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Tradition in Sports is Overrated

Jun 23, 2014 -- 12:46pm

Tradition in sports is overrated.

The two sports most closely associated with tradition are golf and baseball, but take a good look at them and you’ll find they’ve constantly thumbing their noses at tradition.

What got me to thinking about this was a conversation I heard recently on Frank Frangie’s show. The discussion was about the elimination of home plate collisions between runners and catchers.

“Its part of the game,” said Brent Martineau. “It’s tradition.”

Well, so was not allowing black players until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier; so was not having wildcard playoff teams; so was day-only baseball; so was not having a designated hitter and bullpen specialists . . . you see my point.

As for golf, few sports have changed more and continue to evolve. For one thing, the rules are constantly changing.

And no sport has undergone greater changes in its equipment than golf, right down to the ball. Imagine what Bobby Jones would think of today’s giant-headed drivers, for example? Or what Sam Snead would think of the cavity-back irons? Or what a young Arnold Palmer would think of the modern shafts?

The playing surfaces of the golf courses themselves have little in common with what Jack Nicklaus played on even in his final years as a major champion. The changes in the grasses from the tee boxes through the greens are significant.

Name a sport and it probably doesn’t look like anything played by your grandfather, even your father.

I’m all for tradition. I just wish there was more of it.  

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