VERO BEACH, FLORIDA – Some New Year’s Sports Resolutions MAS would love to see made for 2017 — and, more importantly, KEPT.
We’ll cut to the chase:
■ The NBA and NHL agree to shorten each’s joke of a six-month regular season that merely serves to determine postseason seedings for a field that includes over half their teams. The only suspense is which club(s) with a sub-.500 record will qualify.
■ I’ll play into my 50s if I have to — Ichiro reveals he won’t end his career until he breaks Pete Rose’s MLB career hits record.
■ End of “No Fun League” usage — This lame expression for the NFL stops when its users come to their senses and realize that the only people who find players’ idiotic celebrations amusing and entertaining are, well, idiots.
■ Technical fouls for whining — So says NBA czar Adam Silver, tired of seeing petulant crybabies trail around after referees, whinging about calls (like LeBron James, who acts like he has never committed a foul and demands free throws if a finger is dared laid on him).
■ Stay true to your hue — The NCAA instructs member football teams to wear only uniforms that showcase beautiful school colors and prohibits the wearing of dreary funeral-ready black or cloud-gray “alternate” threads.
■ San Diego, you’re next — General Managerial genius Theo Epstein, who brought World Series championships to Boston and Chicago Cub fans for the first time in a combined 194 years, promises to move on to work his magic for the Padres, the franchise that has gone the longest without ever winning a Series crown (47 years).
■ No more “Pop being Pop” shtick — San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich admits his calculated rudeness toward well-meaning media, especially TV sideline reporters, is not clever and kitschy; it’s ignorant and uncalled for.
■ Pro All-Star teams by peer voting only — Leagues finally admit that the players and coaches really know best who amongst them are truly deserving of such a high honor — not the fans or know-it-all media like MAS.
■ The MLB wild-card round increases to best-of-three — Commish Rob Manfred agrees with MAS: It’s not fair for teams to battle 162 games for a postseason WC spot to then be eliminated after just one measly contest.
■ Refunds AND free ducats for snubbed NBA fans — Teams who “rest” their stars for certain away games (i.e. leave them home) — mainly the San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers — will not only reimburse cheated fans for the no-show game but also buy them tickets for another contest of their choice.
■ The slovenly look is history — MLB honchos forbid players to leave half their jersey unbuttoned with chains and medallions hanging out or to wear pant legs that droop and drag on the ground.
All shirts must be buttoned up with Mr. T starter kits tucked neatly inside, pants cannot exceed mid-fibula length and are to be worn with traditional stirruped socks.
And, for the sake of decorum, no more ridiculous jersey-untucking antics after a game until a player reaches the clubhouse (in other words: act like an arse out of sight).
■ We won’t forget Dad — To Pink October, the NFL will add Silver September to create prostate cancer awareness.
■ Two NFL preseason games only — The league will halve the former number and stop wasting fans’ money. They’ll now hold more scrimmages with other clubs for fringe personnel evaluation purposes.
■ No more anthem mangling — teams instruct all pop, soul, rock, R&B, jazz and country stars to perform the U.S. national anthem note-for-note as intended and NOT to embellish it with disrespectful personalized lilting or warbling and the like.
■ Our stipend demands will cease — Undergrad collegiate jocks wise up to just how much a U.S. college scholarship is worth these days and that they’re lucky to be spared the 10 years (or more) of post-degree debt many earnest students are burdened with.
■ Johnny Football mea culpa — Dynamic but toys-in-the-attic quarterback Johnny Manziel says this time he’s serious about turning his life around — just in time to resuscitate what could still be a uniquely exciting pro football career.
■ Fantasy league participants — We’ll return to our home planet Nerdtron and leave sports to true fans who follow them for the right reasons — not for childish, bubble gum card stat-geek competition or as a roundabout form of betting.
■ One NFL regular season game yearly in Japan — Recognizing it has shamefully abandoned one of its oldest and staunchest overseas fan bases, the league will take one of the FOUR London games it now holds annually and relocate it to Tokyo.
■ MLB-NPB postseason series comeback — The two leagues agree to renew their compelling baseball-as-cultural reflection rivalry.
■ No more Asian head-turning — The NBA promises not to be distracted by the hot, young chick that is the Chinese market while ignoring still-beautiful, mature ladyish-Japan, which has long proven its love for the league.
■ Self-Preservation Bowl — To comply with U.S. government truth-in-advertising statutes, the NFL renames its All-Star Game, which has deteriorated to a near-flag football contest.
■ NHL Goalies’ Worst Nightmare Classic — Similarly the NHL comes up with a new tag for its no-checking or hitting, double digits-in-scoring by each team luminary event.
■ No NBA All-Star Dunkfest — Not to be outdone, the NBA gives its annual February affair a different monicker and introduces a revolutionary new “48 minutes-or-first to 200 points wins” format.
■ Major League All-Star Game — MLB announces it will stick with its original name since it is the lone remaining competition of its type that lives up to its description.
■ If you build it, they will stay — San Diego and Oakland vow to somehow come up with funds for new football stadiums because the NFL wouldn’t be the same without the brilliant sunshine of the former and the not-so-brilliant minds in the latter’s Black Hole.
As Clint Eastwood once sorta said: Go ahead, resolutionists, make MAS’ New Year.
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