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LPGA deserves fair play and more TV coverage

“Of all female pro sports groups, the LPGA provides, by far, the best entertainment …”

Before we get to all the hopeful hockey headlines – pre-season starts this weekend and the regular season begins in two weeks for the Smoke Eaters – I have a few summertime sports kvetches.

Of all female pro sports groups, the LPGA provides, by far, the best entertainment compared to their male counterparts. Canada has a superstar in the game – Brooke Henderson is still a very young, but often dominant, player on the LPGA, and is currently defending her national championship, the first Canadian in a very long time to be a Canadian Open champion.

You would barely know it, of course, from the media, including Canadian media. All but three hours of the first two days of play are nowhere to be found on any Canadian broadcast medium. You can, of course, instead watch 24/7 recap coverage of the mostly inept Blue Jays, and full coverage of basically third tier men’s soccer.

One of the few true Canadian sports superstars? Nah. It is likely her second round today will appear only in the middle of the evening all sports program highlights.

Just for comparison’s sake, the winner of the FedEx cup playoff, currently underway, will “earn” six times the total purse of the women’s Canadian Open. The other 29 players will receive another combined six times as much, as well.

Broadcasters from around the world especially including Canada, will cover that tournament from tee to green on holes 1-18, all day long. There is one truly long shot (no shot, actually) Canadian in the field, and it has to be quite a bit more expensive to run that programming than the Canadian PGA would accept for the women’s open just to get the exposure, but….

The movers and shakers in golf are all wealthy, regressive, white men – who appear to believe women should get out of their way on golf courses, and the fields in the LPGA are very ethnically diverse at the top, so the inherent bigotry of those movers and shakers is undoubtedly in play here.

Too bad, because Henderson and her colleagues are well worth a watch.

• Can we stop, please, with the efforts to turn major league baseball into some near equivalent of beer league slo-pitch? Please?

Baseball is the best game every invented. Evidence of that is that in 150 years the timeless, space flexible, rules and field layout have produced a competitive outcome, despite the massive improvement in the physical abilities of human beings, for almost two centuries.

But, television and failing to adhere to the actual rules of play are diminishing the game where nothing else has been able to.

The DH rule was the first of those changes, and allowed slo-pitch caliber, “athletes,” to maintain their careers beyond all capability of theme being able to play the game properly (on both sides of the ball, as it were). Among the damage it has done is to remove the opportunity of offence from pitchers all through the pro system, ignoring as it does that those pitchers were usually the best all round players on every amateur team they played on – AND that the greatest player of all time (Babe Ruth) was an elite pitcher before he became the game’s groundbreaking power hitter, because, at least in the beginning, he was allowed to do both.

Then came the beer league, “automatic walk,” award. It simply ignored the fact that every baseball play begins with a pitch from the mound. Every pitch contains a diverse set of outcomes, too. I have seem everything from passed balls to wild pitches to hits, errors and even home runs happen during intentional walks. That slo-pitch rule further distorts the game as it was meant to be played.

Now some, including influential basebally people like Charlie Montoya of the Blue Jays, other MLB managers and some executives, talking about a mercy rule – which would distort the game beyond all recognition.

Dear MLB, change the baseball back to some semblance of its former carrying capacity – we know how technology has already distorted golf and made some iconic courses obsolete. Then, if time is so expensive, ban batting gloves (and thereby save half an hour per game, easy) and enforce the time limits on participation by both batter and pitcher (the only time constraints justifiably in the rule book for pro ball) consistently.

Then, let them play as was intended in the nearly perfect iterations of the rules that have lasted this long.

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