Fix a sport

Finish line cameras work like this:

Oh yeah. That’s one of those things I knew, but forgot I knew.


Four different final-set tiebreak rules at four majors? Not any more!

Now five set matches for women please.

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It’s been suggested in the past but it’s happening for real.

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Rick Reilly, now there’s a byline that was kind of a shocker to see.

Funny what we got, and got wrong discussing it two years ago:

When teams get to the World Cup FIFA pays. FIFA pays men much more than women. The US teams have agreed to pool the money that comes from FIFA and divide it evenly. It’s only appropriate since our women’s team are champs and US men are mediocre.

But to really fix the sport, we need to get FIFA to pay out equally. TV networks to pay equally. Sponsors to pay equally. etc.

An easy solution I think would just be for FIFA to sell it as a package deal. You an sponsor both world cups or no world cups. You can broadcast both world cups, or no world cups. One price for the whole deal.

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I don’t know much about speed cubing other than it’s a thing. Saw this video today. I was expecting it to be one of those community flamewar deals. Obviously I wouldn’t be sharing it if that was the case.

I 100% agree with the video. The current rules of speed cubing are that you get a maximum of 15 seconds of inspection time. You can’t go over that, but you can go under. There is no benefit how far you go under. You might as well use the full 15 seconds, even if you don’t need it all. The entire competition is based on just the physical manipulation time.

IMHO the inspection skill is just as difficult, if not even moreso, than the physical execution skill. Both should be rewarded. The video is on the right track suggesting that the Red Bull one-handed no-inspection competition is a good way to fix things.

I also believe that there is conceivably some way to make a competition in which only the inspection time is measured, and not the execution time. This would make cubing accessible to people who have the mental capacity to see and solve the cube quickly, but are unable to physically manipulate it quickly (or at all).


I’ve found the story of sports climbing in the Olympics quite fascinating. There are three different kinds of climbing, and in Tokyo there was a single medal for all three combined, which made nobody happy, except that someone could win a medal in climbing.

Now speed climbing has its own medal, but that means bouldering and lead still have to have a combined medal. Which is less bad, but still not what should happen: three medals.

First test of the new format seems to have gone okay though.

I can see having bouldering and lead being combined, but as you say, it’s not great.

There’s transferable skills there but competition bouldering has really gotten away from the same sort of climbing that lead is. You’re not going to be doing all those crazy dynos on a lead wall.

No, there are still three walls. But after all the individual events, there are new routes set on the bouldering and lead walls, and the combined is a new competition. Nobody is doing bouldering on the lead wall.

That’s not quite what I meant.

To try and clarify, I would prefer that the lead and bouldering be more separate competitions. While the skills used in both are similar, you’re climbing a wall, they differ in the exact methods and skills used to scale those walls.
Dynos being something that you can train in that will help you a great deal on the bouldering is something you won’t find often on a lead wall. And conversely the skills for lead climbing, the endurance and more static methods for climbing, can work for bouldering but won’t help you nearly as much as more bouldering focused skills.

No where did I intend to give anyone the impression that I thought that you’d be trying to boulder on a lead wall, or visa versa.

In that case you are just repeating what I said and what the video said: everyone thinks they should be separate competitions.

But the Olympics is only allowing two medals for sports climbing in Paris, so the best split is speed climbing for one medal and combined bouldering and lead for the other medal. This was the first test of the combined event.

Radical idea:

A Safety in football should be worth between 9 and 11 points (I’m open on this part), instead of only 2 points.

Safeties are harder to pull off than a touchdown or a field goal. In all other sports, the thing that is harder and rarer is worth more points. A Grand Slam is harder and rarer than a Home Run. A Three Point Shot is more difficult than a normal shot.

Giving a team only 2 points for a Safety is like Steph Curry hitting a half-court shot and only giving him 1 point.

This is very true. The points rewards for a lot of sports are not commensurate with the difficulty of scoring. People often suggest scaling the scoring appropriately, but it is extremely controversial. The main problem is that changing the scoring will also change how the game is played.

The three point shot in basketball was, and in some circles still is, very controversial. Nobody thinks that scoring from beyond half court is as easy as a layup, and is thus only worthy of the same score. They are worried that if half court shots are worth 4+ points that players will keep attempting them. For a spectator sport they want to incentivize exciting entertaining play more than they want to emphasize difficult play. Difficult things aren’t necessarily the most exciting. Dunking over someone’s head for 2 is usually more thrilling than a wide open 3 pointer. Some people just don’t want to watch players shoot threes.

And so it goes with handegg. You don’t see many safeties not only because they are difficult, but because they are only worth 2 points. If they were worth 9 points you would see teams stop trying to go for the first down when they are pinned in their own end, and opt to punt instead. Less excitement.

I guess it’s also worth mentioning that if you score the 2 point safety you also get the ball back. Right? So a safety also comes with the reward of a turnover in addition to the reward of 2 points. That counts for something. If the safety is going to be worth 9, then the team that gave up the safety should keep the ball.

Lots of sports could scale their scoring based on difficulty. 1/2 points for empty net goals in ice hockey? Tennis points being worth more depending on what shot is being returned and after how many volleys? Baseball home runs worth more depending on the difficulty of the pitch that was thrown or how far the ball travels?

One thing I definitely think should happen that soccer fans will hate. Even if soccer refs start properly calling diving and such, goals on penalty kicks should still be worth less than goals in the normal course of play.

Apparently, I am not the first person to come up with this idea:

The author of that article, who knows much more about football than I ever will, argues that even taking into consideration that the team that scores the Safety gets the ball back, it’s still undervalued.

Also, the author makes some pretty good arguments as to why making a Safety be worth 11 points will make football MORE exciting, not less.

I hadn’t considered the shenanigans of intentionally not going into the endzone so you can turn the ball over on downs on the 1 yard line to go for a safety.

On the one hand, that’s a shenanigan, and a good argument against this rule change. On the other hand, football already is loaded with those kinds of shenanigans, and they are arguably best thing about football.

We already have players intentionally not going into the endzone for a touchdown because they want to run more time off the clock before turning the ball over to the other team. This is right in line with that.

I like it.

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MLB taking some more small steps to fix itself next season.

Really, one of the best things MLB can do to increase popularity is make the broadcast more exciting. Somehow, the Mets broadcasters at SNY are at the absolute forefront. They intentionally removed a commercial break, losing actual money, to do give the closer a cinematic hype entrance like it’s pro wrestling. They even crop to a wider aspect ratio for effect.

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How would pro athletes fix their own sport?

Not too different from the suggestions of fans and the media.

Combine the rules of Blitzball with the rules of Cricket and make the whole thing lean towards less slowdown and offense you get Critzball!