Mike Putz

The start of the baseball season is just around the corner, and the Baltimore Orioles have made a policy decision for the year. The team has decided to end the practice of a member of the team smashing a pie in the face of a player who is being interviewed after the game for his game heroics. The team cited safety concerns in putting an end to the pie assault.

The pie-in-the-face isn’t just an Oriole fad. Most baseball fans can find it in the post-game interviews of their favorite team.

I have always found the pie ritual boorish. I’m glad the Orioles have banned the practice. I wish other teams would follow suit.

There are a number of practices I wish would end at athletic events, regardless of whether they involve pro teams or amateur teams. Here is my wish list for ending certain practices at sporting events:

• Fans rushing the basketball court after their team wins a big game. It’s only a matter of time before somebody gets hurt rushing the court after a game.

All you have to do is watch a college game on television, and you will see it. There have been a couple of close calls in college basketball games the last couple of years. It needs to stop.

I’d say the same thing at high school games as well. Just last week, the Western Dubuque girls basketball team won their regional final game to advance to the state tournament. As the student section ran out to help their team celebrate, WD assistant coach Doug Rolwes grabbed Bobcat player Morgan Pitz from the celebration. Pitz has been playing with an injured knee this season. She didn’t need to risk re-injuring her knee celebrating with the crowd. It was a good save by Rolwes to keep her out of harm’s way.

Please don’t think I’m being critical of Western Dubuque, their kids or their administration. They do things first class all the time. Those kids are just doing what they see on television.

• Interviews with head coaches during games. This happens in NBA games, as well as college and professional baseball games. Just let those folks coach their teams. I’m pretty sure the fan collective can figure stuff out without that particular interview. It drives me nuts.

I will say that, as a member of the media, my opinion of this could change should my editors ever feel the need to send me to a MLB game as a reporter. That would be completely different. I have a job to do, after all.

• I really don’t need to see one more coach get soaked when a cooler of sport drink is dumped on top of him or her after a win. Much like the pie in the face, is there even an element of surprise to this one any more?

• Back to baseball. The rushing the mound and jumping on each other needs to stop. I know you have seen it. You might be thinking right now that I’m just a fun-hater. I am not. But ask yourself this: You want to be at the bottom of that pile?

• Frankly, I’d like to see God taken out of the sports interview. Players are always thanking God for the base hit they got, the game they pitched, the catch they made or the touchdown they scored.

Does God really help one team over the other? I was always pretty sure God was a Yankee fan, but given the Yankee outcomes the last couple of years, I’m guessing God isn’t as much of a fan as I had hoped. And as players speaking about their faith, I’d rather you show through your actions with others than tell me with your words.

I have been around sports my entire life. I love sports. None of what I’ve listed above really affects the play during the course of a game. It really doesn’t.

It’s just that, at this time of the year, I’d rather have some pie-in-the-sky dream about a successful season than a pie in the face.