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In a perfect world, 99 things in need of sports rehab

8/19/2005

The September issue of Men's Journal magazine features 99 Perfect Things in, you know, Mendom.

Now presenting, 99 Imperfect Things in Sportsdom:

99) No late West Coast box scores in East Coast newspapers.

98) Recruiting rankings. NFL teams spend hundreds of thousands (millions?) of dollars on scouting, and they still draft Ryan Leaf second overall in 1998. If they can screw up, just think of the evaluation mistakes high school recruiting gurus can make.

97) NCAA Tournament seedings. A No. 12 seed has reached the Sweet 16 in five of the last seven years.

96) TV timeouts.

95) Six-minute renditions of "The Star-Spangled Banner.''

94) All-Star Game voting. The Cubs' Nomar Garciaparra plays only 14 games in the first half (0 homers, 4 RBI) ... and finishes third in the NL balloting for shortstops (1,307,973 votes?).

93) The salary cap.

92) Greens fees at Pebble Beach. A nifty $425, plus cart fee.

91) Steroid testing.

90) Athletes who speak in the third person.

89) The Iowa Cubs in the Pacific Coast League.

88) Jerry Rice playing for his fourth team in six years.

87) No World Series day games.

86) Two-question halftime interviews with coaches. Featuring the old reliable, "What did you say to your team at halftime?''

85) Betting spreads.

84) Any boom mike positioned too close to Tiger Woods after a bad shot.

83) Any review system that forces NFL coaches to fling red handkerchiefs onto the field. Can you imagine what Da Coach would have done with that thing?

82) Vijay Singh's soul patch.

81) The New York Times weekly football computer poll. 1 -- Vanderbilt, 2 -- San Jose State, 3 -- USC.

80) The way sportswriters are portrayed in movies and TV shows. We really don't wear Munsingwear shirts, smoke cheap cigars, and say stupid things. Check that. I once knew a sportswriter who asked, "Weren't there a lot of black catchers in the Negro Leagues?''

79) The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears play outdoors, but not the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings.

78) The Davis Cup. Quick, name the last winner.

77) Ron Santo not in the Hall of Fame.

76) Strike zones.

75) NBA refs who swallow their whistles when they see traveling.

74) "YMCA.''

73) The Pro Bowl. The halftime bands play harder.

72) Jeff Gordon and the Seventh-Inning Stretch. Wrigley Stadium? This is what too many G-forces can do.

71) The tie goes to the runner. Why?

70) Having to pay for exhibition games as part of your NFL season ticket package.

69) Heisman Trophy voting.

68) The designated hitter.

67) Tropicana Field. Where stadium architecture went to die.

66) Congressional hearings.

65) Big-league hitters who can't bunt.

64) Fantasy drafts. Friends don't let friends recite their draft-day roster.

63) Lift, clean and replace.

62) Jose Canseco -- Voice of Reason.

61) Gymnastics, figure skating, and/or boxing judging. Their motto: "Jobbing Athletes for Decades.''

60) Radar guns.

59) High school players announcing their college choices in televised press conferences. ESPN ... guilty.

58) NFL, NBA age limits. Hypocrisy personified.

57) The prevent defense.

56) Todd Bertuzzi in the NHL. When Steve Moore can play again, then so can Bertuzzi.

55) Tuesday night college football.

54) Sports talk radio.

53) Preferred seating licenses. Licenses to steal.

52) NCAA transfer rules. A college football coach can ditch his school without penalty, but a college player has to sit out a year?

51) Little League dads. They should be seen, but not heard.

50) Male cheerleaders with beer bellies. Actually, male cheerleaders -- period.

49) Any rule that allows someone to call a timeout while falling out of bounds.

48) Rookies.

47) Low-rider baseball pants that hide the stirrups.

46) Augusta National's membership: 10,000 azaleas, not one woman member.

45) Rafael Palmeiro's wagging finger.

44) Not being able to keep footballs kicked into the stands. Is it our fault the thing cleared the goal-post netting?

43) The visiting clubhouses at Fenway Park and Wrigley. Tinier than the room where Britney Spears stores her Oscars.

42) Drew Rosenhaus. Responsible for more BS than Bevo.

41) Scalpers.

40) An 11-team conference called The Big Ten.

39) U.S. Open 18-hole playoff format.

38) Only three African-American head coaches in Division I-A football. Incredibly enough, down from a year ago.

37) Non-conference schedules softer than Rick Majerus' tummy.

36) Scouting reports. "Wade Boggs? He'll be selling whole life in two years.''

35) Commercial. Kickoff. Commercial.

34) Interleague play. Hey, everybody, it's the Royals vs. the Rockies!

33) Chewing tobacco.

32) Hockey telecasts. Find the puck -- I dare you.

31) Athletes as role models.

30) Columnists.

29) Alternate jerseys. Does the world really need a third version of the Baltimore Ravens' design?

28) 28 bowl games. Welcome to the Maury's Bail Bondsman Bowl!

27) Collective Bargaining Agreements.

26) Ray Liotta batting right-handed in "Field of Dreams.'' Every seamhead in America knows his character, Shoeless Joe Jackson, hit left-handed.

25) Not being able to take a free drop when your ball rolls into a divot.

24) The Washington Redskins. Has Daniel Snyder ever spoken to an actual American Indian about that nickname?

23) Steve Belkin.

22) Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl stadiums. Nothing an implosion couldn't solve.

21) No NHL franchise in Chicago Oh, wait -- there is?

20) NFL quarterback ratings. How can 158.3 be the best rating in anything?

19) QuestTec.

18) The two months it takes to play a best-of-seven series in the NBA playoffs.

17) Steve Williams. The caddy photographers would most like to smack with their zoom lenses.

16) "We Are The Champions'' song. Even Freddie Mercury would be tired of hearing it.

15) Donald Sterling. The Bill Wirtz of the NBA.

14) Book proposal: "Looking Back! The Michelle Wie Story.'' Chapter One: The Power Ranger Years.

13) The Cleveland Browns orange-on-orange unis.

12) Shaq's free-throw percentage.

11) Boxing's heavyweight division. Ali could still beat half these guys.

10) Tyrone Willingham gets fired, but Gary Barnett and his Teflon whistle don't?

9) The 487-page NCAA rules manual. Harder to understand than Schwarzenegger doing Shakespeare in the park.

8) The Division I-A coaches' football poll.

7) The Indy 500. Remember when it really mattered?

6) Neither the New York Giants nor New York Jets actually playing in New York.

5) The ESPN bottom-of-the-TV screen scoreboard. It gives way to a commercial a nanosecond before the score you've been waiting on is supposed to appear.

4) Athletes who want to be rappers. Rappers who want to be athletes.

3) A corporate sports world moving dangerously close to Viagra Stadium of Soldier Field.

2) Fans who think a paid ticket gives them the right to open the payload door and drop whatever verbal bombshells they choose -- no matter how many little kids are sitting in front of them.

1) The BCS.

Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at gene.wojciechowski@espn3.com.