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Ten Foot Mailbag: Paying College Athletes And Shortening The MLB Season

NCAA logo. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

NCAA logo. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Tim Baffoe - clean background Tim Baffoe
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa before earning his de...
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By Tim Baffoe-

(CBS) One of my favorite things to ever happen in sports is occurring this weekend. While I enjoy The Masters, it’s not the tournament itself I’m referring to. Augusta National officials are removing and banning idiotic spectators that yell “Get in the hole!”. Hallelujah!

“Get in the hole!” guys are a part of that subhuman species of fan that includes adults who ask other adults for autographs and people that mail animal parts to teams. They scream in a silent crowd and get off on picturing the reactions of viewers at home. They relish writing like this hating on their bro-itude because their lives are so empty that even negative attention feels better to them than the usual complete lack of attention. If they have a friend, they call it and ask, “Dude, did you hear me on TV? Did you hear when I yelled that highly unoriginal thing while a person was competing? Dude?” They’re also cowards, since it takes such cojones to yell something in a large crowd in a sea of people where you’ll likely not be found. Congrats, you’re one of the D+ students at an assembly at my school. I encourage Masters-goers or any golf event spectators to point out “Get in the hole!” turds to security. There’s no shame in tattling on garbage like that.

Weekend. Find your hole.

On to your correspondence. All emails and tweets are unedited.

Do you think NCAA players should be paid more?—@Schmutzie_

Yes, smart ass. I can’t have an intelligent discussion with anyone who believes “free education” is adequate compensation for college athletes, particularly in football and basketball, or someone actively seeking an excuse to perpetrate the illusion that college sports is idyllic and storybook. The NCAA treats its athletes as indentured servants and abuses their ability to make the schools gobs of money. And to pretend most of the football and basketball players are in college for an education is beyond naïve. Do I have the answer to exactly how to go about paying them, seeing as it can’t just be done with the snap of fingers? Not quite. But I’m aware of at least one path to get there.

What about, as Patrick Hruby writes, forming a union, or at the very least, players using their power in numbers?

“Think back to this year’s Super Bowl, the chaos and embarrassment created by an inadvertent power outage and subsequent 34-minute game delay. Now imagine Louisville and Michigan intentionally delaying the start of the title game by 54 minutes. Or college football players engaging in a rolling series of strikes, sudden and unpredictable, wreaking havoc with packed and preplanned Saturday broadcast schedules. Picture network executives taking panicked calls from advertisers and corporate accounting. Picture those same executives placing angry calls to university athletic directors and presidents.”

Why doesn’t MLB shorten the season by 30 games since A) There are too many games; B) It’s sleeting everywhere? (Money, I know.)—@PARecSpecs

It’s pretty tough to argue that the MLB season doesn’t have too many games. Are 162 really needed to separate wheat from chaff? Really?

This is likely more a product of being a Cubs fan than anything else, but come about late August I’m usually baseballed out and jonesing for football, if for only a change of pace. As you self-answered, it is about money ultimately, and like NFL owners that want to expand that regular season, there’s almost no chance as of now of shortening this one. What would be nice would be at least more scheduled double-headers. Give a team more off days within the season and have fewer guys pooped in September.

I like that you brought up weather, though, because I think about it at the start of every season—how ridiculous is playing baseball in the Midwest and Northeast in April (or @#$%ing November)? Half of the Cubs dressed as Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat isn’t a good thing, and 40 degree temps do keep fans away from Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field (as they should—sitting in that is no fun).  There are 153 days in May through September combined.

do you cry at the end of field of dreams? I do—@dhilt5

No, and not because of some antiquated notion of suppressing emotion while watching films designed to elicit such a response. Field of Dreams doesn’t make me cry because Field of Dreams is a terribly overrated film. Ever since first seeing it as a kid, my response each time (because I’ve given it multiple chances to move me) has been, “Meh.” It’s not a bad film, people who will respond to this by acting like I shot your dog, but on my list of best sports films, it doesn’t even register. “But it’s about the magic of sports and blah blah blah.” The Natural—which cinema bastardized from the original great novel—couples mysticism and sport and manages to get it right. Field of Dreams is just… nothing special. It has a couple of famous lines that lend themselves to parody. Whatever.

It also bugs the hell out of me that Shoeless Joe Jackson is portrayed by Ray Liotta who makes zero attempt to embody what the man would’ve actually been like, including the lack of any try for a South Carolina accent and throwing lefty instead of righty and batting righty instead of lefty. To get the throwing hand and batting stance completely wrong in a baseball movie is fairly unforgivable.

And this isn’t just me trying to be contrarian. Premiere magazine ranked it among the twenty most overrated films of all-time. The late Roger Ebert, an absolute writing idol of mine, gushed about the film, giving it four stars, and wrote, “’Field of Dreams’ will not appeal to grinches and grouches and realists. It is a delicate movie, a fragile construction of one goofy fantasy after another.” Thanks for the shout out, Roger.

Thanks for emailing, tweeting, and reading. If your question did not get answered this time, that does not necessarily mean I am ignoring it. It may be saved for the next mailbag. Hopefully you’re a slightly better person now than you were ten minutes ago. If not, your loss.

Want your questions answered in a future Mailbag? Email them to tenfootmailbag@gmail.com or tweet them with the hashtag #TFMB. No question, sports or otherwise, is off limits (with certain logistical exceptions, e.g. lots of naughty words or you type in Portuguese or you solicit my death). If you email, please include a signature.

tim baffoe small Ten Foot Mailbag: Paying College Athletes And Shortening The MLB Season

Tim Baffoe

Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget, but please don’t follow him in real life. E-mail him at tenfootmailbag@gmail.com. To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.