Editor’s note: This article appears in the August 14 issue of ESPN The Magazine.
Under normal circumstances, you’d have a better chance of getting a B-12 shot from Miguel Tejada than seeing me devote an entire column to a reader’s e-mail. But how could anyone resist this Nash-like setup from Bo in Austin, Texas?
“My list of how to make sports better for everyone: 1) Barry Bonds goes to jail; 2) Bud Selig and David Stern resign; 3) Yankees miss the playoffs. Feel free to add anything I may have missed.”
With pleasure! Let’s extend Bo’s list to 33
4) David Stern resigns but to become President of the United States.
5) The Knicks extend Isiah’s deal through 2015 by explaining, “This had nothing to do with winning or losing. We had to do it for comedy’s sake.”
6) Julio Franco isn’t allowed to retire. He has to keep playing until we all agree he can stop. Let’s see how far this can go.
7) All right, would you rather keep reading boring story after boring story about the messy ownership situations with the Sonics and Hawks or would you rather see them merge franchises, move to Vegas and immediately become the Las Vegas Dice? (Wow, you picked the latter! I can’t believe it!)
8) Sideline reporters — gone. We survived the World Cup without them, right?
9) I’m not ready to abolish baseball’s All-Star Game, even though the voting process sucks, every writer/radio host tries to pretend it’s a national tragedy that so-and-so didn’t make it (even though nobody can remember who played two weeks later), and the crowd always lapses into a collective coma by the third inning. But instead of “starting lineups,” let’s vote on “finishing lineups” — the eight best position players come in for the sixth and play the rest of the game. Shouldn’t the elite stars decide homefield advantage for the World Series? Besides, we need another format for A-Rod to choke in the clutch.
10) No more long putters, no more DH, no more puff pieces, no more sportswriters screaming at each other on TV, no more pickoff throws (you can only take a lead to a certain point), no more canned music during NBA play, no more Barbaro coverage.
11) We all agree that A) there will never be another MJ, and B) we’re not allowed to compare anyone to him.
12) Men’s tennis switches to a best-of-seven format with shorter sets — first to four wins a set, and if there’s a 4-4 tie, then we go to a longer tiebreaker (first to 10 points). I want to care about tennis again. Really, I do.
13) The Olympics and the World Cup happen every three years, not four. You can never have too much of a good thing.
14) Mike Shanahan agrees to stop platooning running backs and messing with the minds of countless fantasy owners.
15) No more NIT. Come on, you can’t have a tournament to determine the 65th best player in any sport. Imagine if there was a Junior Emmys to determine the 65th best TV actress, TV actor, sitcom, drama would that ever happen?
16) The Patriots go back to blood-red uniforms and the Pat Patriot logo. Enough is enough. I want my childhood back.
17) Baseball adopts the relegation system from the English Premier league — lose 100 games or more and you’re shipped to Triple-A for one season. That means you, Kansas City.
18) In the NBA, you can’t call a timeout immediately after another timeout, you can’t call time in midair and you can’t call time trailing by more than six with less than 20 seconds to play.
19) Fans get to vote on entrance music for their closers. If Detroit fans want to saddle Todd Jones with Tom Petty’s “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” or Nirvana’s “Rape Me,” that’s their choice. Also, all teams are required to use the bullpen car again. I miss the bullpen car.
20) Boxing takes a cue from the UFC and WWE and shifts to one monster pay-per-view every month (three hours of quality fights and a main event). Also, they go from three judges to five. And Don King is deported.
21) No more aluminum bats in college. We’re reaching the point where some roid-enhanced line drive is going to rip through a pitcher’s head like an assassin’s bullet.
22) Whenever there’s a replay challenge or serious injury in the NFL, they have to immediately go to a commercial, bang out as many ads as possible, then come back and tell us what happened. We could wipe out 10 minutes of TV timeouts per game.
23) When two NASCAR drivers get into a post-race fight, it has to be like hockey — everyone else stands back and lets the two guys have it out, even if they end up pulling their fire retardant suits over each other’s heads.
24) Speaking of hockey, the NHL has to dump six teams, cut down to a 70-game season and make every playoff series a best-of-nine. Also, they can’t show their playoff games on any network that could potentially give them a 2002 “Survivor” re-run as a lead-in.
25) To spruce up the always-lame PGA Championship, every player has to go caddy-less and carry his own bags for 72 holes. Now that’s a major! Like you wouldn’t watch just to see who was fading by Day Three, or to see Mickelson fighting off tears and saying things like, “This is a wakeup call, maybe I need to cut down on the carbs” after shooting a 92 and throwing up on the 14th hole.
26) Cameras are no longer allowed to zoom in within 18 inches of somebody’s face. I don’t need any more unpopped whiteheads, acne scars and dangling nose hairs in my life.
27) My bosses won’t allow me to say which six announcers I would deport to Eastern Europe, but here are their initials jumbled together backwards: WBMABCMJMTBJ.
28) For the “Season Pass” packages on DirecTV, we’d always have the option of watching the telecast with our favorite team’s announcers. What’s the point of shelling out two bills a year for the NBA or baseball and not getting your own guys every game? And while we’re on the subject, no more blacking out Saturday’s early Fox games on the West Coast. Unless you want me to eventually kill someone.
29) For NBA All-Star Weekend: A H-O-R-S-E contest, a halfcourt shot contest and a dunk contest with a rim that keeps raising like a high jump bar. I keep pushing for these three things, they keep ignoring me.
30) Sunglasses are banned from professional poker, for two reasons: A) it’s more interesting to see everyone’s eyes, and B) it’s hard to defend any sport where the players dress up like blind tourists.
31) At least one NHL team would be required to attempt the 500-pound goalie thing. Even if it’s for an exhibition game.
32) If someone has front row seats and brings their small child with them, and that poor kid subsequently gets struck by a foul ball or accidentally trampled by a gigantic basketball player then the parent loses all parental rights to that kid and Shea Hillenbrand gets to adopt him or her.
33) Barry Bonds goes to jail. We needed to mention that one twice.
Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine. His new book “Now I Can Die In Peace is available on Amazon.com and in bookstores everywhere.