Sweetness And Light

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The Score On Sports With Frank Deford

Word Play: Writing Clutters American Sports

An empty baseball stadium from the outfield

Thank God for pristine outfields. From scribble on the midfield to ads on uniforms, everything else in sports has gotten too cluttered. Aleksandar Kolundzija/iStockphoto.com hide caption

itoggle caption Aleksandar Kolundzija/iStockphoto.com

You know those charity auctions where you win the chance to meet your favorite hot-shot sports star or go to the championship game of your dreams? Well, me — now if I could dream to have one thing in sports, it would be to have a groundskeeper from a major league baseball team come out and do my lawn the way they cut outfields. That's my dream.

Really, is there anything on God's green earth that looks neater than an outfield, all sparkling clean, undefiled and cut in swaths of dark green and light green? How do they do that? Wouldn't you just love to have your yard that way?

And the reason baseball fields look better all the time is that the playing areas of other sports have gotten all cluttered and tacky. Isn't it enough to have all the advertisements around the field without writing all over the football fields and basketball courts and hockey rinks and boxing rings themselves?

Clutter. Clutter.

Football fields are the worst. Everything else in the world is trending green. Football fields are the one thing that are anti-green. The writing at midfield takes up more space and grows uglier all the time.

Already, they scribble all over the middle of the field so much now, splashing logos and letters and all sorts of colors, that when the teams are scrimmaging around the 50-yard line it looks like they're playing football on a Jackson Pollock painting.

And at all games, there's artificial noise cluttering the air and blinking, flashing scoreboards cluttering your vision and wholesale tattoos cluttering the players' bodies, and people talking on cell phones with the bases loaded cluttering up the best seats.

And now — well, we knew it was going to happen someday in the United States — the dam has been broken, and a team in the Women's NBA, the Phoenix Mercury, is going to wear uniforms that don't say Phoenix or Mercury but tout a commercial product.

Apres la WNBA, le deluge.

Yes, already, the Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers of the NFL are out selling advertising space on their practice jerseys. Of course, this has long been the custom abroad and in auto racing — uniforms all cluttered up with advertisements.

Clutter, clutter.

So only expect more clutter down on the American field. Thank God for pristine outfields ... for green on green.

Commentator Frank Deford weighs in from member station WSHU in Fairfield, Conn.



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Sweetness And Light

Sweetness And LightSweetness And Light

The Score On Sports With Frank Deford