Saturday, September 17, 2005

Rushin plus one

In this week’s Sports Illustrated, columnist Steve Rushin reels off a pretty humorous list of sports imponderables – the sports version of questions like, “How come we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?” His list included conundrums such as: “Pinocchio lied and his nose grew. So what grows when ex-Viagra spokesman Rafael Palmeiro tells a lie?”

Rushin’s is a pretty exhaustive list. But it missed a few long-time questions the 19 Minutes has had about sports, largely as a result of watching too many Air Force vs. Hawaii football games at 12:45 am on ESPN2. So rather than terming this a rip-off of Steve Rushin’s good idea, we’ll call it an addendum:

Why doesn’t Busch Stadium emit a plume of white smoke when the St. Louis Cardinals select a new pitcher?

If yachting is a sport, and driving a car very fast is a sport, and riding a motorcycle is a sport, why aren’t there any sports that involve driving a train?

Why do sports commentators and baseball’s leadership wring their hands when baseball games – which have no clocks attached to them – last for three hours, but no one seems to notice when football games last for three hours, even though they’re only supposed to last an hour?

And when will the NFL outlaw pre-game shows that last three hours?

Why do umpires and referees wear numbers on their uniforms? And if it’s so that we can identify them more easily, why don’t they just have their names on the uniforms? (And which replica referee uniforms are the best-sellers?)

and bass fishing are now popular televised sports. So when will ESPN begin showing televised paint drying? I hear OLN is planning to show “This Week in Grass Growing”.

Major-league baseball managers have been required to do it for decades. So isn’t it time we require basketball and football coaches to wear game uniforms? I can’t imagine anything would send Phil Jackson back into retirement faster than having him wear the basketball tank top-and-shorts combo on the bench.

How does NFL Films manage to make last week’s highlights look like they were shot in 1967?

Barry Bonds is surly, uncommunicative with his teammates, quite possibly doesn’t play fair, and in general has done all he could to destroy any sense of goodwill between athletes and the fans and media. Yet you see any number of people wearing Barry Bonds replica jerseys and no one thinks anything of it. Meanwhile, Brandi Chastain is the epitome of what’s good about sports – competitive, a team player, and an ambassador to her sport. Yet it’s a source of high amusement when I wear a Chastain replica game jersey. (It turns out that I wear a women’s size L.)

Why does the media think people around the country care about the fate of Notre Dame sports teams? If it’s really a way for Catholics around the country to connect with each other, why isn’t there a network showing all the games of Yeshiva University? (Or Luther College, for that matter.)

And finally, with the seven thousand coaches NFL teams have on the sidelines, you’d think one of them could keep close enough track of the game clock that they wouldn’t need a two-minute “warning”.

Tune in next time as we borrow the literary technique of James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Dave Barry, or the guy that draws Zippy the Pinhead.

No comments: