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Friday, February 10, 2012
Updated: February 15, 12:35 PM ET
Handy solutions for ailing sports world

By Art Garfamudis
Page 2

Steve Weatherford
Are Steve Weatherford and the punters of the world ruining football with their tactics of surrender?

Editor's note: Art Garfamudis originally wrote for Page 2 in 2008 before he retired to dedicate himself to preparing his safe house for any number of civilization-threatening crises. The depletion of his potable water, dried food and ammunition has lured him out of retirement to again present his unique perspective on the sports world in a new column, Art for Art's Sake.

Playing Mr. Fix-It to the sporting world

I like to fix things around my compound. Broken machine gun mount? I get out the J-B Weld and patch it up. Drawbridge dry rotted? I tear out the old planks, rip new ones on the table saw and throw 'em in place; problem solved. Observation tower leaning? Portable cement mixer to the rescue.

Naturally, this urge to fix things has to carry over to sports. None of them are perfect, you know. So what can be done to make them right? Well, I'm gonna tell you ...

BASEBALL

Designated hitters: I'm in favor of them, except their runs should only count as half.

Pitching changes: Three per team per game. If you can't win a game with four pitchers, you deserve to lose. (Adjustments to rule for extra innings, of course.)

Throwing to first: Hey Mr. Pitcher, stop wasting my life while you throw repeatedly over to first to check down a guy with six career stolen bases. From now on, you get two throws over there per runner. Use them wisely.

FOOTBALL

Play clock: I like it, but I would make the allotted time shorter. Fans need more football for their money.

Punting: Let's face it: Punting is quitting. It's the football equivalent of tossing away your firearm and throwing your hands in the air yelling, "Please, don't shoot!" It's unmanly and undignified. Teams should have to go for it on each and every fourth down to prove their mettle.

Leverage penalty: It's a team sport, right? So why can't players help their teammates move forward? If they're so inclined, a team should be able to form a big, moving pyramid with the ball carrier on top -- like a bunch of trick water skiers.

BASKETBALL

3-point plays: Good idea. Now there needs to be 4- and 5-point perimeters. The sooner the NBA and NCAA adopt skee ball-style scoring, the faster they'll find their way to riches. (If you don't like the extra perimeter idea, consider this alternative: a second basket placed eight to 10 feet above the main basket. Extra points would be awarded for shooting into that one and even more points for a ball that drops through the top basket and goes through the lower one.)

Style points: No sport relies on style more than basketball. Take away modern basketball's swagger (am I using that correctly?) and what have you got? The Fort Wayne Pistons playing the St. Louis Bombers in a drafty gym in 1948. How about awarding extra points for impressive dunks, alley-oops, no-look assists, etc.?

Difficulty points: Not all layups are created equal. I say give points for difficulty of shots. For instance, how many defenders are in the way? If a guy has to drive around three defenders to score, there should be an extra reward for that on the scoreboard.

Timeouts: Eliminate them. All. OK, keep one per team. Per game.

VOLLEYBALL

Scoring: Why can a team score only when it has serve? (Once the ball's been served, who even remembers who served it in the first place?) Think of how much effort has been wasted over the past century by volleyball teams just trying to get the serve back? I say let either team score at any time, and we'll all be able to go home a lot earlier and get on with our lives. Oh, wait -- they did fix this already. I actually haven't watched any volleyball since I was in grade school.

SOCCER

Limited substitution: Get rid of it. Why pay all those guys to sit on the bench when the rules won't even let them get into the game? Shouldn't they at least be helping out at the concession stands or something? Instead, all they do is sit next to the coach and give him put-me-in eyes. Who wants that?

The extra ball: Here's something that'll spice things up a bit: In the second half, a second ball should be added to the field of play. Man, now there's something I'd pay to see. There'd be none of that stalling when a second ball was bouncing around. Players couldn't make a happy humpy heap after a goal, either, because they'd immediately have to switch their attention to the second ball. The real fun would begin when one team was attacking with both balls simultaneously. You think soccer is popular now? They couldn't build stadiums big enough to handle the crowds that would flock to two-ball futbol.

NASCAR

Teammates: How can you have a sport where some of the participants have teammates running interference for them and some don't? Rule of law, people! Rule of law!

All-weather racing: Racing in the snow -- now there's a sure moneymaker. Icy track? Hell yeah!

GOLF

Women's tees: Women don't get smaller tennis courts. They don't get shorter bowling lanes. The 4x400 is the same distance for women as it is for men. So why are there shorter women's golf tees? In tournament play, it doesn't really make sense, but if you're out on the links on a Saturday and there's a filly foursome ahead of you, you're damn grateful for anything that gets them to the clubhouse sooner.

Crowd noise: Why is that athletes in other sports have to put up with noise and abuse but golfers get to work in a vacuum? Not only do golfers get to hit a stationary ball, they get to do it in library conditions. It's time for golf to man up and let the spectators cut loose. I'd take more interest in the sport if a drunken fat guy was pouring invective into Tiger Woods' ear while he tries to sink a 30-foot putt, wouldn't you? (I'd really take interest in it if that drunken fat guy were me.)

Artemis Arthur Garfamudis originally studied typing at the Miss DuPrix School of Business on Route 22 in North Plainfield, N.J. He has since taken several refresher typing courses. It is with great pride that he types all his own columns.

Follow Art Garfamudis on Twitter @artgarfamudis ... if you dare.

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