Jewish World Review August 26, 2002 / 18 Elul, 5762
On being a good sport
Here are some thoughts on sports:
- A strike by professional baseball players is ridiculous. It isn't a "work stoppage." It's a "play stoppage." I haven't seen a list of players for it and against a strike. It seems unlikely that any ball player making half a million dollars a year at age 26 would be in favor of walking out. Most of the owners are already rich but they aren't making as much from the game as the players -- which is the way it should be. The big issue is with the proposed Luxury tax on team payrolls that exceed $98 million. I'd like to hear some of the players describe their problem with that.
- Why is it a custom for baseball players to chew tobacco? It's a good thing basketball players don't chew tobacco.
- The best story in baseball this year is how well the Minnesota Twins are doing with one of the smallest payrolls. It would be great if Minnesota beat out the Yankees to get in the World Series.
- Little League baseball is perilously close to being Big League. Don't kids ever get together anymore, divide themselves into teams without any adults around and play a game in a vacant lot on Saturday morning?
- Size is too important in several sports. Most offensive linemen in the NFL weigh more than 300 pounds. A few weigh 400. There are more players seven feet tall in the NBA than there are players under six feet.
- The worst idea the producers of televised football games have had is putting good-looking young woman on the sidelines to ask inane questions of coaches and players.
- The crashes that racecar drivers survive, usually without serious injury, are amazing. They are poured into that cockpit and fit so tight that they can't rattle around if they flip. They can't move much of anything. What happens if they get an itch?
- Lance Armstrong, the Grand Prix bicyclist, is one of the greatest athletes alive. Armstrong rides with something called The U.S. Postal Service Team. I've never seen one of our mailmen on a bicycle.
- August is too hot to play football. It's too hot to (ital) watch (end ital) football.
- Pete Sampras is all over. For a while they were saying he was the greatest tennis player who ever lived but he never was. They have said that about every great player during his time at the top. They said it about Bill Tilden, Ellsworth Vines, Fred Perry, Don Budge, Don Mc Neill, Jack Kramer, Frank Sedgman, Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver.
It's wrong to try to pick the all-time best in any sport. There's no way to compare Red Grange with Jimmy Brown, Babe Ruth with Barry Bonds, Ty Cobb with Derek Jeter or Walter Johnson with Roger Clemens. No way to compare Jack Dempsey with Joe Louis or Lennox Lewis. Having said that, though, it's safe to say that Michael Jordan is the best basketball player of all time.
- Swimming is a sport only followed by people who used to swim on their school team. I look with amazement at the winning times. Women are now swimming 100 meters, about 109 yards, 10 seconds faster than I ever swam 100 yards. In a 100-yard dash, the men would lap me.
- Golf is an interesting game but it isn't much exercise.
- The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, have ruined women's tennis. They're too good.
- There are golf and tennis players in every country. Soccer is an international sport but has never been big league in the United States. Basketball is the only American sport that is becoming international. Several South American countries play baseball, but the Japanese are a surprise. They seem to really like the game.
- NFL organizers have tried to push football in Europe, but no other country except Canada plays much football. Canada does everything we do.
- For entertainment at halftime during the next Super Bowl game, I'd like to see a track meet among players from other teams. It would be fun to see which football player could run the fastest 60 yards, 100 yards or mile. They could have a mile relay. The teams would be made of players from each NFL team.
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© 2002, TMS