The Most Overrated Traditions in Sports

Nick DimengoFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2013

The Most Overrated Traditions in Sports

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    To some people, tradition really is everything.

    For instance, with the holidays coming up, I'll admit that I get to be quite the spoiled brat when it comes to what my family does and doesn't do—like being somewhere that has snow for Christmas and never opening presents before Christmas morning.

    And as we know, some sports fans follow the same guidelines as I do when it comes to the way their traditions get shown off.

    You may not be aware of some traditions out there, but here are some that most fans probably do know—although they're a tad overrated if you ask me.

Eye Black

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    Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    I totally understand why athletes started wearing eye black beneath their eyes—to help prevent glare from the sun.

    Problem is, as athletes began to try to separate themselves from one another, they started using them as extra accessories and in alternative ways, wearing just one as a fashion statement or putting personal messages on them—which got so absurd that the NCAA banned players from doing it.

    Maybe a visor or sunglasses would be a better alternative for some guys.

The Touching of Clemson's Howard's Rock

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    I've never been to Clemson's Memorial Stadium before, but this tradition seems like it'd be a hell of a lot cooler if they played that Twisted Sister song, "I Wanna Rock," when players ran out and touched this thing—I know, it's an awful suggestion, but I couldn't resist.

    While the touching of Howard's Rock has been a tradition since 1966, it still has yet to produce much luck for the Tigers program—with the program only claiming one national title in its history (1981).

    Former head coach Frank Howard—whom the rock is named after—might have told his players to "Give 110 percent or keep your filthy hands off of my rock," but I'm not so sure the current teams have it affect their play as much.

Celebrity First Pitches in Baseball

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    After seeing singer Carly Rae Jepsen's failed first pitch in Tampa from earlier this year, every single MLB team absolutely needs to stop scheduling celebs to try their hand at it.

    I know that there have been some solid attempts before, but unless the participant is someone who has at least an ounce of baseball ability—sorry, John Wall—let's just leave the pitching mound off-limits.

First-Down Celebrations

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    Congratulations. You were able to accomplish catching or rushing a ball at least 30 feet for a new set of downs.

    While it's exciting to keep a drive alive, I'm not so sure you need to pop out the champagne and celebrate as if it's the most difficult thing to do.

    Let's just keep the excessive celebration penalties to scoring touchdowns and not get so amped up about passing that yellow line we all see on TV.

Silence in Golf

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    I know that it's tough to hit a golf ball when someone is yelling something in your backswing, but if the rule was dropped, then players would just adapt.

    After all, it seemed to work for Happy Gilmore.

    Maybe it's time for golf to stop being so buttoned-up and let fans do their best to throw someone off his game as they would an opponent at the free-throw line in basketball or to try to encourage a batter to get a hit in baseball.

Throwing Things onto the Ice

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    As most of us are familiar with, the Detroit Red Wings' fans tossing octopuses on the ice might be the most famous tradition in hockey, but ball caps for a hat trick is right up there—especially since it happens in every single arena.

    I'm not sure I care more about three goals in hockey than a hat I've decided to wear out, but other fans have proven to believe otherwise.

    On top of these traditions, it's not like fans are allowed to toss stuff onto other sporting surfaces without getting in trouble, so why should hockey be any different?

Goggles During Champagne Celebrations

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    To all of you pro athletes who decide to wear oversized goggles during a locker room celebration, it's time to grow a pair.

    I know that getting bubbly in the eyes burns like hell and isn't something that you'd want to do every single day.

    But isn't that the point of a champagne celebration in the first place? You're going wild for something out of the ordinary.

    We all may have laughed at him at the time, but athletes need to start pulling the Chris Bosh and take their champagne facial like men—no matter how provocative it may have looked.

BCS Rankings

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    When a major sport like college football still uses (and will continue to use) a computer algorithm to decide the teams to play in its national title game, there has to be something wrong.

    I'm not sure I know one person who can say the BCS system is a good thing, yet, even with the new playoff format coming into place next season, elements of it will still continue to be implemented.

    Here's my weird suggestion: How about just putting the 16 best teams—based on the human eye test—into playoffs to determine a national champ? That's a hell of a lot better than the current and future system.

Penn's Toast-Throwing

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    According to Penn, it's actually "college football's most historic program," although plenty of other universities might object.

    Even with seven claimed national titles—from a long time ago—I still don't think much of the Quakers when it comes to the gridiron.

    That doesn't mean that those Ivy League-educated fans don't have fun at their home games, though, as a full-on food fight between the third and fourth quarters takes place.

    It's a nice little play on words since the song in which they "toast" each other ("Drink a Highball") is actually supposed to be done with alcohol, but because no college stadium allows boozing in stadiums, the tradition of throwing grilled bread began.

    Let's lose this until beer is actually legal at college events. It just doesn't feel right otherwise.

The Seventh-Inning Stretch

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    There are a variety of suggestions as to how the seventh-inning stretch actually got started, but one thing's for sure these days: It has to go.

    The only stadium in which it was even something to look forward to was at Wrigley Field, where fans were often treated to a celeb singing—but that even got pulled last year.

    It might be a baseball tradition, but it's more so just a warning sign for fans to get their last beer before sales stop.

The Selection of Any All-Star Game

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    I'm all for letting the fans in on the action and selection process, but I can't stand seeing a third of the vote actually be used in most major sports leagues.

    While most of the time the players who are selected do at least earn a spot on the roster, some of the guys who make it as starters aren't quite as worthy.

    Let's leave the media, coaches and players just decide this from now on and let fans vote for who should be the alternates.

All Rally Superstitions

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    Wearing your hat inside out at a baseball game or having a monkey jump around will not earn your team anymore runs than it has, so let's all just do away with the silly traditions.

    While those things are bad to believe in and continue to do, when a team actually lends itself a motto and puts it into a team song, that's taking this thing to a whole new level.

The Wave

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    When people as seemingly lame as Donald Trump and Bill O'Reilly aren't even doing this, it has to be taken out of every sporting event.

    I'll admit that it's a pretty cool sight to see thousands of fans come together and spread this around the stadium—especially if you and your buddies got your section to start it—it's just that it serves no real purpose and actually distracts fans from the game itself.

The Gatorade Shower

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    Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    I can't believe that this thing is still the highlight of some players' entire season.

    It's in good fun to toss flavored water onto a head coach, but that doesn't mean it should still be something everyone does nowadays—yes, even in basketball.

    Beginning in the mid-80s—some claim it was started by the Bears in ’84, while others insist its enduring popularity comes from the Giants in '86— it's becoming way too cliché and takes a hit since guys are doing it to "reward" a coach for even the smallest of accomplishments—like a win over his former team.

"Sweet Caroline" at Fenway Park

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    Look, I absolutely love this song, OK?

    It started as a joke back in high school when I first I thought it'd be funny—and a little ironic—for a 16-year-old kid to be blasting Neil Diamond from his Jeep.

    To my surprise, "Sweet Caroline" was already—and soon thereafter became even more—mega popular.

    Sure, I have a longstanding rep of singing this at every wedding I go to.

    And yes, it's a hell of a catchy song.

    But Red Sox fans need to end this tradition that happens in the middle of the eighth inning of every home game because it's becoming more and more about the "bah, bah, bah's," than the score of the game itself.

    At least a few people in Boston fear that this thing could go on forever.

Burning Couches at West Virginia in Celebration

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    As you can tell from this video made by a couple West Virginia students, even the student body has become a little tired of this tradition.

    I know that getting drunk and doing stupid stuff in college is part of what makes the four years so great—I still try and live those glory days out—but setting a couch ablaze shouldn't be one of those dumb things.

    It's gotten so out of hand that the city of Morgantown has actually deemed this to be a felony, so for all you college kids who think this is still a good way to celebrate, just think about how it'll feel when you're applying to your first job after graduation.

NCAA Tournament Play-In Game

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    If this doesn't scream a money ploy from the NCAA, I have no idea what does.

    I appreciate the fact that college athletics is giving a small, mid-major school an opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament—arguably the most exciting event in all of sports—but this is just a silly concept.

    Even more hilarious is how they call this the opening round, which, as anyone who submits a bracket knows, is a joke, since every bracket challenge ignores these games as being necessary in selecting your teams.

    It's time to either expand the field to more teams—which I'm opposed to—or just cut out the four teams necessary to make these "play-in" games happen.

NBA Draft Lottery

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    Can we all admit that this is a backward solution when trying to find the team who should pick first in the NBA draft?

    While I've been a fan of the system thanks to my Cavaliers "earning" the top pick three times in the past 11 years, that doesn't mean it should still be in place.

    Unlike other sports where the team with the worst record automatically gets the No. 1 pick, the NBA decides the non-playoff teams should all have a shot here.

    While it's a nice gesture and gives those teams a fair shot at a franchise player, the lottery seems to cause more harm than good.