By Rex O’Rourke

ALBANY, NY – Sports are terrific. I love sports. You love sports. Your Aunt Betty loves sports. Mostly, sports have withstood the test of time, evolved along with sports medicine (ethical or otherwise), training methods (ethical or otherwise), statistical analysis, and responses to modern culture and competitive balance, to take the shape they currently have. Players are generally bigger and faster and arguably better. But are the sports themselves any better? Ask your grandfather and the average twenty-year old and you’ll probably get two different answers. Still, some sports could use a little tweaking; a rule change here, an alteration there, to make them more exciting. So without further ado,
here’s a few of Rex’s Rule Changes:

  • GOLF – The fan who yells “Get in the Hole” on the tee of a 450 yard par 4 is immediately escorted from the course to the driving range where he or she has one chance to drive a ball 450 yards. If he or she can’t, then they are forced to wear a pair of Ian Poulter’s hideous lime green plaid pants every day for a month and are permanently barred from all sporting events.
  • BASEBALL – The “neighborhood play” at second base is officially rescinded. You have to touch first, third, and home, so why not second as well? Middle infielders have been getting away with this one for too long. Let them take the hit like everybody else. In addition, all managers, upon leaving the dugout to argue a call, must turn their hat backwards, ala Earl Weaver.
  • AUTO RACING – I’m all for anything that produces more crashes. Jello shots during pit-stops. GO-GO dancers in the infield, potholes; I’m open to pretty much anything.
  • PBA BOWLING – Of the ten frames, one has to be bowled with the opposite hand, one has to be bowled “Granny Style”, and one is, of course, a beer frame.
  • LOG ROLLING – The most exciting of the timber sports would be even better with a couple of live crocs in there with ’em, eh?
  • GYM CLASS – All administrators and teachers calling for the banning of dodgeball in schools should be taken to the nearest gym and pelted in the head repeatedly with, you guessed it, dodgeballs.
  • NHL HOCKEY – Every time two guys square off and drop the gloves, the goalies have to skate to center ice and duke it out as well. I just LOVE a good goalie fight!
  • WOMEN’S LACROSSE – This sport is officially banned and replaced by men’s lacrosse played by women. Take the silly goggles and scrunchies off, put on a helmet and pads and get in there and body-check someone. Women are playing real rugby and real hockey and now it’s time to play real lacrosse.
  • FIGURE SKATING – This most genteel of sports would be a lot more interesting if they had to dodge paintballs, fired by B-list celebrities, while they skated. It would be a much needed paying gig for the likes of an Anson “Potsie” Williams, Adrian Zmed, or Kristi McNichol. During the Olympics I’d hire Tonya Harding to do the honors. I’d allow goggles (I’m a cruel man, but fair) but not protective cups.
  • DIVING – The cannonball and the belly flop should be required dives.
  • BASKETBALL – The way teams are beating each other up these days, the penalty for a flagrant foul should be just that… a penalty. Make it a two minute power play with a lacrosse-style release. If the team on the penalty-kill either a) sinks a three-pointer or b) gets fifteen points scored on them in two minutes, then their player gets released from the box (actually the scorer’s table will do). Also as I advocated last month, I will not rest until 25 points is awarded for any basket that goes in off another guy’s head (thanks again George Carlin). Also, beginning with new contracts for the 2009-2010 season, each NBA team should donate $1000 per player per month to charity if that player can remain tattoo free.
  • TWO SPORT ATHLETES – The days of Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson may be long gone, but I think the next MLB/NFL star should have to wear his football uniform for baseball and vice-versa.
  • PRESS CONFERENCE DECORUM – If you cry at the retirement press conference, you’re not allowed to come back. Call it the “Schmidt, Bossy, Favre Rule”.
  • CURLING – It’s perfect the way it is. Don’t change a thing.
  • Until Next Week,

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