Web Special / September 9, 2005

If I were the Czar of All Sports…

Do you ever think about what rules you would change if you had the authority to do so? Every time I watch a sporting event, I think, Man I’d change that rule.

I’m an avid sports fan, but here are a few sports rules, including bowling, I would change.

Baseball – I’d raise the pitchers mound back to 15 inches and give the pitchers an even chance against the batter of today. If the batter can use performance enhancing drugs, the pitcher should be able to equalize it with a higher mound.

Relief pitchers warm up in the bullpen. They don’t need seven more pitches when they enter the game. Come on in and pitch. A new second baseman doesn’t get seven ground balls when he enters a game. A pinch hitter doesn’t get to hit seven balls before he comes to bat.

Get rid of the pitcher throwing four pitches for an intentional walk. Just tell the umpire we’re walking him and send him to first base. When was the last time you saw a wild pitch or a batter hitting a pitch when the intentional walk was put on? It simply is a waste of time.

Basketball – Raise the net to 12 feet. When ten feet was established, the average center was six foot tall. Now they stand flatfooted and drop the ball into the net.

Reduce the number of timeouts in a game. The last two minutes of basketball take half an hour.

Football – Eliminate “In the grasp,” and roughing the kicker penalties. The quarterback is a football player. In fact, he’s a back, and some are more running backs than quarterbacks. Make them play football or put ‘em in skirts. The kicker should be fair game. He doesn’t do anything all week, hit him. Let him know it’s football.

Now let’s look at a few things in bowling.

First, no more than four balls at any tournament. It clogs the scale room at Nationals; they make moving about in a tournament a chore, especially if you change lanes for doubles and singles. If you need more than four balls to be competitive, you probably should have stayed home.

While on the subject of doubles and singles, don’t make us change lanes. Bowlers don’t all finish at the same time, and to have to sit and wait because a lane broke down or the bowlers are simply slow is a waste of time. There is no unfair advantage bowling all six games on the same set.

Do random ball checks at the scale room at nationals. It takes too long, especially with the number of balls allowed, to go through that drill. The WIBC eliminated the requirement long ago. If you are checked in the scale room for team and pass you should get a card with the serial numbers of your balls. When you arrive for doubles and singles show the card, verify the serial numbers and move on. Doing every ball over again is a waste of time.

All league bowlers should start the new season using their highest book average from the previous year, regardless of the number of games. It would eliminate sandbagging.

Eliminate “highest average based on 21 games.” Too many bowlers roll, or sub for 18 games and stop. You bowl, you average, and you live with it.

Eliminate two-lane courtesy—what a waste of time and confusion. If the professional bowlers want to do it, fine. But, they too drag out an event with something that is really silly. They bowl league, they bowl pro-ams, sweepers, and practice and never use two-lane courtesy until the event starts. Then they need two lanes and complete silence. Give me a break.

Women vs. Men vs. Women – If women are allowed to enter into a men’s tournament, then men should be allowed to enter the women’s events.

I keep hearing how bowling is the only sport where men and women compete on an equal basis. I hear, “Bowling is a unisex sport.” I don’t necessarily agree with that. Yes, the rules are the same. The playing field is the same. The equipment is the same. But, that’s about where it ends in my mind.

Someone once told me that the reason ABC went away was they feared a lawsuit by a woman wanting to compete with the men.

I wonder when some guy with nothing better to do than test the water challenges the women for excluding him from bowling in their city tournament.

I doubt that many men would want to enter a woman’s tournament, but if I were the Czar of All Sports, I would give him the opportunity.

See you on the lanes.