Wednesday June 10th, 2009

You know those fantasy-type things or charity auction items where you win the chance to meet your favorite hot-shot sports star or go to the championship game of your dreams? Well, me -- now if I could dream to have one thing in sports, it would be to have a groundskeeper from a major league baseball team do my lawn the way they cut outfields. That's my sports wish.

Really, is there anything on God's green earth that looks neater than an outfield, all sparkling clean, undefiled, and cut in swaths of dark green and light green? How do they do that? Wouldn't you just love to have your yard that way?

And the reason baseball fields look better all the time is because the playing areas of other sports have gotten all cluttered and tacky. Isn't it enough to have all the advertisements around the field without writing all over the football fields, basketball courts, hockey rinks and boxing rings themselves? Clutter.

Football fields are the worst. Everything else is trending green. Football fields are the anti-green movement. The writing on the midfield takes up more space and grows uglier all the time. Soon it'll be down to the red zone. And the red zone will be red -- cerise, magenta, cinnamon, scarlet. Every team will have its own special red. Already, they scribble all over the middle of the field so much now, splashing logos and letters and all sorts of colors that when the teams are scrimmaging around the 50-yard line it looks like they're playing football on a Jackson Pollock painting.

And speaking of cluttering up the football field, my friend The Sports Curmudgeon asks: can't we do something about limiting the number of football captains? I mean, how many mesomorphs does it take to call one coin toss? OK ... co-captains. Two guys, max. But now teams send out whole phalanxes of so called captains, cluttering up the midfield. Football is like a children's birthday party now, where everybody gets a present. Everybody gets to be a captain, cluttering up the field. Clutter, clutter.

And at all games, there's artificial noise cluttering the air and blinking, flashing scoreboards cluttering your vision and wholesale tattoos cluttering the players' bodies, and people talking on cell phones with the bases loaded cluttering up the best seats.

And now -- well, we knew it was going to happen someday in the United States -- the dam has been broken, and a team in the WNBA, the Phoenix Mercury, is going to wear uniforms that don't say Phoenix or Mercury, but tout a commercial product. Apres la WNBA, le deluge. The Houston Texans of the NFL are selling advertising space on their practice jerseys. Of course, this has long been the custom abroad and in auto racing -- uniforms all cluttered up with advertisements.

So only expect more clutter down on the American field. Thank God for pristine outfields. And, ah, excuse me: now I have to go and cut my lawn the old-fashioned way.

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