A Christmas wish list for the sports world

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A Christmas wish list for the sports world

It’s hard to believe, but we’re merely a week away from Christmas. When watching sports, I can’t help but notice that certain changes are in order. I’m getting a little old to be making Christmas wishes, but here’s a list of things I would like to see this holiday anyway.

I wish Choi Hee-seop would stop threatening to quit baseball. He’s coming off his first good season of his professional career - with the MLB and KBO combined - and now he’s quibbling about the manner in which the Tigers low-balled him at the first negotiation meeting. He could learn a thing or two from his teammate Kim Sang-hyun, who has refrained from revealing the details of his contract negotiations to the public.

I wish the Kia Tigers would get rid of that ugly black blob on the brim of their hats. A plain red hat with a black-colored “T” logo would look much better.

I wish more KBO teams and sports clubs would wear throwback uniforms. My personal favorites are the white Samsung Lions uniforms with sky blue Chinese characters emblazoned across the chest, the blue Samsung jersey with white Korean lettering and the Tigers’ red jersey with black lettering.

I wish FIFA, the governing body of football, would be more generous with its ranking of teams outside of Europe and South America. In the latest FIFA world ranking, Korea was ranked 52nd. It’s difficult to understand how Korea could be ranked nine spots lower than Japan when Korea’s national team was awarded the distinction as the AFC’s Team of the Year. Korea nearly went the entire season without a loss before dropping their final match of the year against Serbia. No disrespect to Gabon and Burkina Faso, but it’s also difficult to understand how they could be ranked 48th and 49th in the world.

I wish the Japanese national team would stop boasting about making the semifinals for the 2010 World Cup. First, it was manger Takeshi Okada, then AFC Player of the Year Yasuhito Endo brought it up at the AFC Annual Awards. It takes a talented team to get there, but as we saw at the 2002 World Cup, advancing that far also requires a considerable amount of luck. Lofty goals are good. But the semifinals? Come on!

I wish the Korea Football Federation would give the Pohang Steelers’ Sergio Farias a shot at managing the national team when Huh Jung-moo’s contract is up. I know they’re grooming Hong Myung-bo at the moment, but the Brazilian manager has infused excitement and an up-tempo style that makes the Steelers the team to watch in the K-League.

I wish that the Ultimate Fighting Championship would host an event in Korea. Mixed martial arts has a sizeable following in Korea. A card that includes Kim Dong-hyun, Akiyama Yoshihiro - a k a Choo Sung-hoon - Quinton Jackson and BJ Penn would be nice.

I wish basketball players would stop wearing arm sleeves. American star Allen Iverson started the trend years ago because of his surgically repaired elbow, and it looked good on him then. But it’s clear the look is not for everyone.

I wish more sports would model their game after hockey, or ice hockey as it’s referred to by most outside of North America. Hockey is the only professional sport that allows fighting during a game. It’s not uncommon for players to get into confrontations in the heat of battle. Fighting helps to get rid of the bad blood. Let the boys duke it out for a few minutes, sit them in a penalty area for a bit and then they can congratulate each other on a good game after the final whistle.

By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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