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Today on Season Ticket, guest host Joe Sullivan (@GlobeSullivan) and Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy attempt to make sports great again. They play commissioner for a day and go sport-by-sport to decide which rules need updating in order to improve the games.
- Dan Shaughnessy (@Dan_Shaughnessy), Sports Columnist, The Boston Globe
On making three foul balls an automatic out
Joe Sullivan: Foul balls drive me nuts. There are so many foul balls. [How about] three foul balls and you're out?
Dan Shaughnessy: I understand what you're saying [but] you cannot do that. That's ridiculous. It's changing everything about baseball as we know it. I understand it—this notion of grinding out at bats, that it's rewarded, is really hard to watch. It's a waste of baseballs. [But] it's a competitive thing. They teach it. They work at it and, it's unfortunate, but I think we're stuck with that one.
"I don't think they need overtime in the regular season."Joe Sullivan, on eliminating NFL overtime
On banning replay to check if a baserunner came off the bag after successfully stealing a base
Dan Shaughnessy: The guy steals second and they replay it to see if he popped up and came off [the bag] for a split second. No. You stole the base and you made it or you didn't. If you get up and wander away and they tag you—that's one thing. But this idea that he lost contact with the base for one split second, let's replay it a million times. No. I am not ok with that. That is crazy. Let's go back to the quote-unquote neighborhood play there. He stole the base. Leave it alone.
On eliminating home plate umpires
Joe Sullivan: How about this: eliminate the home plate umpire and have balls and strikes called electronically?
Dan Shaughnessy: I understand that [this] is possible now with chips. We can have a chip in the players' letters and knees and a chip in the ball and did it go through the zone—that whole thing. You know, it's taking away the human element. I don't like it. I understand it. I don't like it. Not going for it.
Joe Sullivan: In general, I [just] wish umpires would call more strikes. The strike zone is so small that it's not the strike zone as defined by the rule book.
On changing pass interference rules
Joe Sullivan: It could be called on every pass play. It could be not called on every pass play. And the idea that you can gain 40 yards on one penalty just seems out of whack with every other penalty they call on the games. So, I want defensive pass interference to be 10 yards ... just like offensive pass interference is 10 yards.
Dan Shaughnessy: But suppose you're on their 40 [yard line] and you throw a 40-yard bomb into the end zone and it's going to be a touchdown [but] their guy just wipes out your guy, just pushes him out of bounds. Then, [with] a 10-yard penalty, you're just going to see chaos on the long plays. If it's only going to cost you 10, any chance you have just kill the guy. I think it's problematic in both directions.
On ditching the coin toss at the start of games
Dan Shaughnessy: The coin toss is just beyond belief ... The Patriots have figured out this notion [that] they want you to take the ball at the start of the game so they will have it at the end of the first half and the start of the second half—the famed "double score." In baseball, the visiting team bats first. So, in football, [I am in favor of] the visiting team gets the ball. So it's not this stupid coin flip game where one team's strategy is paying off on the luck of the draw. Make it standard. The visiting team takes the ball first.
Joe Sullivan: I really like that. I think it's very good.
On getting rid of overtime in the regular season
Joe Sullivan: I don't think they need overtime in the regular season. It's not the end of the world to have a tie. Now, what do you do in the playoffs? You put 15 minutes on the clock and you play all 15 minutes. So, play a fifth quarter! That's what I want in the playoffs.
On not counting rebounds after missed foul shots
Dan Shaughnessy: Larry Bird used to tell me [that] he didn't think that when you line up for the free throw, that you should get credit for that rebound on the miss. You're already gaining position. This is just a statistical thing. Because [former Celtics Rajon] Rondo was a rebound whore. He would chase the ball at the other end of the floor at the end of the quarter and go pick it up so they'd get one more rebound. He just loved that sort of thing. So you've got to be more honest with the statistical stuff there.
On having fewer timeouts
Joe Sullivan: One timeout per half, maybe two in the second [half]. That is it.
Dan Shaughnessy: [The NBA has to] figure out a way to get more continuous play at the end of games. The last 40 seconds takes like 20 minutes with commercials and everything else. That is just not acceptable.
"I'd rather see some free flow and players making decisions rather than coaches diagramming plays"Joe Sullivan, on the end of NBA games
Joe Sullivan: They have all the TV timeouts anyway. Why do they need all these other ones!? It's ridiculous. And it's over-coached at the end. I'd rather see some free flow and players making decisions rather than coaches diagramming plays—unless you're Brad Stevens, because it seems that every time he comes out of a timeout they get a dunk.
On faster inbounding after a violation
Joe Sullivan: Let's say someone gets called for traveling. He's got to give the ball to the referee. Everyone's gotta get over to the sidelines. I think the defensive team should be able to just grab the ball and inbound it quick like they do in soccer when there's a violation. You can just take the ball and kick it. Real quick.
On getting rid of injury time at the end of games
Dan Shaughnessy: Let's get rid of the injury time at the end of the game and the notion that one person in the whole world knows how much time is left on the clock. You've got the most important game in the world—World Cup final, whatever, and it's 0-0 or 1-1 and then the game clock goes down to zero. And...they're still out there. And one person is running around with a whistle and an injury time watch. It takes away all the drama of sports! You watch the clock go down to zero and everyone [besides the one ref] is left in the dark on this important event as to how much time is left. It's the stupidest rule in sports.
"The stupidest rule in sports"Dan Shaughnessy, on injury time in soccer
On making hockey 4-on-4 instead of 5-on-5
Dan Shaughnessy: I would do something very drastic to hockey just to make the game better. And that is, take one guy off the ice from each side. Four-on-four. It's a better game. I mean, sometimes when you get those matching penalties they play four-on-four and it is just beautiful to watch.
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