|If I was the Sports Czar....
There is a trend in American politics to appoint one person to take over a problematic area, give him lots of power, and label him as the "Czar" of that particular domain. For example, we now have a 'Drug Czar", an "Energy Czar" and an "Education Czar".
So I have written a letter to President Obama and asked him to create a new position for me — Sports Czar.
Surely a person as intelligent as Ol' Barack will see wisdom in this appointment. First of all, I am willing to work for free. But more importantly, I will stir up so much controversy that he can slide whatever healthcare or clean energy legislation he wants through Congress. Everyone will be too busy either cussing or praising me to notice. Heck, he could probably slip Cuba in as the 51st state.
However, he is probably going to want to know my agenda before he gives me the job. So on the off chance that the Commander-in-Chief visits this estimable site, I will outline my course of action.
Major League Baseball
1. The Designated Hitter Rule: There needs to be uniformity here. I love the late inning strategy we see in the NL games. On the other hand, I like the brand of offense we see in the AL. Plus, the added roster spot creates a job for many deserving players. The only equitable resolution is to let the fans decide whether the DH stays or goes. So we will hold a nationwide vote on opening day of the 2010 season. Former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris will oversee the election.
2. Steroids: We are going to put an end to this controversy once and for all. Amnesty will be provided to every player who comes clean. However, those who fail to come forward, or claim to be innocent when they are not, will be banned for life. Then we will move forward by implementing an effective testing program.
3. Pete Rose: He goes into the Hall-of-Fame post haste. If O.J. Simpson gets to keep his bust in Canton, Charlie Hustle gets to have one in Cooperstown.
4. Commissioner: Say goodbye to Bud Selig. Say hello to the new commissioner of baseball, Bob Costas.
1. The BCS: A play-off system will be established immediately. There will be a 32 team tournament, with the champions of the 11 FBS conferences receiving automatic bids. They remaining 21 teams, and the seedings, will be chosen by the AP poll. That will mean a total of 31 post-season games with national championship implications, as opposed to the one such game we have now. These will be spread out among existing bowl games and will rotate each year. At present, there are 34 registered bowl games, so we only have to eliminate three. If a school does not make the field of 32, it sits at home. There will be no more bowl games matching teams with 6-6 records who finished eighth in their conference.
2. Stipends for the players: These kids are out there risking serious injury for our entertainment and generating millions of dollars for their schools. Accordingly, they need to get paid. Freshman gets $1,000 per game, sophomores get $2,000, juniors get $3,000 and seniors get $4,000. Think that sounds like too much? Go put on a full set of pads and butt heads with a 275 lb. linebacker who can bench 400 and has 3% body fat.
NBA AND COLLEGE BASKETBALL
1. Referees: The state of officiating in the NBA is disgraceful. We can clear that up quick. Each official starts the season with a salary of $1 million. However, they do not get it until the end of the year. The officiating in each game will be reviewed by an independent panel of five former coaches and players. Each time the panel finds that an official has blown a call, that official is docked $10,000 out of the sum he is to receive at season's end. Stand back and watch the quality of officiating improve overnight.
2. Modify the early entry rule. Is their a Duke fan out there who hasn't wondered what it would have been like to have seen Kobe Bryant in a Blue Devil's uniform? How about Ohio State fans and Lebron James? As a Texas fan, I would have loved to have seen a Longhorn front court that featured both LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Durant. College hoops is still great, but I would like to see it returned to its former glory. A college athlete cannot declare for the NFL until he is three years out of high school. That is a fair rule, and the NBA will be forced to adopt it. This rule will also apply to Euro-teens like Ricky Rubio.
1. Put a team in Los Angeles: On second thought we already have a pro team in L.A. — the USC Trojans. Never mind.
2. Rookie salaries: The NBA's rookie salary scale would be a great idea for the NFL. If the top draft picks want to be paid like the veteran stars, they should have to earn that right on the field. In other words, quit being a diva and report to work, Michael Crabtree.
Provisions relating to all sports
1. Salary Cap: There will be a hard salary cap in all professional leagues. There will be no more buying of pennants by the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox.
2. No more franchise relocation without a showing of financial need: If you own a professional franchise, and it is making money where it is, you can no longer move your franchise to another place just because you are offered a better deal. You have to show that staying where you are creates a financial hardship, i.e. losing money. Making "only" $50 million in Cleveland when you can make $100 million in Baltimore does not constitute financial hardship.
3. Give Cleveland their Lombardi Trophy: While we are on this subject, we are going to modify the NFL record book. The champion of Super Bowl XXXV will be listed as the Cleveland Browns, not the Baltimore Ravens. Art Modell must personally deliver the trophy from that game to the Dawg Pound and apologize for being a disloyal punk. This might anger the folks in Maryland, but let's be honest — you jacked C-Town's team. On top of that, you should have known better since Indy stole your team. As a consolation prize, you get the name "Colts" back.
3. No more owners on the sideline: We will call this the "Dallas Rule". In honor of Mr. Jones and Mr. Cuban. Get your butts back up to the owner's box! Every time you sit behind the bench, or roam the sideline, you forfeit a first round draft pick.
4. Mismatched team names: Granted, this is a minor point, but it really bugs me when a team's name does not match-up with its locale. For example, when the Lakers left Minneapolis, they did not bother to change the team's name to something more fitting to its SoCal home. Neither did the Jazz when they relocated from New Orleans to Utah. Personally, I do not associate Los Angeles with any lake (unless you consider the Pacific to be a really huge lake). Likewise, I have been to Utah and I did not hear one lick of jazz. However, there is some great jazz in L.A. and a world famous lake in Utah. These teams need to trade names.
5. Deceptive school names and mascots: Lets be honest about — the Oklahoma Sooners may play north of the Red River, but they are actuality a Texas team. Just look at their roster. So we need to go ahead and officially re-name the school's football team UT-Norman. I think they need to change their mascot too. I would propose we change that to the "Santas". If you think about it, UT-Norman is just like Saint Nick. They wear red-and-white, they kick butt during November and December, but they hibernate in January. Just look at their bowl record.
So if any of you happen to talk President Obama, kindly steer him to this site and show him what I propose. I will be waiting by the phone.