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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Confounding Sports Issues

1.  Professional baseball has been around for more than 100 years and pitchers seem to be getting hurt with increasing frequency.  You would think that with all the data that is generated that someone will map the movements of successful and injury-free pitchers and either draft for that profile or teach people what those with successful and injury-free careers do in terms of diet, exercise, sleep and motion.  Wouldn't you?

2.  The NFL draft has been around for a long time, too, and teams continue to find ways not to get it right.  Isn't there a football version of Nate Silver out there who could help a team get it right?

3.  College basketball programs still go for the "one and done" kids, but it seems harder for teams populated with them -- Duke and Kentucky and perhaps Kansas -- to win the NCAA title.  So would they consider the profile of the players they recruit?

4.  MLB has thirty teams, and that can make scheduling tricky.  The question is, are there cities where they might expand, if so, what are they?

5.  The NFL remains the most popular spectator sport in the U.S., even as more veteran players announce that they have serious health issues.  And those are the ones that we know about, as there must be some/many who suffer in silence in order to protect their privacy.  Will fan interest drop off over time over the guilt of knowing that you are watching a sport that can ruin the health of many of its players for life?  Shouldn't the fans worry about that and what it says about them?

6.  College players in men's basketball and football at many programs (and in some cases ice hockey and women's basketball) generate a lot of revenue for their schools (yes, even if 80% of DI football programs and/or athletic departments lose money).  Football players take great risks with respect to their health.  When will the time come when they get paid for their efforts beyond a scholarship and room and board? 

7.  MLB's average fan is 55 years old, and the games take a long time to complete, about 3:15.  I have been to two minor league games over the past two summers that ended in about 2:00.  The reasons -- a pitch clock and an "in between" innings clock.  When will MLB adopted both and make baseball more bearable to watch again?

8.  College basketball is very popular.  Yet, each coach gets about as many time outs as Elizabeth Taylor had husbands and the clock stops every four minutes for a media timeout.  What used to be a compelling product is almost unwatchable.  Basketball was not designed for the players to huddle every four minutes; basketball was designed to keep players moving.  Can the NCAA and the big networks who play for broadcast rights do something to make the games more watchable again? 

9.  The NBA has a lot of pizzazz, it really does.  Yet, the regular season seems endless, and then the playoffs do.  The regular season doesn't decided a whole lot after 55 games or so.  Assuming that's the case, can the NBA avoid the resting of players by cutting the season by a third and beginning the playoffs earlier?  Scarcity can do wonders for a good product -- it can make it even more popular.  No one wants to watch two twenty-win teams battle in March.

10.  When will the MLS take its next big step?  Can it, given the big bucks that Chinese teams are throwing at international stars.  The league puts on a good product, just not a great one.  It might never be the English Premier League, but could it rival another one of the top leagues?   Ever?


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