. For starters, considering the obesity epidemic in America, there’s no room to stretch any more without knocking over your upper-deck neighbor. Besides, here in Los Angeles, most of us have left by the seventh inning anyway.

Announcers who say, “That was a great golf shot.” They’re playing golf, no? Actually, my apologies — I seem to recall Eric Sevareid, after Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 State of the Union address, commenting, “That was a great public speech.”

When you’re thinking of stupid sports stuff, there should always be a Bud Selig inclusion. It’s hard to ignore the glaringly ludicrous fact that, in MLB, whichever league wins the All-Star Game — an exhibition — gets home-field advantage in the World Series.

The flyover. Really? Come on.

Ask The Slouch

Q. Should the gladiators’ relatives sue the Roman Empire for failing to warn them that fighting to the death would be hazardous to their health? (Marty Kumar; Monroeville, Pa.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. If MLB’s All-Star Game had ended in a tie, would the seventh game of the World Series have been played at a neutral site? (Howard Rosenblatt; Albany, N.Y.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. Do you expect the NFL to emulate professional tennis and entrust its replay system to animation? (Scott D. Shuster; Watertown, Mass.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. Why doesn’t a basketball team get to put on yellow jerseys after taking the lead in a game? (Jim Myers; Lapel; Ind.)

A. It’s a pay-the-man clearance sale this week, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just e-mail asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

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