Give athletes the pink slipWritten by Matt Sussman | | email@example.com
The news of 75 Toledo police officers getting their jobs whacked seemed shocking. My first thought was, “Um, can they do that? Don’t you need those people?”
But sure enough, layoffs are affecting everyone, even seemingly essential staff members. Departments are being shrunk as if Rick Moranis was inadvertently involved. Careers are being popped like bubble wrap in the hands of frenetic children. And people everywhere are pawning their gold jewelry left and right, causing former trophy wives to finally look like the rest of us.
But what about sports?
There have been franchises that jettisoned some office jobs, but the rosters have always been sacrosanct. There are still 25-man rosters in baseball, 53 on a football sideline and 12 on a basketball bench. If hockey can play four-on-four hockey at times, then certainly the rest of the leagues can begin trimming overhead and widening their profit margin.
Basketball: Four-on-four hoops would be intriguing. The floor would be more wide open. More individual matchups would be exploited. Heck, why stop there? Two-on-two basketball is all you need. It harkens us to the days of “NBA Jam.” Finally, LeBron James doesn’t need teammates.
Football: Intramural football is already seven-on-seven. Do we really need five linemen? Not if there’s only one pass rusher. And how necessary is the quarterback? Surely, the Lions might agree with this.
Baseball: This one may be tricky. The players are already quite spread out on the field, but the infielders do seem to interfere with each other sometimes. Pitchers are prevalent on the rosters, and I always suspected the move from a four-man starting rotation to a five-man was a direct product of the dot-com boom. No team can afford this anymore, and most teams probably wouldn’t be that broken up about losing their No. 5 starter.
Golf: Tiger Woods has a coach. This to me has always seemed to be overdoing it.
Quidditch: Yes, times are so bad, even fictional sports in Harry Potter books need to trim the fat. Do you know they have a position whose sole job is to fly around and catch the one magical ball that essentially wins the game? Meanwhile, six other players on the team play an almost separate game. The way I see it, you don’t need those other six. Write them all letters of recommendation.
Third-grade kickball: Don’t get me wrong, I am all for participation, but jeez, they let everyone in gym class kick in the lineup. This is excessive and waters down the level of play. Take some of the lovable scamps at the end of the line and outsource them to social studies.
Mixed martial arts: Just fire everyone, since I’ve never warmed up to the sport. Some of them will likely turn out to be great volunteer neighborhood watchmen, which solves the initial problem of laid-off policemen.
Matt Sussman blogs at www.toledofreepress.com.