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20 Awful Sports Traditions

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20 Awful Sports Traditions

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

What are sports if not made from traditions? From the drama over a close fourth quarter in the Super Bowl, to a deciding game seven in the World Series, they are stuffed full of traditions. Each team has traditions of their own, and sports do as well. Some of these - maybe even the majority of them - are heartwarming, feel good traditions. That said, there are bad ones as well, and that is what we are talking about today.

Whether it is hearing the song,“Whoomp! There it is!” way too often in the normal sports fans’ life, or having to sit through a boring race where everyone drives the same car, there are awful sports traditions everywhere. Is the rally cap a good or bad tradition for baseball? If you like the rally cap, what about the towels and noise makers fans use? What about sunflower seeds? How about NBA players jumping off the bench and flinging towels around when something good happens? Would you say that's good or bad?

We all have our opinions of course, and this following list is made up of my choices for the twenty worst sports traditions. Generally these are things that some may like but, most of us just get tired of. They range from small picky things, to sport-wide managing choices by the guys in suits. Take a look at this list. You might agree with some and disagree with others. Either way, leave a comment below with your opinion. These are in no particular order.

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First Down Celebrations

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In football, the offense has to go ten yards to get a first down. It’s not necessarily easy but everybody does it at least a handful of times in every game. Why do we need to see a receiver stand up, do a cute little dance and point forward to signal a first down? I mean if it’s fourth and fourteen in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, I understand the need for a little excitement. In a regular situation during a game, don’t celebrate getting a simple first down. Get back to the huddle, catch a few more balls and then celebrate a touchdown.

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Soccer Players Removing Shirt after a Goal

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Soccer isn’t nearly as popular in America as it is in every other part of the world, so it is possible that something about this tradition flies over my head like a well-placed header from the top of the goalie’s box. But I just can’t see why scoring a point means you have to remove your shirt. I mean, you don’t see a home run hitter unbutton and take off his shirt while rounding the bases. No NFL player removes his jersey and shows off his pads after a touchdown. Why do we need to see you remove your shirt? Hey, I get it. You scored a goal in soccer and that is extremely hard to do. You know what’s easy to do? Keeping your shirt on!

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Ridiculous Sack Celebrations

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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Here we are again with an NFL or NCAA player celebrating when he does his job correctly. It’s not a normal tackle when you put the opposing quarterback on the ground. I understand it’s a big yardage loss for the other team and a loss of a down. Games can turn around on a sack at the right time. So by all means, celebrate a little. Go on, feel free. My problem however, is with the celebrations that almost appear choreographed. I mean when the QB goes down and the lineman stands up, tosses an invisible pitch to himself which he then hits out of the stadium with an invisible bat. He points to the baseball that isn’t there and runs around the bases before jogging into the dugout and high-fiving his fellow baseball players. I mean come on guys, keep it simple please.

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Not-Charging the Mound

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

This seems pretty simple to me. Batters get hit by pitches in a baseball game all the time. It’s part of the game in MLB. I’m not saying it’s enjoyable, but it at least should be somewhat expected to happen eventually. That said, I can see if you get hit more than once because you think it was on purpose, you'd probably want to do something about it. The problem I have is when the batter stares at the pitcher, verbally abuses him, but never really does anything. Come on, you’re just wasting everyone’s time. Either start throwing punches or get to first base and get on with the game!

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Benches Clearing Conversation

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Tempers don’t seem to flair in MLB as much as they might in other sports such as the nhl but then again, sometimes things happen and a few players get mad. Sometimes when a few players get angry, the whole team gets off of their rear ends and runs out to the middle of the diamond and talk. Can we stop calling this a benches-clearing brawl? Have you ever seen more than two or three players actually in a fight? Everyone is there for what, moral support? Are they cheering their guy on? What is the point? I have seen some where the bullpens barely have time to get to the huge conversation before it’s over. I know, the pen pitchers should just meet in center field and make fun of the morons in the huge “brawl” who themselves are really just talking about Jeopardy or something. If two guys get in a fight, let them throw a few. Send a few guys out to break up the fight and leave everyone else on the bench.

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Fans Acting Crazy during Visiting Player’s Free-Throw

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Have you ever seen an NBA player shoot a free-throw? What’s the key word to describe what they do? Technique, it’s all about technique. The same amount of dribbles, the same little squat, the same shooting motion, and the majority of the time, the same result. Honestly, these guys are so zoned in at that point that world war III could be going on behind the basket with the cheerleaders dancing dirty right in front of them...and they would still make the shot. You fans that buy the things to move around and make noise - you’ve been had. It has zero effect on the player other than maybe some good background noise to relax him.

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Rules for Rules Sake in Nascar

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Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

I’m sure some time ago auto racing was just as complicated as some guys arguing about whose car was faster and then deciding to work it out on the track. Whenever that was, the people that hated the out of control wild spirit of it must have been the ones that decided to chair the Nascar rules committee. Good gracious, people, you don’t need a new rule every week, and you shouldn’t put in more changes every race just to make things fair. It’s a race! Hello! Someone is supposed to be faster than the others. That is why it’s called a race! The cars and engines are already almost exactly the same. I guess soon the different color paint designs will be considered offensive to some group somewhere and all the cars will be tan.

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Detroit Red Wings Fans Octopus Throwing

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Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

I am a fan of tradition. It can be taken too far though. It is sort of like the story of the pot roast. Stick with me here. The roast gets the ends chopped off even though it fits fine in the pot. One person asks another why and they all say because their mom did it. When it comes back to the original one that cut the ends off, she did it because the pot she had was too small. The Detroit Red Wings fans throwing an octopus onto the ice because someone threw it out a long time ago makes just as little sense. Back then it happened to have the same amount of legs as they needed wins to take home Lord Stanley’s Cup though. Does that mean anything? No, frankly it doesn’t. It takes a ton more wins now. Honestly, I should just be glad that the guy that threw that onto the ice back then threw the octopus instead of mugging eight people in an alley outside the arena. Imagine how nasty that tradition would be by now.

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Batting Practice Pitchers Throwing Home-Run Derby

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Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Would you pay to see a major league pitcher show off his pitching ability by throwing his best stuff to a little league player without a bat? Me neither. Why then are we so enamored by a MLB slugger being able to annihilate a baseball when it is tossed up ever so perfectly to his liking by his personal batting practice pitcher? Want to make it interesting? Invite the pitchers that made the minor league all-star game to throw their best stuff to MLB hitters in the home-run derby. Now that would be interesting.

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Major League Baseball’s Ever-Increasing Playoff Format

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

I honestly hate to think of this as having become a tradition. The fact is that it has. Just like the other big sports, MLB has taken to continuously expanding its playoff format. Hey Bud Selig, the thing that makes baseball special is that you have to do well over the entire season in order to have a rare chance at the World Series. There is a lot of drama in the NCAA basketball tournament but that’s not baseball! Stop expanding the playoffs for goodness sake. That way when the Chicago Cubs win the World Series, there will be no reason for anyone to say the words, “modern era”. Yuck!

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Hockey’s Famous Fight for No Reason

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

You all have seen it if you have watched enough hockey. Perhaps a classic brawler is back from an injury. Who could guess why he keeps getting hurt with the way he fights all game long? The dropping of the first puck of the night, he and some other guy who probably lined up with him just for that reason throw down. Their gloves hit the ice before the puck and they go after each other. Um, why are you guys fighting again? I think fighting does have a place in hockey. If you want it to stop being talked bad about you might consider not just fighting for the heck of it.

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Pulling the Hockey Jersey Over the Head in a Fight

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

If an opposing player has checked the taste out of your big scorer’s mouth, I understand the need to go throw your gloves off. Go ahead, get the crowd on its feet and bring your teammates to the edge of the box. Take pride in defending the honor of your team’s fast, puck slamming high scorer. One note, since you know that pulling the guy’s jersey over his head will end the fight, don’t do that! If you’re going to fight it out then fight it out but don’t end it by pulling his jersey over his face. You are bad enough to do that then you can beat him face to face as well.

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Touchbacks in the NFL

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

NFL kickoffs are very important to the game. Or maybe I should say they were. For whatever reason almost all of the kickoffs go through the back of the end zone now. Where is the fun in that? Rodger Goodell, you want to do something about kickoffs? Since all we ever get now are touchbacks, move the kickoff back five or ten yards. Fewer touchbacks would equal more excitement and would lessen the chance that I would beg for a fast forward button while watching the game.

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Batter Stepping Out of the Box Late in MLB

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Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

In baseball scenarios, it is fun to swap things around. Here is an image for you. First a pitcher goes through his entire wind-up and let’s go of a nice fat pitch. The batter has his eye locked in and is ready to swing for the fence. Just when the bat leaves his shoulder and his body is already in motion, the catcher stands up and calls time. Worst of all he receives time and the batter is left off-balance and frustrated to have to try and stop swinging half way through his motion. Sound ridiculous enough? Maybe that scenario played out enough times would convince someone to stop giving time out to a batter when the pitcher is releasing the baseball. Stand in there and swing or bow out and take a strike, but don’t call for time. It’s meaningless.

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Everyone Having an Agent

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Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

I hate that there are awful traditions in sports that actually have nothing to do with sports. If you see a professional player of any kind in any league, you can bet that he has a big money agent. I get that some people need others to help them negotiate contracts and understand the legal fine print. The fact that every single professional athlete has to serve the wishes of an ultra rich agent is sad and it is definitely a terrible tradition for sports.

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The Wave

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Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

This is an easy one. Even during those few times when the wave seems like a good idea, it’s not quite what you think. It looks okay at first and might even be fun to fans. It can be distracting to fans as well as some athletes, however. When you consider that it serves absolutely zero purpose other than to prove people can raise their hands above their heads, doesn’t it seem ridiculous? It should, because it is.

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Noise Makers

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone scream or yell on the count of three. Ready? One, two, three – AH!!! You hear that sound coming from your mouth? That is noise. Now, clap your hands and stomp your feet. Dance a little and even sing if you want. All of this can be used to create something called noise. You do not need obnoxious little tubes to slam together in order to make noise. Please, for the love of whatever sport you are watching, make noise with your own self and not those dumb “noise makers”.

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Six Umpires During MLB Playoffs

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Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

Traditionally, MLB games are officiated by teams of four umpires. In a pinch, they can even be run by a three man team as a matter of fact. Most of the time that works quite well though it is certainly more of a workout for the umps on the base paths. If you are an umpire you are trained to do your job and do it well behind the plate, at first base, second base and at third base. Not once all year long will you ump in any other position. Why then, in the post-season, does baseball require there to be a six man team? The poor guys in the outfield have about as much fun as the right fielder on your average church softball team. Then when something does happen that requires their eye, it’s a guarantee that they won’t have a practiced look at it because they haven’t umpired from there all year long! Come on baseball, think this through in 2013.

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Nascar Driver Sponsor-isms

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Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

You know what that title means. No matter if someone wins the race or hits the wall on the first lap, the interview always goes the same way. Everything from the paint job to the wall they hit has a sponsor and you have to say their name or they might not give you millions of dollars. It sounds like another language in the guys and girls that are good at it. I love the ones that aren’t. Bobby Labonte is famous for looking back at the car, “Let’s see what we have here…” then going to read them off of the side of the car. That is fun to listen to. A normal sponsor laden interview is awful.

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Celebrations for Simple Dunks

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Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

If the basket gets raised from ten feet to fifteen feet at random intervals and an NBA player executes a simple dunk on the moving basket while it’s at the fifteen feet height, that simple dunk is worthy of a celebration. But if you're normal every day NBA player throwing down a dunk in a normal manner - please. That is far from a reason to celebrate and it goes for NCAA as well. It would be like me dancing around and pumping my fist when I threw something in my trash can. You want to celebrate? Do a spinning, somersaulting reverse dunk while hanging upside-down throughout, and you can dance and fist pump however you want. Keep it to head nods and minor hand slaps.

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