Last updated: June 05. 2014 11:11AM - 169 Views
By HAROLD HARMON Sports Writer



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Sure is nice and quiet with this lull in the sports season.


Don’t you just hate it?


Yeah, I know we have pro baseball for another 600 games or however long the season is now. I know we have NBA finals where we get to watch superb physical specimens break just about every rule that made basketball a joy to watch or even try to play.


You may not have noticed, but many NBA players are pretty big. They take long strides when they have the basketball and sometimes they may even dribble it a few times.


Thing is, they usually don’t dribble on the last four or five steps they take before a layup or dunk.


Usually it’s a dunk because it seems more of them can make a dunk than can make a layup.


Then we have the “defender” doing what is called a flop before the “offender” really touches him. Back in the day if something like that happened the officials would call a charge or a block.


If not a charge or block and a body went sprawling, there was always the technical foul for faking contact. If a 6-9, 250-pound defender hits the floor without being helped along by a 6-11, 305-pound offensive player making contact, that was simply Hollywood at its finest.


Basketball as it was meant to be played is a marvelous sport.


Basketball as it is now played is an insult to a truly great game.


Baseball is a great game to play or watch if you just watch one game a week because that’s about how long it takes to play a game.


There are some things that would speed it along, but those things are rarely enforced by the umpires.


Used to be pitchers had just so long to throw the ball. Today, they are allowed to straighten their caps, rearrange their uniforms, check their cleats, scratch various places, then step off the rubber and do it all again before delivering a pitch.


Then, of course, when the pitcher is ready to throw, the batter has to step out and do his cap, uniform, cleats, scratching routine by which time the pitcher has stepped off the rubber, ad nauseum.


Our professional leagues have taken great games and made travesties of them, with help from game officials, players’ unions and other stuff we didn’t have back in the day.


Don’t you just love it when a manager talks about his pitchers and how old so-and-so had a “quality” start when he went maybe four innings?


How long has it been since you saw a starting pitcher still playing at the end of a game?


How about all of the injuries to professional baseball players? Teams have their own doctors and training staffs, their own workout people and players don’t have to work off-season jobs to buy hamburgers.


Modern players come to camp – most of them, anyway – in really good shape because of off-season conditioning.


So what happens? They get hurt. Check out the number of Tommy John injuries and explain that to me.


PRO FOOTBALL doesn’t escape the “modern game” tag, either.


Remember the two-way player? We had some pretty good games in those days, too.


Now we have “voluntary” workouts and OTAs (organized team activities) for the players, who also, in theory, come to camp in shape.


No pro athlete today has to worry about off-season jobs because everybody makes obscene amounts of money.


All pro football teams have invested bunches of money in doctors and trainers. All have special weight and conditioning coaches. If players come to camp in shape and have access to all of the above, nobody would ever get hurt except by some tremendous collision. Right? Wrong.


The Dallas Cowboys were a couple of hours into the first day (I think it was the first day) of working without pads and without contact.


The middle linebacker, among the best in the game, slipped at the same time an offensive lineman was about to make contact (gentle contact, of course) and both went to the ground.


The middle linebacker is out for the season. The whole stinking season. In a non-contact, no-pads drill.


Give the Cowboys credit. Management didn’t just sit around and cry about it. Management took steps to prevent this kind of thing from happening.


Management has installed ballet bars (barres) so the players can better stretch and avoid bad stuff.


Can’t you just imagine the flack coming down when the Cowboys have to announce a player has been lost for the season because of a ballet injury?


Now that we’re going to have the professionals inflicted all over us, have you ever considered a good book?

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