The NHL has shiny new rules to boost scoring. The Royal & Ancient just made 111 changes to the Rules of Golf. Baseball promises to change its steroid suspension rules, from tickling to lashes with fettuccini.
Sure. Fine. Wonderful. But nobody ever changes the rules that really need fixing.
Therefore, by the power vested in me by my bartender, the following are decreed, from this day forward:
•Athletes who chew tobacco shall swallow, not spit.
•A parent must be able to defeat his kid in a sport, lefthanded, before screaming advice at him during the game.
•No one shall take more than 60 seconds to sing the national anthem. And no torturing the notes. You ain't Mariah Carey.
•Cities that build lavish stadiums for their pro teams must rank among the nation's top 10 cities in per-pupil education spending. Until then, the damn tycoons can build their own palaces.
•Oh, and stadiums shall have no more than one name in a 10-year period. You sold it to Thong.com, you live with it.
•High fives and fist bumps shall no longer be permitted to celebrate a) fantasy-league performances; b) replacing the fan belt successfully; or c) getting a waitress's phone number.
•No one shall sit behind home plate waving like a Navy signalman and yelling into his cellphone, "D'you see me? D'you see me?" Yes, we see you. And now we get to see security stomp your phone into volcanic ash.
•Managers and coaches shall no longer wear uniforms. My God, you're Don Zimmer. You have the physique of a LoveSac. Put on some clothes.
•ESPN shall be limited to five gratuitous product mentions per broadcast; e.g., "... and Game 7 is tonight in Anaheim, which has a brand-new ESPNZone!"
•Fox shall be limited to 200 dramatic playoff cutaways of Joe Torre probing his nose.
•NFL fans shall call one play per game, except when Oakland Raiders coach Norv Turner is involved, in which case fans shall call the entire game.
•Hitters may not step out of the box if they didn't swing. Sorry, Nomar, no more adjusting your gloves, belt, hat and cup every single pitch like Rain Man on a Starbucks drip.
•Any ball hit into the crowd must be passed to the nearest kid.
•No hitter shall have his favorite song played at the plate unless he had a hit last time up. Otherwise it's Tie a Yellow Ribbon on the Hammond B3.
•Player bios shall now include police blotter stats: 83 touchdowns, five Pro Bowls, three domestic disputes, two DUIs and that weird charge involving the ferret.
•There shall be free drops from fairway divots.
•Skybox patrons shall be subject to surprise interrogations, in which they'll be required to know the score of the game. If they don't, they must take their sashimi and leave, to be replaced by fans who know how to actually make some noise.
•Any Detroit Piston shall be allowed one hernia-inducing, face-bluing tantrum per game. Two, and he wears Pampers for the rest of the night.
•Following Darwin's principles, families who own sports teams that haven't won a championship in 25 years shall not be allowed to pass the franchise to their heirs (shamelessly stolen from genius reader Ken Ura, Troy, Mich.).
•A player gets an assist if the guy he passed to is fouled and makes both free throws.
•Fans who come onto the field waive their right not to get beaten like an egg yolk. Same for players charging into the stands. From now on, it's a Chinese wall.
•There shall be a maximum of three repeats on any fan-shouted insult. O.K., we get it. You want David Wells to try a salad. Now sit down.
•There shall be a salary cap of $100 million in baseball. Every million over earns an extra loss. Let's see what a genius Furious George is now.
•Any college coach making more than $1 million a year shall fund the return of an extinct "minor" sport--swimming, wrestling, etc.--at his school, except Oklahoma's Bob Stoops ($2.4 million, 2-2 record this season), who shall fund three.
•Basketball players shall no longer be able to take a timeout when they are trapped and falling out-of-bounds. Does a QB get to take one when he's about to be sacked?
•No more male cheerleaders. This includes Ahmad Rashad.
All complaints should be made, in person, to Tiger Woods's caddie, Stevie Williams, Chief of Enforcement.
• If you have a comment for Rick Reilly, send it to email@example.com.
There shall be a maximum of three repeats of any fan-shouted insult. We get it. You want David Wells to try a salad. Now sit down.
PETER READ MILLER