Change is good for sports

By Jeffery Armstrong

September 11 will always be a big day because of the tragedy that happened on that day three years ago. Sept. 11, 2004 was also a big day because it marked a change in the way NASCAR awards its season champions.

The top 10 drivers in NASCAR will now fight in the "Chase for the Championship" a series where the drivers' points are re-arranged and over these next 10 races, those guys will be contention for the NASCAR championship.

Many people have expressed their displeasure over this new system, but it doesn't bother me. It is amazing how much people hate change, especially in sports. Why does everything in sports have to stay the same as they have been since 1906 or whenever?

I like it when teams sport new uniforms, new logos, new playoff systems and new points systems.

Yeah, some team's new uniforms aren't really that great (i.e., the Houston Rockets new digs), but they are better than the plain uniforms from the 70's or early 80's even.

Baseball "purists" were up in arms when major league baseball decided to add a wild card playoff format back in 1995. It's been one of the great ideas that league has established. Pro baseball is not one of my favorite sports anymore, but imagine how much more it would stink if there wasn't a wild card round. Wild card races keep fans in the games because more teams have a chance to make the playoffs. And isn't that what sports is about n making the postseason and trying to win a championship?

ESPN has celebrated its 25th anniversary with a weekly listing of 25 greatest events, players, games, etc. in sports all summer long. I don't have 25, but here are several sports changes that in my opinion have helped the sports.

n Interleague baseball: Having National League teams play American League teams in the middle of the season is wonderful for pro baseball fans and players. This change allowed fans who live in certain cities to see players they may not have ever seen in person. John Smoltz of the Braves is from Detroit and he was ecstatic to pitch against the American League's Detroit Tigers in Detroit. Many of his relatives were able to finally see him pitch in person and Smoltz was able to hang out with family during his trip home.

n Yellow first-down line: Years ago, the NFL added a yellow line on the field so viewers could see where the teams had to go to get a first down. That was a great invention; in fact, I don't know how I watched NFL football before that line was created.

n Instant replay: Many may disagree, but the NFL adding instant replay was a great change for pro football. Sure, it may make the game a bit longer, but it's worth it when a possible game-changing bad call is overturned. Nothing is worse than losing a game over a bad call by the officials.

n Mercy rule (high school football): When a team is leading by 30 or more points on another team at halftime, the game clock will not be stopped in the second half unless a team scores, a player is injured or the officials call for time. This speeds up a blowout so everyone can get out of the stadium quickly to celebrate n or to drown their sorrows.

Jeffery Armstrong is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Thursdays. He can be reached at jarmstrong@news-daily.com .