Friday, May 26, 2006

Randomization: 05/26/06

This is really stupid. There's this movement within youth and high school sports to regulate sportsmanship. We've seen some leagues eschew the practice of actually keeping score in games, and the latest movement comes from Connecticut, where they are trying to artifically and automatically keep the score down in games.
The football committee of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which governs high school sports, is adopting a "score management" policy that will suspend coaches whose teams win by more than 50 points.
A rout is considered an unsportsmanlike infraction and the coach of the offending team will be disqualified from coaching the next game, said Tony Mosa, assistant executive director of the Cheshire, Conn.-based conference.
"We were concerned with any coach running up the game. There's no need for it," Mosa said. "This is something that we really have been discussing for the last couple of years. There were a number of games that were played where the difference of scores were 60 points or more. It's not focused on any one particular person."
I can't put in words how dumb this is. I am all for sportsmanship. I'm all for not intentionally running up the score against an inferior opponent, and I know that in all non-professional levels of sports, you will have strong teams that face weaker opponents. It's a reality of life for high school and college teams. They know that they will be on one end or the other of blowouts over the course of the season.

But you can't force teams to keep the score down without insulting their opponent. If the problem you are facing as a high-school sports organization is that you have teams winning football games 90-0, the answer isn't to force the winning team to hold their score below 50 to avoid having their coach suspended.

The answer is to figure out why a team that is so bad that it's even possible to lose a football game 90-0 is playing that opponent in the first place. Are they in a conference that they shouldn't be in? Are they in a class/division that they shouldn't be in? Are they simply not competitive?

Forcing teams to keep their margin of victory under 50 doesn't teach sportsmanship. It teaches athletes and teams to insult their opponents, and that's not what we should be teaching young athletes.

Racing across America. One of the great traditions of Memorial Day weekend is the Indianapolis 500. The open-wheel racing circuit's signature event starts off a full day of big-time racing on Sunday. Sam Hornish, Jr., has the pole for the race, but all eyes are obviously on Danica Patrick. You can figure it out without me posting one of the FHM pictures.

ABC will have a camera on Patrick throughout the race, and they certainly are hopeful that she can perform as well as she did last year, when she led a lap and ended up fourth.

Meanwhile, the NASCAR circuit follows the Indy 500 with their annual marathon race in Charlotte. The Coca Cola 600 starts in the daylight and will end under the lights at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Scott Riggs has the pole, but in this race, all eyes will be on Jimmie Johnson, for different reasons than Patrick in the Indy race. Johnson is trying to four-peat as the Coca Cola 600 winner after winning the Nextel All-Star Challenge race at Lowe's last weekend. Everyone in NASCAR knows that Johnson's car is the car to beat in this race, but I have a sneaking suspicion that someone from the group of Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart, and Matt Kenseth will run well enough to keep Johnson out of Victory Lane.

Ladies and gentlemen, Larry King. The Royals have lost 13 straight and are on pace to be worse than the 1962 New York Mets and the 2003 Detroit Tigers. There are other teams, namely the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have experienced a similar lack of success in recent years. But with so many talented young players on the roster, it's hard to imagine the Pirates continuing to suck. The Royals, meanwhile, have a terrible major-league team that has virtually no potential. It's a good baseball town that is being ruined by a bad organization . . . Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty will officially label himself as a "hypocrite" tonight when he signs the Twins stadium bill. I really wish they would have gone ahead with a referendum, because it would have been interesting what step they would have tried to take after it failed 60/40 . . . Edmonton blew a chance to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals, getting outshot 25-3 in the first period in route to a 6-3 loss to Anaheim. It was, by far, Edmonton's worst playoff performance in years, but credit the Ducks for taking it to Edmonton practically from the opening faceoff. The Oilers will try again on Saturday in Anaheim, where they won the first two games of the series . . . OLN sucks. Their horrendous coverage, which lacks any depth whatsoever, is not doing any favors to the struggling NHL . . . Speaking of OLN, someone please tell color man Neil Smith, working the Edmonton-Anaheim series, to stop trying to crack jokes. He's about as funny as a pipe bomb.

Enjoy the weekend. Probably not going to post on Monday, but will definitely be back Tuesday. We'll recap all the hockey and hoops and talk more baseball.

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