The aspects of sports that drive me nuts change from time to time, but following, in no particular order, are the ones that came to mind this morning.

 Gary Bettman

            I said that there was no particular order to this list, but if there was, Gary Bettman would be number one.

             There’s no point in saying anything more, because those of you who agree with me know why Bettman drives me nuts, and those of you who are Bettman supporters can’t be reasoned out of something you weren’t reasoned into.

 Three-point Game in Hockey

            This abomination was introduced by (of course) Gary Bettman.

             The idiocy of awarding a point for losing a game in overtime or a shootout is best illustrated by the following fact (improbable, I admit, but nonetheless possible). A team could go through an entire season without winning a game and still end up with 82 points, possibly enough to make the playoffs in the new wild card format.

 Managers Who Order Batters to Take 3-0 Pitches

            The vast majority of professional ballplayers would, with the count 3-0, take an obviously bad pitch for ball four. But by not allowing batters to swing on any 3-0 pitch, managers prevent them from swinging at what in all probability will be the best pitch they will see all day, maybe all week: a fastball right down the middle.

 Playing Without A Stick

            I have never seen a situation where a player who broke his stick wouldn’t have been better off to rush to the bench, even in the second period (which is only one-third of the time anyway), get a stick and re-enter the play. I’ve seen dozens of instances where not doing so resulted in a goal, a holding penalty, or an interference penalty.

 Hockey’s Staged Fights

            The assertion that a staged fight can change the momentum of a game is pure nonsense. The only thing staged fights add to the game is concussions. Which leads me back to Gary Bettman , who could easily eliminate them from the game.

 Major League Baseball Players Who Can’t Bunt

            Laying down a bunt is a skill (not an art) that any professional baseball player should be able to master. The only plausible excuse for major league players not being able to bunt is a combination of laziness and idiocy.

 Playoff Beards

            Why any group of about four hundred adults want to all look alike, even for a few weeks, is a puzzle. Apart from the fact that this so-called tradition is just plain juvenile, it should be abandoned for the simple reason that the game’s pre-eminent player (Sidney Crosby) is unnecessarily embarrassed each year because he can’t seem to grow one.

 Linesmen That Won’t Drop the Puck

            My insider hockey friends tell me that linesmen are instructed to insist on a particular set of criteria for the timing and placement of the center’s sticks, and until the centers meet these criteria the puck should not be dropped.

             Well, Gary Bettman (there he is again), under whose watch these criteria were developed, should drop the criteria so that the linesmen can drop the puck in a timely manner. Let the teams know that when the linesman is ready to drop the puck he’ll give them a count of, say, three steamboats, after which he’ll drop it, and too damn bad if one center happens to be not ready.

             Also, how about enforcing the rule that states two violations by the same team on the same faceoff calls for a penalty?

 Interviewing Coaches on the Bench

            Somewhere there’s a broadcast executive who thought this was a great idea; but it’s just an intrusion, both for the coach and on the flow of the game.

             I quickly mute the sound when I see a coach being approached on the bench by some hapless broadcaster who knows very well that he or she is wasting everybody’s time. The reason I mute the sound is because if a coach ever says something meaningful in these circumstances I’ll die from shock.

 Broadcasters Not Completing Comparisons

            Such as, “That’s the second fastest two goals ever,” without telling us what the fastest two were and who scored them.

 Baseball Analysts Who Over-analyze

            First off, I acknowledge that Pat Tabler seems to be a genuinely nice, decent, inoffensive person; and he definitely has more baseball knowledge in his little finger than I have in my entire body. But, his propensity to over-analyze almost everything that happens on the field is annoying.

            If even ten percent of Tabler’s pronouncements proved true he would be, at the same time, the greatest pitching coach, batting coach, third-base coach, general manager, and manager in the history of the game.  Listening to his observations you would also think he must have PhD’s in at least physics, kinetics, kinesics (the study of body language), and meteorology.

 People  Who Think Parity is Good

            It never was, it isn’t, and it never will be. Parity is just Gary Bettman’s (there he is again) euphemism for mediocrity.

 Does anyone seriously believe that past dynasties like the Yankees and Canadiens were bad for their sports?