The tale of the tape

I’m not sure how I feel about the recent controversy regarding Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome blowing away the field while wearing an equine-sized nasal strip. And then, threatening not to race in the Belmont Stakes for the Triple Crown, which hasn’t been won since 1978, unless he can, again, use the strips.

I’ve tried to find a reason, other than the strips help open up the nasal passages allowing for a better oxygen flow, for this glorious beast to look like it’s in a snoring-aid commercial.

If I’m not sure how I feel, then I must be against it. Unless Chrome has a deviated septum, which would be like a giraffe with a sore throat or an elephant with an earache, I say strip the strips.

What’s next: allowing the horses to wear Air Jordans instead of horseshoes, or taping down their ears for lesser air resistance?

Let the horsies be horsies and run, baby. It’s what they love to do, and they don’t need any help from man, who has already tainted other sports through the years.

Aside from things like blood doping and steroids, man’s bright ideas have changed the game in too many sports, in too many ways.

Since I’m up on my soapbox, I’ll venture into other areas I would like to see fixed.

In baseball, there never should have been a designated hitter. I don’t care if it extended the careers of a number of players, unless an athlete can play on both sides of the ball, he’s not a baseball player.

And interleague play? It’s as valid as the DH. But the change that has absolutely killed the game is instant replay. It has made an already painfully slow game even slower. Not even a sausage race can help keep fans entertained long enough to make it through the continuous stoppage in play to determine if, in fact, a play will be challenged in the first place. Excuse me while I take a nap while waiting. And if I snore, just put a nasal strip on me. Let the umps be umps, mistakes and all.

In football, please do away with domes and artificial turf and let the elements play a part, as it did in the good old days. Also, put the goal posts back on the goal line. It’s much more fun to watch receivers not only dodge defenders but the posts as well. And replay? Let the refs be refs, mistakes and all.

Basketball hasn’t changed all that much through the years (except for attitude). My only beef is the slam dunk. While many see this as one of the game’s highlights, I don’t. A slam dunk should be worth only one point. A player doesn’t have to know how to shoot the ball if all he does is dunk.

Ice hockey today is a far cry from what it looked like in the days before helmets and masks. Actually helmets and masks are one of the few good changes. Can you imagine that goalies used to play without a mask? But today’s goalie equipment makes King Arthur’s armor look like a Halloween costume.

And please, please bring back the wooden sticks. Seeing the ice strewn with broken synthetic stick shafts is like looking at your neighbor’s yard as his house is being fitted with aluminum siding — remnants everywhere.

There is one rule change I would like to see in ice hockey. I feel that a team killing a penalty should not be allowed to ice the puck. That would increase the severity of committing a penalty in the first place.

And replays? Let the refs be refs, mistakes and all.

I know none of my sports pet peeves will be altered, but it’s nice to vent once in a while.

Baseball will continue to become slower and slower; football will continue to be played on a rug in a temperature-controlled dome; slam dunks will continue to bring the fans out of their seats; and ice hockey goalies will continue to look like extras in the latest “Godzilla” movie.

But a horse bolting around a track with a strip of duct tape across its snout? I’m not sure how I feel about that. And if I’m not sure, then ....

Dave Jolivet can be contacted at

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