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Changes coming to sports

USA Today recently reported on the release of “The Future of Sports,” a 50-page document commissioned by sports concessionaire Delaware North to take some guesswork out of planning for impending developments in the industry.

Among the predictions tossed around by academics and futurists are: Stadiums with morphing roofs; tailgating inside the stadium; the proliferation of professional women’s leagues; and robots replacing some human workers.

Broadcast network TV, we are told, will have to settle for what it can scrounge together, after satellite and streaming sew up all the major sports. (“Tonight, a very special episode of ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Badminton’, guest-starring Heather Locklear’s clone!”)

Supposedly, the role of Twitter, Facebook and the like will make sports commentators and reporters almost obsolete. Just what we need: hordes of underemployed sports personalities holding up “Will color commentate for food” signs and working children’s birthday parties. (“He shoots, he scores! He eats, he hurls!”)

And what of the fans who become overly reliant on social media for their sports experience? They’ll be bubbling, “I can get my favorite on the all-star team if I vote repeatedly — and let a Nigerian widow deposit $80 million in my bank account.”

It is prognosticated that fans will get to use a virtual reality headset and watch the game from the perspective of their favorite player. Ha! Sports franchises will probably start beaming the games straight into our heads. (“Can I borrow the sports section, pal? Aggh! Wrong section of your brain! That’s the one of your kissing encounter with your cousin! Ick! Do over!”)

The proliferation of driverless cars is projected to mean smaller stadium parking lots AND higher alcohol sales (because the whole gang can imbibe and still have a designated “driver”). Yep, everyone can get hammered, and then go to their job — which probably involves building and programming driverless cars. Hijinks ensue.

The study claims that, as escalating ticket prices make it prohibitively expensive for ordinary fans to attend in person, there will be an explosion of a new generation of sports bars. On a negative note, the Department of Homeland Security is already concerned about the prime target that the wretched excess will generate. (“Just moments ago, ISIS smashed two jetliners into the HD flatscreen TV in the men’s room of Bo’s Sports Sanctuary.”)

Baseball is expected to continue its slow decline. Perhaps “America’s Pastime” can be saved by rebranding itself as Mixed Martial Arts Spitting And Scratching. Of course that won’t matter if a quarter-century of technological “improvements” brings us announcements such as “The game is delayed while we call a convention of states to look at that instant replay and determine if it was a ball or a strike.”

Some of the more fantastic predictions involve the creation of separate leagues for “natural” athletes and “enhanced” athletes (those who have been souped up via genetic modification, man-made parts, league-approved steroids and the blocking of pain receptors — as in “the thrill of victory, the numbness of defeat”.)

Of course fans who have been relieved to see concussions publicly debated will have to sigh, “Here we go again” as super-athlete problems arise. (“So, a few crybabies are complaining about an isolated 750 cases of disemboweling by Wolverine-like adamantium claws? Does no one remember how to WALK IT OFF? Hey, no using the X-ray vision on Heather Locklear’s clone!”)

 

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at tyreetirades@aol.com and visits to his Facebook fan page, Tyree’s Tirades.