There is one cause I just can’t get away from, and after watching a large amount of both boys and girls lacrosse games this spring, more salt has been rubbed into the wound. The difference in boys and girls high school lacrosse is unlike any other sport, and the two sports are entirely different. The boys game is the most physical of sports, with large amounts of body contact and stickwork. Anyone trying to score a goal most likely will pay for it because the defense will use physical measures to stop him. The players wear helmets and they are an essential part of the game.
The girls do not wear helmets and the game comes complete with a number of additional rules. There is very little contact, and two of the worst rules in the world are in place — lack of continuation when a goal is scored and an infringement is called, and “shooting space” infringement. That one would be like a hockey defenseman blocking a shot and being called for getting in the way of a goal scorer.
I don’t expect or want the girls game to be the boys game, but something needs to be done to find a middle ground. Girls sports have come a long way. Girls soccer is much more physical than it used to be, but lacrosse has set the girls back to a time when Father Knew Best, Beaver was getting pranked by Eddie Haskell, and servers skated hamburgers and milkshakes out to cars.
The best thing any baseball or softball umpire can do is to call the entire strike zone, from north to south and from east to west. The worst baseball and softball games happen when umpires have a tight strike zone. Pitchers can’t hit corners and have to pitch to the middle of the plate. There are more walks, which slows the pace of the game down. Umpires, be consistent and be generous to the pitchers. The hitters will adjust and the games will be better.
I was watching a New York Yankees game last night and the announcer was amazed that there might be six future Hall of Famers on the Yankees. That’s what a 200+ million dollar payroll will do.
These are crazy times for New England sports fans. The Bruins are thriving, the Celtics are struggling and the Red Sox are rebounding. It is possible that April and May are the two best sporting months of the year, especially with high school spring sports added to the equation.
There is talk about UMass going to Division 1 football. With the powerful professional sports teams that we have, is that something that will catch the public’s attention?
There is little question that football has now taken the place of baseball as the national pastime. Baseball has done a lot of things to hurt its own cause. It has televised play-off games at times that make it tough for younger kids to watch them. It has two leagues with different rules, one with the designated hitter and one without. It is in the middle of a steroid conflict that has records being looked at and questioned. Football has moved to the front and the Super Bowl is the number one sporting event in the country. If you require further proof, just look at the attention the recently held National Football League draft received. Years back, who would have thought that the draft would have been televised over a three-day period. But football would be smart to settle its lockout problems.