Friday, July 20, 2007

Tim Donaghy

ESPN is reporting multiple sources claiming the alleged referee is 13 year veteran Tim Donaghy

Here is his profile. Nothing looks really out of the ordinary there, I'm sure it was just a game here and there. I'm not sure which games Donaghy has ref'd in the last 2-3 years, but I'm sure someone is researching that info as I type. It's going to be real interesting as more information comes out on this. The NBA sure did not need or want this, but I know Michael Vick sure is happy to not be receiving attention for once this week.

Could it be:

In light of the news being reported today, maybe they finally got to him.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Espn goes 2 for 2 tonight

There were 2 potential no-hitters tonight in Major League Baseball. As many of you already know, I am not a fan of ESPN and have not listened to ESPN radio since the infamous Shrutebag incident, and rarely watch ESPN unless I have absolutly have to. With the Mets playing the Cubs, tonight was one of those nights. I had heard about the no-no Jason Bergmann of the Washington Nationals had going on during my drive home. When I got home, I pulled up the gameday screen found at because I wanted to keep my eye on the potential history taking place tonight at our Nation's capital. Sure enough as the Mets game went to commercial between the 7th and 8th inning, ESPN decided to head back to the studio for an update. Studio host Matt something or other told us about the no-no and said we're gonna head over there to bonus coverage. 2 pitches later.... HOME RUN Brian McCann. 1 down.

Later in the night, I'm checking scores on and as the screen flips to show me what's happening in the Padres/Reds game, I noticed that thru 4, Greg Maddux is pitching a no-no. Me being one of those guys that likes seeing things that rarely happen, I log on to and start watching. Again, ESPN is on in the background (commercial in the NBA game), and I catch Sportscenter doing a bit on Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux. They mention how all 3 are pitching tonight and proceed to show highlights of the Braves game and the Mets game. After the Mets hightlights, Stu Scott says the following: (paraphrased)

"Speaking of Greg Maddux, (as the box score pops up) He has a perfect game going through 5. Maddux has twice had a perfect game going through 5 in his career... both times he lost them in the 6th"

No more than 5 minutes later, with 2 outs in the 6th, Javier Valentine ripped a double over Brian Giles head in right field to break up the no-no and the perfect game all with one swing.

The Worldwide Leader my friends... goes 2 for 2 tonight in the jinx department. I'm guessing they had something to do with the 2 no hitters that almost happened yesterday also.

editors note: I really don't believe in jinx's, I just think it's fun to hate ESPN.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Instant Replay on Questionable Home Run Calls

I'm watching the Mets game tonight - they are playing the San Francisco Giants. Benji Molina just hit a ball that bounced off the top of the wall, and back into the playing field. Carlos Beltran managed to chase the ball down and hold Molina and the runner in front of him to 2nd and 3rd, that is... until the 3rd base umpire waved his little finger around in a circle to signal a home run. Willie Randolf immediately jogged slowly out on to the field - went to Bruce Froemming, the crew chief, who was the 2nd base umpire to state his case. Froemming didn't waste anytime and did the right thing by getting the crew together. After about 10 seconds of asking each other what they had for dinner tonight, Froemming turned and wagged the little finger again. How could any of them from the infield tell if it really hit the top of the fence or hit off the chest of the gentleman in the front row? The umps clearly made the wrong call, but it would have been hard for them to make the right call. This is the 2nd "non home run ball" that the Mets have had called against them in the last 3 games. On Saturday night Endy Chavez had a ball go in and out of his glove and fall back onto the field. Replays showed that Endy clearly robbed the D-Backs of a home run, but umpires in that game decided that a fan knocked it out of his glove and ruled it a home run. Mets radio announcers compared it to a Jeffrey Maier moment. Earlier tonight in the Cardinals / Rockies game with the score tied 2 - 2 and one out in the bottom the 9th, The following took place:

Troy Tulowitzki unloaded a shot to left field that hit off the metal fence atop the wall, but second base umpire Bob Davidson call the ball in play, leaving Tulowitzki with a double and manager Clint Hurdle so frustrated that he was given his first ejection of the season.

To the relief of fans in Denver, the Rockies ended up winning the game later in the inning anyway. Imagine, however, if these close calls were in the playoffs, or worse yet - the World Series. All 3 calls appeared to be the wrong calls, but in all honesty can you blame the umps? I realize that in the playoffs there are extra umps on hand up and down the left and right field lines, but only with a replay system in place do you ensure complete accuracy. I think baseball and its "old school" mentality could perhaps create more ugly moments in the postseason that replay could prevent.

Rockies beat Cards despite questionable call [Rocky Mtn. News]

Jeffrey Maier Wikipedia Page [Wikipedia]

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Warriors/Mavs 4th Quarter Live Blog

Maybe this is who Baron Davis is trying to look like?

Both teams trade two baskets and a minute and a half in and the Warriors still lead by 23. Offensive foul by Stackhouse.

Jackson has 7 threes - 28 points.

Kerr mentions that this crowd has been standing since halftime. If more NBA crowds were like this, I think the NBA would be much more entertaining. 92-69 Golden State and Davis misses a 3 which would have pretty much sealed it.

Warriors turn it over... the Warriors need to play like it's not a blowout and keep playing to score and score quickly.

Dallas pays them a favor and turns it over themselves.

GS gets 2 straight offensive rebounds and then Jackson takes it strong to the whole, draws the foul and gets the "YES!" out of Marv! What a night to be a Warriors fan. Clippers, Royals, Pirates, Arizona Cardinals fans - just hang in there - this could be you some day.

Think Don Nelson will smoke the cigar if he wins tonight? They might as well celebrate and pretend as if they won the championship... why not?

I guess the question on the table: How will the Warriors match up against the Rockets or the Jazz? I'm not all that excited about either - but I guess I'd continue rooting for Golden State. Honestly - I'm not a real big basketball fan - I probably won't watch much of the rest of the playoffs - unless the Suns/Warriors meet in the Western Conference Finals - That'd be like an All-Star game with all the up and down scoring.

I admit - I'm totally on the Warrior bandwagon - I'm a Laker fan, but I do think it's pretty hilarious to see Dallas and more importantly Mark Cuban go down, and go down miserably. Unlike Steve Kerr - I really don't feel bad for these Mavs.

After 2 flagrant foul free throws, Dallas cuts the lead back to 19. But this game has been over since mid way through the 3rd quarter.

WOW! Inside pass to Richardson who throws it down - turnover Dallas and Richardson hits a 3 and it's a 24 point lead!

WOW! WOW!! WOW!!! Think the fans believe now? I'd say so! They might just have enough momentum to ride all the way to the finals! This is unbelievable!

Well... it's pretty obvious this game is over. It's 1 A.M. my time. We have just witnessed a monumental upset and honestly - as much as I wanted to see a Mavs/Suns western conference final matchup - I couldn't be more happier to see this upset happen.

It's been fun live-blogging. Please give me any ideas/suggestions/hints/complaints/compliments... all feedback and/or comments are appreciated. I'm tired - 8 am is going to be here fast.


Warriors/Mavs 3rd Quarter

There is not a better pre-game, halftime, postgame crew then Ernie, Kenny, and Charles. These guys never fail to crack me up.

Warriors up 2 as we start the 3rd. Dirk 1-10 from the floor. I'm expecting a big second half from him and also Baron Davis. This is like a boxing match - expect the big guys to come out swinging especially as we get into the 4th quarter. Either way, this is setting itself up to be an exciting 2nd half.

Pam Oliver on the sidelines tonight reporting. Has anyone seen Joe Buck?

Teams trading baskets here to start the 2nd half. Warriors up 4.

Josh Howard steps up and puts in another bucket. Baron Davis feeds the surfer looking white guy for 2. Don't know his name, but he looks like he belongs on a surf board.

Jackson drains a wide open 3. Go up by 5. Crowd is back into it!

Dirk misses another 3, A Warrior saves it out of bounds, Davis is fouled - Warriors ball and Jackson hits another wide open 3!!! Crowd erupts as Dallas calls a timeout! Pandemonium in Oakland! These folks haven't had this much to cheer about since the Bash Brothers were sticking needles in each other back in the late 80's. Yes... I'm talking about Walt Weiss and Carney Lansford.

Uh oh.. I can't watch. Sublyminal advertising! AH... Eyes closed... I can't not watch - ok I need a Sprite. They got me! Darnit!

I'm sick of these Closer promotions during the TNT broadcasts.

Josh Howard misses an open 3, and I'm sure Mark Cuban needs an exta stick of Right Guard about right now.

Howard misses another - Dirk with the offensive board and Howard gets a second chance and puts in the 3 pointer.

Whistle on the other end... defensive 3 seconds. Techical foul and action Jackson puts in the free throw. 63-57 Warriors

Jackson puts in another 3!

Mavs miss and on the other end Jackson hits yet ANOTHER 3!!! The place is going crazy again! How amazing it must be to really be a Warriors fan! Stephen Jackson has scored 13 straight points. Unbelievable.

Marv tells us that this is the largest crowd ever to witness a basketball game in the state of California. Wow... Wouldn't have guessed that with the Clippers also playing in California.

Davis again dishes to surfer man, and he's fouled and almost makes it - crowd loves this - his free throws are an adventure - he almost air balled that one. Misses both.

Warriors defense his swarming as the crowd chants D-Fence! Stackhouse 3 goes in and out... teams exchange misses on both ends. Davis drives leans puts it up and in and the Warriors are up by 14 and the crowd is going nuts! Another turnover by the Mavs and the Warriors are slowing it down - the crowd hasn't sat in minutes.

OHH Davis is fouled hard by Crosere, and Davis almost retaliated and threw a punch but he held back. What emotion! Davis is smiling now as he talks to the ref even though double technicals were called.

Avery Johnson is looking at some paper - probably looking for answers - his team is completely lost. Cuban doesn't look happy as he looks on - he basically looks stunned. Davis knocks down both shots and the Warriors are on an 11-0 run to go up by 16. Another turnover by the Mavs and another foul by the Mavs and the Mavs look finished.

Jackson makes 2 free throws. 18 point lead for Golden State and I imagine they are going to be partying pretty hard tonight in Oakland. Here on the east coast it is 12:30 and this part time blogger is starting to feel the effects of 5 hours of sleep the last couple nights.

By the way - is anyone frustrated with the fact that the guys over at have been gone for almost 2 weeks now? Their substitutes have been horrible, not that I would do any better, but seriously I don't see how or why all 4 of them would go on vacation at the same time... and for 2 weeks? Ridiculous. I miss those guys!

Back to the action... crowd chanting "Let's go Warriors" as we come back from commercial.

25-9 3rd quarter scoring in favor of Golden State, still no sign of Dirk. I'm waiting for the crowd to start mock chanting "MVP" at Dirk!

Another Dallas foul and Davis goes back to the line to shoot 2. The crowd is legitimately chanting MVP now as Davis knocks down the first. 2nd one in and out, and the crowd hates it - 20,000 go AWE!

Stackhouse steps out of bounds - another turnover. Surfer guy makes a free throw and the crowd goes crazy! Makes the 2nd! Line drive shots nothing but back rim down through the net. Another Dallas miss and Golden State up by 21 with 3 minutes to go. WOW!

OOHHH! Barnes just POSTERIZED Dirk! One handed tomahawk dunk on Dirk!!!

Dirk can only save his image here by scoring 30 points in the 4th quarter and leading his team to the greatest comeback in history. Anything less - and he's another A-Rod.

This isn't even really a game. Mavs are being out played on both ends of the court. Warriors are just sticking it to them. 23 point lead, 32-11 3rd quarter score. Harris to shoot 2 for Dallas. Misses the first. Makes the 2nd - 22 point lead for the Warriors.

Davis misses a 3 and Harris hits a 3 to bring it back to teenage digits.

Just like that - Davis drives and throws it up over Dirk off the glass and in. Still no Dirk - I don't even remember the last shot he took. It's tough live-bloggin Warrior games - they are up and down so fast. If I look up at the TV - 3 possessions happen before I can even think about what to type about. They are so entertaining, and the fact they are such underdogs makes them so much more intriguing. Marv and Kerr just announce that Dirk took 1 shot in the 3rd quarter and Golden State is up by 23 and are 12 minutes from pulling off perhaps the greatest upset in NBA history. Unbelievable... to the 4th quarter we head.

Mavs/Warriors Live Blog - 2nd Quarter

28-25 Warriors. Stackhouse with 14 points to keep the Mavs alive through 1. It seems like every fan in the stands is wearing a yellow shirt that says we believe. I guess this would be called a yellow-out?

Dirk 0-4 in the 1st. There's the MVP candidate we know and love.

Baron Davis hamstring injury update: Taped him up. If they lose him - they're done. Simple as that.

Things have gotten pretty ungly starting the 2nd quarter. Baron Davis back on the bench and the crowd breaths a sigh of relief as Davis walks over to the scorers table. 29-29 9:46 to go 2nd quarter and now Stephen Jackson is down.

Davis clearly hobbling, and both teams are sloppy here early on. Drik still on the bench for the Mavs and Jason Terry gives the Warriors their first lead since 3-0.

Baron Davis shoots, the officials talk - basket is good and an inadvertant whistle. Tie game

With Davis' hamstring injury - could he be in store for one of those big games by a hurt player. Much like Jordan in the game where he was throwing up, and Willis Reed back in the 70's

What the heck? Brian Urlacher & David Ortiz were just in a commercial playing badmitten - endorsing a product called vitamin water. And Ortiz spiked the "birdie" and lodged it into his opponents knee! Hey look... here it is:

Celebrities in the house tonight: Snoop Dogg, Woody Harrelson, Kate Hudson, Owen Wilson all courtside for tonights game? Where's Jessica???

Refs just made a call the fans didn't like - and they started chanting Bull-S**t. Why do I get the feeling that Snoop and Woody got that chant started?

Another questionable call... and another mass cursing chant by the entire crowd.

Warriors up 1 as we head to commercial. 36-35 wich about 6 minutes to go 2nd quarter

Turnover Mavs and Davis misses a 3. Foul on Jackson on the other end, Josh Howard shooting free throws and the fans are booing again.

Tie game. Dirk still 0-5 from the field. Now no body is making threes, except of course Jerry Stackhouse who just drains an outside jumper

Davis drains a 3, and Kerr has to take back his statements about Baron Davis finally cooling off. Dirk goes over the back and then travels but somehow gets it back on top. Then Josh Howard drives... loses the ball, travels, gains full control of the ball shoots and drains it and the Mavs are up 1.

Davis again... for 3!! I'm waiting for the Marv Albert YES! Turnover Mavs

Jason Terry with an open layup after the Baron Davis turnover, and we're tied again. 44-44

Both teams look tense as we head to another time-out. Warriors need to relax and play their normal up and down quick shot basketball. Baron Davis being slowed up by his hamstring injury has not helped the pace of the Warriors. Time to get a snack during the timeout.

Dirk misses two straight 3's and is now 0-8 on the night. If the Mavs lose this game and Dirk doesn't turn it around in the 2nd half. Those are the headlines tomorrow no doubt.

And just like that Dirk keeps firing and hits a 15 footer, and Davis comes down on the other end and hits a leaner from beyond the 3 point line. 11 straight for Baron and with 7 seconds left Stackhouse drives the line and gets the roll. The Warriors take it down the other end and get the foul with 3.7 seconds. Warrios up 1 shooting 2.

Barnes makes the 1st.... misses the second. Dirk shoots a one shoe'd full court shot that misses wide left, and as Steve Kerr mentions - that didn't help out his shooting percentage any. Enjoy Halftime - I'm going to eat my pop-tarts.

Warriors/Mavs Live Blog

Starting a little late with this post - but with 7 minutes to go in the first half, I can tell this is going to be a classic - so I'm gonna try the live blog for the first time in the history of Awful Officiating. Here we go:

Golden State currently up 17-12 and after being down 3-0 went on a 12-0 run capped by an over the head dunk that erupted the crowd.

Stackhouse just hits his 3rd straight 3... he's on fire. Timeout Warriors. 19-15

Crowd is a little quieter as Josh Howard just drains a 3. Dallas has 18 points on 6 3-pointers

This crowd is so into it - this reminds me of a college game and the Warriors are a very exciting, very like-able Cinderella.

Dirk hits 2 free throws, their first non-3 pointer points - 21-20 with 4 minutes to go 1st quarter

Marv and Steve Kerr calling this game. I believe they were in Toronto last night - TNT is bringing the big guns tonight

This is worth mentioning... totally unrelated to this game. Before the game started on the pregame show. Charles Barkley was obviously upset that the Jazz beat the Rockets because now he can't go to the Boxing match on Saturday night. Kenny and Ernie were confused by this, and a bummed out Chuckster said this to his fellow studio mates: "I got a life... I'm not like you guys"

These two teams don't waste a lot of times. As we close out the first quarter - Monte Ellis drains a half court shot but it was after the buzzer went off. 28-25 after 1. 3 pointers going up from all over the place. Stackhouse is keeping the Mavs in this game.

Is the Geico caveman still funny?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Study Also Notes Female Refs Call More Fouls on Men than Women

In an unpublished study by Wharton School of UPenn assistant professor Justin Wolfers and Cornell University graduate student Joseph Price, the authors claim that white officials in the NBA call more fouls on black players than white players, and vice versa for black officials and white players.

The study was performed over thirteen seasons of box score data from the NBA, using the officials' names and race to determine whether zero, one, two or three of the three officials in a game were black or white. This was combined with the foul totals and minutes played for each player, to determine the number of fouls per forty-eight minutes assigned by an officiating crew. The study found that "black players receive around 0.12-0.20 more fouls per 48 minutes played (an increase of 2 1/2-4 1/2 percent) when the number of white referees officiating a game increases from zero to three."

While the statistic are certainly there, I cannot agree with the authors' assessment that the difference in calls "is large enough that the probability of a team winning is noticeably affected by the racial composition of the refereeing crew." Let's look at the extreme case. Team A plays five white players for forty-eight minutes. Team B plays five black players for forty-eight minutes. The game is officiated by a crew of three white referees. Ignore the fact that no one has played five white guys for forty-eight minutes in the NBA in a long time. At the end of the game, holding all else equal, we expect Team B to have somewhere between 0.60 and 1.00 more personal fouls than Team A. If Mark Cuban could get that kind of equality, he'd have to find something else to complain about.

Also of note - in the abstract of the study, the authors use the wording "opposite-race" and "own-race" to describe the two races being examined. Given that over one third of the world's population is of Asian descent, I find it quite conspicuous that they choose to place whites and blacks at opposite ends of the spectrum in a paper where they are attempting to raise an issue of equality. We're sorry you got left out Yao.

Study: White refs call more fouls on blacks [Fox Sports]
Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees [Wharton School of UPenn]

Monday, April 30, 2007

Maybe a little less gatorade before next game.

Apparently Jason Terry, aka, "The Jet" has a bladder problem, and chooses to go to the bathroom during the National Anthem. However, the good news is that he says he means no disrespect by it. "It's just a good time to go,"

Personally I feel no matter what Terry thinks - this is a huge sign of disrespect. How can a guy walk off the floor to use the bathroom during the National Anthem and say that he means no disrespect by it? Judging by the wording in the Dallas News column, I get the impression that this isn't a one time situation. It seems as if this has happened numerously, acutally - I get the assumption it happens at every home game. I think Jason Terry, who was born in Seattle, needs to re-evaluate what is disrespectful and pay our Country the Honor and Respect she deserves, and find a different time to take his pre-game wiz.

But more importantly, how is Terry even allowed to do this and get away with this? How is there not a policy that states that all players must remain on the floor and showing signs of respect during this time of the pre-game? If Stern is really serious about the image of the NBA, you would think this would be high on his priority list.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Interview with Ed Hochuli

Ever wondered if Ed Hochuli has taken performance enhanced drugs? Yep, we have too... judging by this picture, he wouldn't have to. However, Mike Schmidt (no... not that Mike Schmidt) asked him about it anyway during a recent interview over at the New York Times:


"We get drug- and alcohol-tested randomly throughout the season, about a half-dozen times. I honestly don’t know what they test for. I don’t care what they test for because I have never done anything along the lines of performance-enhancing drugs, but it is a question I get asked a lot."

Some of you may not be aware that when Ed is not showing off his biceps officiating NFL games, he is busy defending would be criminals in his home town of Phoenix, Az. He said, "I am a full-time civil litigator and a full-time referee. I go and defend in court. The two jobs have a lot in common."

Asked if he had ever had to combine the two occupations - Ed revealed this amazing story:

"During a game in week 12 last fall, I had already thrown my flag and cap during a play. When another penalty occurred, I reached into my pocket and threw a small white card in the direction of the offending player. When asked about it after the game, I explained to the questioning reporter it was my business card that I keep on my person for all Cinncinatti Bengals games."

Ok, ok... we made that last part up, but seriously - how funny would that be?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Joey Crawford's Most Dispicable Moment

I urge you - if you ever need a good laugh - to head over and visit the guys at The Sports Pickle. Among other hilarious activities they partake in over there, one thing they do is put together a weekly poll. This week's question is: What is Joey Crawford's most despicable moment from his 31-year NBA officiating career?

These are obviously not real... but enjoy these humorous results:

NBA Weekend Roundup:

Over the weekend, the first round of the NBA's marathon playoff season began. Here are a few of the officiating issues being discussed:

Shaq was not happy about the officiating... via fanhouse:

"My intention was to come out and be myself, until Eddie Rush derailed me," O'Neal said after fouling out.

He accused the Bulls of flopping and said they had "a lot of help out there."

Apparently Shaq wasn't paying attention last year when the Heat seemed to be getting all the calls.

Did Tim Duncan and the Spurs get shafted by the refs sticking up for the buddy Joey Crawford?

Winning the turnover battle has the recap:

-The Spurs averaged 24.1 FTA per game during the regular season.
-In Game 1, the Spurs shot only 10 FTs, including only 6 in the first 44 minutes of the contest
-The Spurs lowest number of FTAs during the regular season: 11
-The Spurs' opponents averaged 21.2 PFs during the regular season
-In Game 1, the Nuggets were called for 13 PFs
-In the two team's three regular season games the Spurs had 21,21, and 27 FTA respectively, and the Nuggets were called for 21,19, and 24 PFs respectively.

Sure, this is only game 1... and due to the NBA's draaawn out playoff schedule, we will have to wait until Wednesday night to see if this continues for the rest of the series.

Steve Nash Shoots with One Hand, Pushes off with the Other

This picture was on's home page for the recap of the Lakers/Suns game. Do you see anything wrong with this picture? I watched a grand total of about 10 minutes of yesterday's Lakers/Suns game and I bet a saw Nash push off with his off hand at least 2 or 3 times - mostly while driving the lane or attempting to go around a defender. I realize that he is the 2 time reigning MVP, but I'm sorry - It might just be me - but I hate the fact that veteran/star players get better treatment (well, all but Tim Duncan) then other players. It's the double standard that bugs me and in my opinion takes away some of the NBA's credibility. I hope this is the type of activity D-Stern is referring to as zero-tolerance (see below). I don't see why reigning MVP's get better treatment then rookies. What is this, the WWE? Are they trying to set up Summer Slam in Dallas? Well, apparently they need to let the refs down there know because they forgot to let Dallas win yesterday. In all reality - it sounds like the Suns deserved to win because of the clutch play by Leandro Barbosa - and I'm not taking anything away from Steve Nash's mad skills - I mean, he can shoot lights out. However, I do think he routinely gets away with pushing off - as shown in the picture above.

The NBA's Zero Tolerance Policy

Found in SI's truth and rumors section was this little tidbit:

The league, privately, has told a few folks that referee Joey Crawford was working under a zero-tolerance policy. Referees have been feeling they've been working under similar conditions for years, with Crawford being the latest example. What they intend to do about it remains to be seen. -- Philadelphia Inquirer

Listen, if this is true - and David Stern wants to create the impression that his ref's are being held to strict guidelines and must call the game by the rules and will be held responsible for any bad calls they make, then this is good. So what if their credibility is taken away. One of their top dogs just ruined it for the rest of the refs by trying to be a showboater and be bigger than the game. It's like the old saying - one bad apple can ruin it for the whole bunch. Thanks Joseph - the rest of your referee fraternity graciously thanks you.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Doug Eddings thinks that David Wells eats to much

After being ejected from the game, David Wells had some interesting things to say about umpire Doug Eddings.

As seen at the fanhouse:

the umpire "rubbed his belly" as if to call Wells "fat."

Said Wells: "I thought (Thompson's) foot was on (the bag). Replay shows it did and that's where the frustration comes out ... I understand they're trying to do their job as well. You get riled up. I got riled up. I said, 'You didn't miss one, you missed two.' Things started heating up and he was over there chirping and chirping and he tossed me out. Then he made a gesture ... that to me is stepping over the line. I take it personally."

"That's false. I would never ..." Eddings told the Associated Press.

First of all, David Wells should expect people to call him fat, secondly... Maybe DW should contact Angel fans and invest in one of these shirts:

photo credits:

# 738

Last night... just before i went to bed, i decided to watch Bonds hit one last time. I didn't see any of his first 3 at bats. I checked gameday and saw he was due up 2nd in the order to lead off the 8th inning. I was tired, but figured oh well - this could be part of history, so I loaded up the just in time to see Rich Aurilia strike out to start the inning. Cardinals relief pitcher Ryan Franklin quickly got the count to 2-2 on Bonds, and it was at that time that I remembered my one experience of going to a Giants game. August 31st 2001, with the Giants losing 5-0 in the bottom of the 8th, my cousin and I decided to take a stroll around the park. That day, I made a mistake by taking my eye off the action once the count got to 0-2 on Bonds. As I stood just above McCovey Cove, my eyes scanned the beauty that is known as Pacific Bell Park. The next thing I heard was a loud crack of the bat and everyone around me started going crazy. I looked up! I couldn't see anything! But then there it was, a white spot in the sky whizzing straight towards me. Immediately I scrambled trying to get into position to perhaps grab a piece of history. I kept my eye on the laser like object as it soared directly over my head, splashing into the Cove behind me. The many kayakers quickly paddled towards the ball, and one lucky man (pictured below, with net in hand) fished out Barry's 57th home run of that year. Last night as Franklin, who became the 437th pitcher to serve up a long ball to Mr Bonds, was set to deliver the 2-2 pitch, I thought to myself, I'm keeping my eye on this one just in case Bonds decides to do it again. Bonds sent the very next offering on a high speed delivery directly into the McCovey Cove for the 33th time in his career - racking up his home run total to a whopping 738. He is now just 17 homers shy of Hammerin' Hank. Although some may say that no one really cares about Barry Bonds and the soon to be broken Home-Run record, I was glad I stayed up for that one. To me, there's just something about history, whether it's got an asterisks beside it or not, that keeps me interested.

photo credit: jdg, aka... my cousin

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Philadelphia schools are not doing a good job at teaching safe sex

On Sunday, May 13, the Philadelphia Phillies will honor all Mothers... young and old. The official announcment:

Motrin IB Mother's Appreciation Day
Motrin IB and the Phillies are hosting a special, heartfelt pre-game tribute dedicated to all mothers.

Chase Utley Fleece Blanket
40" x 60" fleece blanket featuring the Phillies second baseman.

Women 15 and older

Wait a second? Did that say 15 and older?

MLB Honors Froemming


Last night, Bruce Froemming was honored for setting the record for the most consecutive years of service by an active umpire in baseball history.

"I congratulate Bruce on this terrific achievement," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "Bruce has not only worked longer than any active umpire in the history of baseball, but has worked with great skill and with great passion. He has had a remarkable career that is appreciated by all of us in baseball."

Bill Klem is the only umpire with more games worked than Froemming. The Hall of Famer was on the field for 5,374 games in his career.

My favorite Bruce Froemming story comes via this interview by Bruce Amspacher with pitcher Milt Pappas, who in 1972 had a perfect game with two outs in the 9th with Froemming behind the plate:

BA: On September 2, 1964 you nearly pitched a no-hitter, taking it into the eighth inning against Minnesota. Eight years later to the day, September 2, 1972 you pitched one of the greatest games in history. What happened in the ninth inning?

Pappas: I was pitching for the Cubs at Wrigley Field against the San Diego Padres. I retired the first 26 batters in the game and I needed one more for a perfect game. There had only been seven perfect games [in the 20th century] up to that time.

Larry Stahl was sent up to pinch-hit and I got two strikes on him immediately. Randy Hundley [the Cubs' catcher] called for a slider. Ball one. Slider. Ball two. Slider. Ball three. Slider. Ball four. Stahl walks and the perfect game is gone.

BA: Were any of the last four pitches strikes?

Pappas: Any one of the four could've been called a strike and the last two were definitely strikes. [Umpire Bruce] Froemming came out to the mound after Stahl walked and I called him every name that I knew in the English language. When I ran out of names in English I started calling him names in Greek.

BA: Weren't you afraid of getting kicked out of the game?

Pappas: There's no way in hell that he was going to kick me out of the game. Not that game. Not if he wanted to get out of Wrigley Field alive. Everybody was too mad at him. The players, the fans -- everyone. So I went back to pitching and got the final out on a pop-up to second base to preserve the no-hitter.

BA: Then what happened?

Pappas: Believe it or not, the next day Froemming comes over to me and asks me to autograph a baseball for him. So I autographed it for him and then made a suggestion as where he might want to put it. He was incredulous. "You're not still angry at me, are you?" he asked.

"You have no idea what you did," I told him. "You blew it! You had a chance to call one of the few perfect games in the history of baseball and you blew it."

"Show me an umpire who ever called a game without making a mistake," he answered.

I couldn't believe he said that! He missed the point.

Then I ran into Larry Stahl. Stahl said that he wanted me to get the perfect game so after he got two strikes on him he decided not to swing anymore. "Why didn't you say something?! Why didn't you back out of the box and give me a wink or something?!" I asked him. I would've been happy to give him a fastball down the middle if I knew that he wasn't going to swing at it. says this was Froemming's first year and he needed to assert himself as "the boss" and there was no way he was going to let pitches that were clearly strikes get in the way of Froemming's "claim to fame".

In 2001, he was suspended for 10 games for calling an Umpiring Administrator a "stupid Jew B-t-h". I have a feeling he'd get a little more than 10 days if he said that today.

Froemming who was once asked about his eyesight said, "The sun is 93 million miles away, and I can see that." Uh... yeah, so can I Bruce, any my eyesight sucks.

Anyway... from all of us here at AO. We say, "Heckuva career Bruce... at least you didn't toss anyone for laughing at you."

UPDATE: CRAWFORD DONE FOR THE YEAR!! just announced the suspension of Joe Crawford for the rest of the year. David Stern was really left with no choice. He did what he had to do.

Oh... and that didn't take long. His wikipedia page has already been updated as well.

Update via
San Antonio’s Tim Duncan has been fined $25,000 for verbal abuse of a game official, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President Basketball Operations.
The incident occurred after Duncan's second technical foul and ejection, with 1:04 remaining in the third period of the Mavericks' 91-86 win over the Spurs on Sunday, April 15 at American Airlines Center.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Tim walk off the court calmly? First ejected for laughing, and then fined for cooperating with a horrible call. Wow... rough day for Duncan. I think I'm gonna email Mark Cuban about this.

Correction: Apparently Duncan called Crawford a "piece of S***" I guess it's standard anytime a player curses out an official to fine them, but I think under these circumstances the NBA should have cut Duncan a break. Either way - it's still just pocket change for the man making a little more than 17 mil per year. I think he can afford it.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Joe Crawford needs to check back into Anger Management

I'm sure by now, you have seen the video or heard the story of what happened to Tim Duncan during yesterday's Spurs/Mavs showdown in Dallas. Personally I do believe that Tim Duncan is one of the many guys in the NBA who frequently complain and argue with the officials about every little ticky tack no-call, but what he did yesterday was in, under no circumstances, worthy of a technical foul (and his 2nd!) meaning an automatic ejection. After the game, Duncan went onto say that Crawford challenged him to a fight, which is probably most definitely what Duncan and Horry were laughing about on the bench. If you haven't seen the video, it's a good one: Courtesy of AA:

Side note - is it just me, or has the world become a better place since AA purchased his Tivo - do yourself a favor and subscribe to his you tube page - good stuff always!

Anyway - back to Crawford. According to his wikipedia page:

Joe developed a reputation early in his NBA career for being "the guy handing out all the technical fouls, throwing guys out of games, a hothead, a real red-ass." Among his fellow officials, he became "the guy you wanted to go to war with, someone who’d have your back and take care of business." He firmly stood behind his profession and did not tolerate players or coaches who disrespected it. His philosophy was that he had to be aggressive. Crawford would later discover about himself that he had problems controlling his temper and sought anger management after an altercation with a coach. To this day, Joe continues to battle his temper problems.

Despite his short temper on the court, Crawford is considered one of the premier officials in the NBA. He has worked more playoff and NBA Finals games than any other active referee in the league and has appeared in the Finals every year since 1986.

The best comment I have seen so far about this - and I agree, comes from reader tarheels28 over at the fanhouse. He said:

3. If David Stern is half as interested in improving the quality of his game as he is in improving the "image" of his game (dress code, zero-tolerance on griping), he needs to suspend Joey Crawford for the entire playoffs. The finals last year were an absolute debacle with regard to officiating, and the last thing we need is a situation like this ruining what could be an incredible playoffs. This game meant nothing, but what if this happened in the Western Coast Finals with the Spurs and the Mavs? A referee should not think he's the main attraction, which unfortunately, is exactly what Joey Crawford thinks.

However, now that the Lakers have clinched a playoff spot. Stern could arrange for Crawford to officiate the Lakers home games under one condition: He spends the afternoon with Jack Nicholson...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Um.... yeah, I'll take the screwball, hold the onions please

Remember Mark Mallory? The Cincinnati mayor who became famous last week when he almost took off the head of the umpire who was standing in front of the dugout during the ceromonial first pitch on opening day? Of course you do, the video has been plastered all over the web and he tried redeeming himself by going on Jimmy Kimmel live, which didn't go so well either. Well, now fans in "The Blue Chip City" will be able to pay tribute to their humble mayor each and every time they visit Izzy's deli... by ordering the soon to be famous Mark Mallory Screwball.

via comcast:

The ingredients for the sandwich at Izzy's deli will be "any two meats tossed in the general direction of a bun or two pieces of bread." The Screwball will be served with a potato pancake and pickles for $7.75.

"This is wonderful," Mallory said Monday. "Who wouldn't want a sandwich named for them?"

"There's so much negativity that you hear about the city of Cincinnati all the time," said John Geisen, president of Izzy's, which is a block from City Hall. "But the mayor has brought some fun to it. So we wanted to, too."

The Bengals, Mayor Mallory, Shrutebag's comments on the city... man, things haven't been going so well for this city recently. But hey, at least they get to play their home games... you know, at home.

It's going to be a long (couple of) year(s) for Nats fans!


"Nationals manager Manny Acta had a closed-door meeting with general manager Jim Bowden on Wednesday afternoon. Neither talked about what was said, but both made it clear that they are going to remain patient even though the team was 1-7 entering Wednesday's action. They are both willing to take their lumps, because they are building for the future."

Well, they are definitely going to need their patience. With exception of single A team Potomac Nats, the farm ain't doing so well either. Here are the records of the Nationals Minor League Affiliates:

Columbus Clippers: 2 - 4

Harrisburg Senators: 0 - 6

Potomac Nationals: 4 - 1

Hagerstown Suns: 2 - 5

Combine those records with the scorching 1 - 8 start by the Major League club and that's a grand total of 9 - 24. Not a bad start for Manny Acta... as mentioned, he is going to need a lot of patience. Oh, and the Nats face John Smoltz tonight.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Fire Colin Cowherd

So far over 15,000 signatures... join the fight:

Petition to fire Colin Cowherd

Friday, April 6, 2007

Who's got 2 thumbs and is now known as Shrutebag? This Guy!

I'm sure Colin Cowherd has listeners today that he never had before because of this little stunt. Many people had never heard of Colin before yesterday. Particularly because the majority of his listeners are West Coast or small market listeners. Colin knows the blogosphere is powerful and "family", but he also knows the blogosphere cannot do battle against the powers of ESPN. I used to be a fan until about 6 months ago - I got sick of his bullyish attitude and claiming to callers to not bring that stuff on my show because this is "big boy radio". I believe the purpose of his little game was to generate internet publicity for his crappy show (which just so happens to now be available on the web). He knew that he needed an internet audience now that he is available on the web, so he pulled this little stunt to try and get us. Howard Stern knows there is no such thing is bad publicity in the world of shock jocks, and so does Colin. Is it working? I think so - as I mentioned, he probably has more listeners today and plenty of extra viewers to his stupid little webcam thing today because of kicking around the little guy.

So... how should we approach this little battle?

I'm suggesting that the way to win this little war is by starting and promoting a massive boycott. And when I say boycott, I mean boycotting anything and everything that is ESPN. I mean seriously - hit them where they can feel it. I personally started this boycott in my own mind back when they got rid of Shanoff, and started charging for anything and everything over on their site. It was made official about 6 months ago when the whole Harold Reynolds thing happened. Just by complete irony, TBL was the blog that was all over that story.

So... (and I know some of you have already done this) on with the boycott:

If you watch ESPN, specifically Sportcenter, start watching something else. Find another source for your demanding sports information. FoxSports is not the greatest and I know they're not as good, and don't have the resources, but be patient - this is going to be a long battle. There will soon be other shows to choose from - they're coming.

If you listen to ESPN the Radio - Mike & Mike, Shrutebag, Dan Patrick - switch to FOXSports Radio immediately, or better yet - get XM or Sirius and listen to all things but ESPN. It has even been mentioned that Tony K is now available on XM in the mornings. (I personally don't mind Mike & Mike, but you gotta send a message)

If you subscribe to ESPN, the magazine - cancel today! Go back to SI.

If is your homepage - change it to;,,, something, anything but the 4 letter!

If you like watching ESPN baseball games - take one for the team, and subscribe to or the Extra Innings package. ESPN's ratings will take a hit, the Extra Innings package and link you to the local affiliates channels, not the ESPN broadcast.

Ratins are the bottom line for those guys - they are already afraid of the Blog community and the recent reports of taking over the ratings lead in the .com race is bad news for them as well.

Someone with knowledge of the web and more time on their hands could also start a petition on a website. Then we can all sign - it'd take thousands of signatures, but with enough star power we could have guys like Colin removed from the airwaves before we would lift our boycott.

This is just an idea - but I think it could work, as long as someone powerful and credible was leading it - and we all stayed committed to the cause.

p.s. - As for the guys at TBL - I hope you guys have a nice weekend actually enjoying the outside world, it's just ashame the weather sucks this weekend. But seriously - get that blog back up and running soon... because we really miss it!

Oh... and Colin has a myspace page? Is this true? Now THIS we could have fun with!

Colin's myspace page

Update 1: this doesn't appear to be Colin's actual page - just a tribute page to his greatness.

Update 2: boycottespn has been launched... but honestly - it would require much more than this. A petition would need to be started, stating that we decide to boycott espn until they can Colin Cowherd for starters. This petition would need to signed by thousands - then emailed to espn repeatedly. Would the blog world be willing to launch an attack like that on Espn? Well... I guess that's to be determined. My initial thoughts are we as bloggers (after a day of ranting and raving) will probably decide to let it slide by, and just forget about it and accept the fact that ESPN just landed a major blow. We need a big name: Deadspin, KSK, With Leather, or TBL to spearhead this attack and push it in the right direction. Can enough of us convince them to do that - or are you thoughts that it is not worth the fight?

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Barry Marches On...

So after yesterday's slow day in sports, (even though thanks to the good guys at With Leather, we had our highest rated day in the brief history of AO) last night Barry Bonds provided the sports world with the start of what is sure to be a season long discussion:

How will you (and the MLB officials for that matter) react when he hits 755 and 756?

Let's face it, Barry is a household name and between him and A-Rod, they are by far the face of baseball today. Nobody cares about anyone else right now unless you are a fan of that team. But on opening day - Sportscenter spent the first 5 minutes analyzing A-Rod's every at bat, and as soon as Karl Ravech and Buster Olney busted in with the highlights of Barry's 1st home run last night during the Mets/Cards game, it sent the 3 guys in the booth immediately into this discussion. (Granted... it was 10-0 Mets at the time)

Oral Hershiser immediately piped up and said the commissioner should be buying his plane tickets now. One of them also said MLB officials should try and arrange it so he breaks the record at home and not on the road. (not sure which one said this... but what????) After the game, Sportscenter led off with this story - it was the topic of conversation this morning on Mike and TIMMY! (Tim Kurctian - how the heck do you spell his last name!) Heck, they even mentioned the fact that Barry Bonds hit his first homerun of the season during the news update on a local non-sports radio station! Folks - get ready, he's got 20 more to go, we're gonna be spending lots of time discussing this topic this year... but why wait. Let's start now.

My opinion is this. Barry Bonds is the greatest baseball player I have ever seen play. I am 27 years old, so I am biased to my generation of course. Were there better guys? Possibly - but to have the opportunity to witness someone getting ready to surpass perhaps the greatest record in all of sports is something special to consider. I know the whole steroid situation has a whole lot of poeple up in arms and many people want his name etched out of the record books, or an asterisks beside his name. Listen - Barry may have been the one calling the shots, and ordering whatever it was that he was taking, but this is not Barry's problem, this is MLB's problem for not having a better testing system in place. This might not make any sense, but considering Bud Selig is in charge and is responsible for all that is good and bad with the sport... what if instead of the asterisk saying "steroid era", it said "Bud Selig era"?

Bottom line - people cheat. Always have, always will. You yourself have probably done things from time to time to gain an edge in the field of work you are working in. As a matter of fact, if you were running a little late for work this morning - you may have even exceeded the speed limit - I know that usually happens to me pretty much everyday. Does that make me a bad person? No. Does that make me a law breaking citizen. Yes, and if enforced properly I can and will have to pay the consequences. Are the consequences for Barry being kept out of the record books? Perhaps being left out the Hall of Fame? Getting boo'd as he rounds the bases for the 756th time? Simply being known for being a cheater? Where do we draw the line?

As a baseball fan, I think Barry reaching, tying, and eventually breaking the record is good for baseball and deserving of praise. I think the commissioner and his staff need to embrace the record - treat it as it is - absolutely amazing! Push the whole steriod, balco scandel behind them, and move on. I personally am not saying Barry Bonds is a good guy, but lets give the guy the credit he deserves.

So again... I ask the question, How will you react when Barry reaches 756?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Congrats Mendy

Although the familiar names of the 2007 Basketball Hall of Fame inductees are Phil Jackson and Roy Williams, here at AO we'd like to focus our congratulations in the direction of Mendy Rudolph. I am much to young to remember Rudolph or even recognize his name. So I decided to do a little research. What I found was very interesting...

Mendy (1926-1979), a Philadelphia native and known to many as the pioneer of officiating in the NBA, is best known for officiating over 2,100 NBA games in his career. Just to put that in perspective, the ancient one Dick Bavetta just recently eclipsed the 2,100 game mark (2,134 as of Feb 8, 2007). Officiating was in Mendy's blood as his father Harry was also a basketball referee and a baseball umpire in nearby Wilkes Barre. Mendy positioned the number 5 on the back of his jersey and to this day no NBA official has ever worn that number during an NBA game. Back in 1975, he became the first referee to hit the 2,000 game plateau. He worked in 8 NBA All-Star games, and for 22 seasons in a row, he appeared in at least 1 game during the NBA finals. He first began officiating along side his father in the Eastern League back in the 1940's. According to Mendy helped keep the peace in the Eastern League where fistfights between opponents was not uncommon. I'm sure Ron Artest, Latrell Spreewell and Carmello Anthony wish they could have somehow been apart of that league. That would have surely resulted in fewer suspensions for them.

Mendy was known as a heavy gambler. According to his wife, he was once in debt to a Las Vegas gambler who made him an offer. Shave points during games and I'll erase your debt. Mendy said the following, "It goes against all my principles. I love the game too much, respect it too much. I couldn't do it to you. I couldn't do it to the memory of my father, and I couldn't do it to myself. If I have to go into bankruptcy, something I'd hate to do, I'd do it." Hmmm, if only Pete Rose would have had the same philosophy.

Long time friend and colleague Earl Strom has been trying to get Mendy nominated and elected into the Hall of Fame for sometime now - and thankfully his work has finally paid off. On April 2, 2007 Mendy Rudolph became the 12th official to be elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

During the 1979-1980 basketball season, all NBA officials wore a number 5 patch on their sleeve to honor Mendy.

Congralutions Mendy, this achievement is well deserved and long overdue.

See more at:

Friday, March 30, 2007

Tom Verducci's lucky day

Recently, Sports Illustrated writer Tom Verducci was granted permission by MLB to umpire one spring training baseball game for an opportunity to experience the pressure, the difficulty and the thanklessness of risking life, limb and public humiliation in front of thousands of people conditioned to dislike you.

Unlike his female counterpart that was mentioned below - it seemed like he had a little more excitment to deal with.

Some highlights:

He claims he missed a balk call from Curt Schilling, but it was no big deal because the whole crew missed it.

He got into a mild argument with Boston rightfielder J.D. Drew (who had no clue he was pleading his case to a sportswriter until Tom told him the next day). (The whole arguement is detailed in the article)

His #1 priority was to remember to get out of the way during infield pop flys so that Miguel Tejada (who would be looking up at the ball) would not plow into him.

Other than that - there wasn't much to get worked up about. He worked each base for 3 innings. His stint at third went by rather quickly because of good pitching by Schilling and O's pitcher Erik Bedard. There were no "did he go" moments with him at third which is always a tough call for an ump to make.

For the privilege of having to be perfect, umpires spend about 200 days a year on the road, hear the same lousy jokes in every ballpark about their eyesight or familial heritage, and routinely get second-guessed by critics watching repeated superslow, frame-by-frame replays in high definition from multiple camera angles. Yet major league umpiring jobs (of which there are 68) open up these days about as infrequently as those on the Supreme Court. What kind of person would love a job in which you get noticed only for your mistakes?

There is no doubt that umps are proud to be umps. But, part of the reason jobs do not frequently open is because it's their job, their career, as mentioned 200 days on the road a year. Just as a sports reporter thrives on the perfect story, or a writer thrives on a perfect story... these guys (and soon girls) thrive on making the right call. What must really get them going is to go back to view the replay and confirm that their split second, could go either way, judgement call was the right call... and fans and announcers actually agreed. Making the right call is what they live for - some of them take it a little more serious than others, take Tim Timmons take on umpiring for example:

"Umpiring is a gift," says ump Tim Timmons, 39, "like the hitter who has the skill to hit that 90-mph slider or the pitcher who can do things with a baseball no human being should be able to do. Those are real gifts, and so is umpiring. You can't teach instincts."

A gift? Like... from God? Although I don't agree with Tim's assessment that it is a gift - I do appreciate his pridefulness on being an umpire. I believe it takes practice, and with enough of it, anybody or their brother could be an umpire.

As for our buddy Tom, I'm actually glad he took the time, effort and practice it took to get this gig. It was pretty cool to read his take on the game from the umpires point of view. It's good for the sport to give the umpires a little publicity. They are frequently ridiculed and mocked by fans who have no clue about what goes on out there during the games. Will fans change? Highly unlikely! But we at least have a little glimpse of what it is like to be out there on the field, with all the pressure of making the right call. However, there is no doubt - we'll always be better than they are.

P.S. - I don't know about you, but I couldn't really tell the difference between Tom Verducci (who not surprisingly is the skinny one in the above picture) and Ria Cortesio.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Female ump aims for future gig in the majors


"Ria Cortesio became the first female umpire to work a major league exhibition game since Pam Postema in 1989 when she made calls on the bases Thursday as the Chicago Cubs beat an Arizona Diamondbacks split squad 7-4."

According to the article it was a pretty uneventful day for Cortesio who one day hopes to be the first female to umpire a regular season major league baseball game. There were only 3 umps so she had a lot of ground to cover in the infield. Unfortunatly for us, there were no bad calls that caused any bases to be thrown, or any spit throwing managers to argue with her. I just have to wonder what would happen if she made a bad call, how would managers and/or players react to her?

And is it just me, or does she look like every other male umpire in the league? Except maybe a few hundred pounds lighter?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Robert Horry must really be getting OLD!

This has nothing to do with officiating, but a buddy of mine showed me this, and I thought it was pretty funny. Take a look at Robert Horry's stat line from last night:

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Kellogg and Gumble's Traveling Circus

Was it a travel? If you watched any of CBS's Post-Game show last night or this afternoon's Road to the Final 4, you'd know that Clark Kellogg and Greg Gumble sure think so.

"No," Green said when asked about a possible traveling violation. "There were a lot of guys in there. I probably got pushed. They didn't call it. The play was good, and that's all I can say."

Seth Green was asked about it in an interview at

S.D.: Immediately, I thought travel, but with each viewing I was less and less sure. I'd never blame a referee on that call in that situation in the Sweet 16. It's hard to fathom someone stepping in during that situation. At the end, I think it was technically a travel.

My thoughts? Well, almost total opposite from Seth Green. Immediately, I thought it was an amazing shot, if anything, I thought maybe Green was fouled. But then during the post game show, CBS was showing slow motion shots, and blowing it up and enlarging it to point out the possible travel. After further review, I think there is no doubt his pivot foot moved. Was he pushed? Perhaps. Was it a good no-call? I can't argue with the officials, I think it could have gone either way, and it would have been justified either way. Vandy fans, I'm sure, would disagree.

Meanwhile, over at, Kevin Hench has had enough. He breaks down ALL the bad calls so far this weekend. Seems like the refs have sure created controversy while creating quite possibly the greatest Elite 8 field we have ever seen. I personally think Mench is just trying to create controversy - I read through his list, and they are not nearly as bad as he makes them out to be. For example:

No. 1 Florida 65, No. 5 Butler 57
In one of the early games on Friday, defending champ and 1-seed Florida took on valiant Butler. The Bulldogs led the Gators by as many as nine and were still tied 54-54 with 2:40 to play when 6-foot-10 Florida big man Al Horford began backing down the smaller Brandon Crone. Horford backed and backed and bashed and bashed Crone all the way under the basket before finally eliciting a whistle as he laid the ball in. Foul. ON CRONE!!! Yeesh. Despite getting knocked to the floor by the massive Horford, Crone was whistled for his fifth foul and, after the three-point play, Butler never tied it up again.

No. 1 North Carolina 74, No. 5 USC 64
In the Friday nightcap, top seed North Carolina was down 16 points when a couple of touch fouls sent USC big man Taj Gibson to the bench. Seriously, why do you guys have to blow your whistle when the man supposedly being fouled has caught the ball in the post anyway and no advantage has been gained by this alleged foul? Play on!

But when it came to the small change, ticky-tack stuff against Gibson, the refs saved their best for last. The Trojans had the ball down six with 48.5 seconds left when Gibson set a screen at the 3-point line. And yes he moved on the screen. After the man he was picking ran into him! Despite Billy Packer's contention that this was an easy and uncontroversial call, Tim Floyd had every right to be apoplectic on this whistle that essentially ended the USC season.

See the rest of his breakdown here.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Wierd Al Would Be Proud

Growing up in Central Pennsylvania, it's not uncommon for me to have an Amish sighting. It's routine that I see horse and buggies riding up and down the road, and generally the Amish people are quiet, nice, and mind their own business. This fellow, however, might be spending some time away from the farm for a few weeks. Via

Referees halted a penalty-plagued ice hockey match that included a team of Plain adults Monday night when an Amish player allegedly pummeled a member of the officiating crew. Police in East Hempfield Township, called to the Regency Sportsrink on Ambassador Circle at 10:45 p.m., cited Emanuel Dienner, 20, with harassment after the on-ice brouhaha.

Dienner, allegedly punched referee Keith Allen more than a half-dozen times in the midst of a goal-line scuffle with 14 seconds left in a lopsided championship game.

The fight ended only when a player from the opposing team pulled Dienner off the ref.

Dienner was playing on a team made up of all Mennonites and Amish called the Phantoms, league officials told the New Era. He and some teammates became frustrated as the penalties for roughing and hooking — not to mention the score — mounted against them.

"The Amish can get upset at times," said Allen, 46, of Ephrata.

The five-year referee suffered a bruised nose and was nursing pain in his neck this morning. He was wearing a helmet and partial visor at the time and declined medical treatment.

"They were just frustrated," said the ref. "It was a championship game and they were losing. There were fans ejected."

Fans were ejected! Players punching the referees! What is this... European Soccer!?! Those darn Amish kids, they really need to learn to control their tempers!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bad Call in Memphis/A&M Game?

I'm sure many Texas A&M fans will be up in arms over the call in the game this evening between the Aggies and the Memphis Tigers. With 3.1 seconds left - the Aggies were inbounding the ball from underneath the Memphis basket, and an errant pass was deflected out of bounds by a Memphis player. During the play, no time went off the clock. That sent the officials to the scorers table to review the play. During the timeout, Bill Raftery was actually praising the officials for the excellent game they had been calling up to that point. Me personally, I was doing the play-by-play over the phone to my buddy who was in the unfortunate situation of being in his car during these critical moments. As I'm watching the replay - I was telling him that it didn't appear that the ball had touched the sideline and therefore bounced in bounds before it then landed out of bounds. As far as I knew, the clock shouldn't stop until the ball actually lands out of bounds, not necessarily when it crosses the plane. The refs (even though it took them a while) finally made a decision and decided to take a full 1.1 seconds off the clock giving Texas A&M then only 2.0 seconds to get the ball in bounds and throw up a desperation half court heave. Was it the right call? I think so, although I think they could have made the clock read 2.9 seconds and still had the same result with none of the controversy. Both Raftery and play by play man Verne Lunquist were confused by the call, and describing the ball landing in bounds before going out of bounds wasn't brought up until Greg Gumble brought it up during the post game show. Seth Davis even thought it was questionable and would cause controversy. My opinion is that considering the clock operator thought it immediately went out of bounds, and to the naked eye it appeared that it immediately went out of bounds and even on replay, it was close, the refs should have just taken 2 or 3 tenths of a second off the clock. But you can't fault them for making an accurate call either.

MLB Discriminates Against Mute Umpires


"Major League Baseball fans might get to eavesdrop on players and managers arguing calls this season as Fox and ESPN put microphones on umpires during telecasts for the first time.

One umpire from each crew will wear a microphone that he can turn on and off during the game at his discretion. The networks said they won't air live audio from the microphones.

Both networks said they would be selective in the audio they choose to use and umpires can turn off the microphones if a player or manager is arguing a ruling. The networks said they may decide to air contested calls on delay if considered suitable."

Wait a second, the umpire can turn his mic off if he's in an argument. So, it's like this...

Uh oh, here comes Lou again, I better turn this thing off - this could get pretty nasty. I'd hate for the fans to be able to hear the sound of his spit splatting off my face.

Honestly, isn't that what we want to hear the most? The arguing? I'm sure we will though as most umps will forget their mic is on, and the whole conversation will be picked up. Hopefully ESPN and FOX will not be afraid to air those converasations.

The networks will evaluate the audio during games and package it with replays.

"We don't want to offend or embarrass anybody, including ourselves," said Tim Scanlan, ESPN's senior coordinating producer. "If it's meaningful and takes the viewer closer to the game, we'll do it."

I'm sure it won't be long until some umpires regret having that mic turned on. Like when they actually admit to blowing a call:

Oh, the joy of being an angry fan

Bill Poehler, writer for the statesman journal says that officials are not getting paid enough to take this sort of abuse. The abuse he is referring to, you ask? While he was at a recent series of high school basketball tournament, he witnessed fans saying horrible things like:

I hate you, baldy.

Go back home.

You need a towel to wipe your eyes?

Give your pay back.

That's terrible.

Knock it off.

That's terrible.

Get out of here.

He goes onto say:

It's always funny when someone sitting 100 feet away from the play thinks that they can see the outcome of the play better than the official 10 feet away.

Unless you're Superman, you can't.

The next time you think, maybe I'll yell, "Get in the game, blue," stop for a minute.

How would you like to get paid to go to a public event and constantly be screamed at?

It's not fun.

Listen Bill, I respect your sympathy for officials. Maybe you used to be a referee, maybe you hang out with them after work at your favorite pub, maybe you have a long list of refs complaining to you about these types of fans. However, in my humble opinion - yelling at the officials is part of the joys of being a passionate fan. We crave the right call, an accurate call, especially when rooting for our school, our team, or in some cases, a son or daughter's team to win. It's all part of our competitive nature. I agree, there are lines that can be crossed, and those lines would be yelling profanities, running onto the court or field to take matters into your own hands, or making threatning statements during or even after the game. To say things like you mentioned above is ok, and unless the ref has serious image problems, should be able to handle that type of abuse no matter how much money he or she is being paid.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Worst Calls of All Time

In honor of Greg Oden's superslam over the weekend, Complain in Vain is in the process of compiling the Worst Calls of All Time. (well... since 1986) This is a good list so far - they are up to #8 on their list. While I don't agree with all, I think it's a good start, and at least a good way to get a nice debate going. Take a look at their list and chime in on their comments with your own.

Oh and by the way - welcome all TBL readers! Hope you enjoy what you see... please visit anytime. Feel free to email me with your tips/comments/suggestions at

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

NFL Overtime Rules

In this week's Monday Morning QB, Peter King takes some time to discuss some possible rule changes that owners and gm's will discuss in their upcoming meetings. I think we would all agree that even though facts might not support our argument, the NFL Overtime Rules could use a little tweaking.

PK seems to agree with that himself. He goes onto say:

I've never been a big fan of the NFL's current overtime system. Even though only 29 percent of all overtime games have been won on the first possession of extra time, that's 29 percent too often for me. NFL teams have only 16 regular-season games a year, and those games are too important for something as vital as first possession of the ball to be determined by a coin flip. The rule is madness. Both teams should have at least one crack at the ball in overtime.

So, as I read this, I'm thinking the NFL must be considering doing something drastic. Maybe they are possibly thinking of instituting College football's rule that guarentees both teams will get the ball. Right? WRONG! The change the NFL is thinking of implementing:

pushing the kickoff from the 30- to the 35-yard line.


Seriously though, I understand the concept. Apparently, the NFL wants more touchbacks during OT to prevent the team starting out with the ball the advantage of say starting at their own 40 or 50 yard line. I admit, makes sense. But I think the NFL should take this a step further. I know, I know, the facts don't dispute there's a problem, but the NFL OT system lacks one important ingredient: Excitement!

The NFL is the one sport where both teams in OT are potentially not given an equal shot. Imagine if baseball extra innings were sudden death! Imagine if an NBA overtime game was over when the first team scores a bucket. Imagine a tennis match that ends with an ace on the first serve during the tie-break. Imagine the Masters tied at the end of 72 holes and then Tiger hits his ball in first and the match is over before his opponent is even allowed the chance to drop his own birdie putt. It'd be an outrage, so why is the NFL allowed to get away with this?

I say if they're going to tweak the rules - I mean, c'mon, let's tweak them. Here are some possible options:

1) Model college's rule, but back them up say 20 or 30 yards to start. (PK says, "The NFL won't do that because the argument against the college overtime rule is that it makes a mockery of the game, eliminating the special-teams aspect.")

Ok... well then how about...

2) Playing a complete extra period - 15 minutes of non-sudden death. Winner at the end wins the game. I like this idea, but I don't think this is the solution as there are problems with this argument as well - what happens if and when their tied at the end of the first OT. This would cause OT times to really drag out. But imagine the intensity of a playoff game going into 1 maybe 2 OT sessions - isn't it exciting when NHL, or college and pro basketball games go 2 or 3 OT longs? Could this work in the NFL?

3) Have a "kick-out" - like soccer's shootout - Take the players off the field and have them kick 40 yard field goals to determine the winner. Just like soccer, a player can only kick once - how cool would this be? Start with the kickers, then the punters, then your former high school kickers, soon offensive linemen would be attempting 40 yard field goals to send their team to the playoffs. This rule could be implemented with option number 2. Play one OT period - 15 minutes - non sudden death, if we're still tied - we have a "kick-out"

4) Kick the ball from the same spot, but just guarentee both teams at least 1 possession. Even this rule is better than the current rule in my opinion.

Those are my options and I am no expert on the situation, just a guy with an opinion. I think College Football's OT system is hands down way better and that's why I say the NFL should consider making a bigger change than simply moving the ball up 5 yards on the kickoff.

PK concludes his article by saying "I'd take any change in the overtime rules, as long as it moves us closer to a fair chance for both teams to get the ball in the extra period. Discussing a tweak is a start. It's not the solution, but here's hoping that the coaches and club officials on the competition committee can, at a minimum, convince their brethren to take this first step at making overtime games more equitable."

I actually agree with him..... and hey, even that's a start.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Stop, Flop, and Roll

I know this has been discussed over at the fanhouse, and even SI mentioned this in their rumors and rants section. But, I'm actually happy to see this. It sounds like the NBA is seriously considering the possibility of giving officials the option of charging "flop" offenders with a technical foul.


"The NBA is considering giving referees the option of whistling players for technical fouls if they deem that a player has flopped in an attempt to get a call. FIBA, the governing body of all international basketball, already gives such latitude to its referees. Other sports such as soccer and the NHL already allow their referees to penalize players for purposefully falling in an attempt to deceive the game officals."

One idea behind this potential rule change is to stop players from preventing what would be spectacular plays by jumping underneath them to draw a foul. In recent years, players have discovered (and I'm sure coaches have begun coaching) the art of drawing the charge. More and more, blocking fouls are not called, and charging is called when a player falls to his back after taking a little bit of a shove. Yeah, there are arguments either way, and I'm sure there are legitimate cases when a charge is rightfully called. The NBA needs dazzling plays to keep its popluarity and quite honestly, (and I understand the need for the rule) but I hate the charging foul. Imagine if Jordan would have been called for a charge in what Marv Albert famously coined as a "spectacular move". Nowadays, those types of plays are being prevented by floppers and the refs that agree with their antics.

The article also speaks about this:

"The NBA gained popularity decades ago because of the dazzling plays at the rim when players aggressively attacked the rim and finished with high-wire theatrics. But more and more these days, it seems as if players seem hesitant to drive down the lane because of defenders running under them and falling to the floor as if a runaway locomotive has hit them. In the split second that a referee must make a call, the decision often goes in favor of the stationary defender -- something that almost deters players from driving down the lane."

I agree with the NBA that if a player tries to purposely draw a foul by falling over "by accident", well - that player deserved to be punished in some way. I guess a technical foul is a good way to start. We'll have to see how this rule comes in to play, as mentioned at the fanhouse, I'll believe it when I see it.

Since we're talking about floppers, let's give respect to the man who reminded me most of my fishing days. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the greatest flopper of all time:

Monday, February 26, 2007

Out of town:

Hello folks. Since Friday afternoon, I left the good 'ol United States and headed for a country in Europe called Slovakia. This is a beautiful country and today it snowed about 3 inches. I am in a small town called Zvadka visiting my girlfriend who is spending a year here for missions and eduation. I will be returning on Sunday Night, so unless you guys are interested in the officials at the hockey game I will be attending, there probably won't be must posted here this week. However, reader Ben has been added to the contributor list, so we'll see if he can throw something together in the meantime to keep you entertained.

Before I go, I must say that the employees in Washington Dulles Airport really have some issues. As my dad and I sat down to grab a quick bite to eat, my mineral water was knocked over and a few drops (literally) got on a United Airlines employee's pants. Apparently, this gentleman was not having a good day, because he unleashed on me like I had just wrung him up on called strike three and he didn't quite agree with the call. What did I do upon hearing this son of a bang, son of a boom outbreak? Well, like any normal person would do, I immediately started laughing. This guy must be joking right? No. He was demanding that I give him $15 to get his pants dry cleaned. So my dad, trying to prevent a major scene, pulls out his wallet to give the man some money. I said, dad - we're not giving this man any money. Listen sir, this is water, you're going to be ok. Finally I started ignoring him and he was still mumbling things under his breath that I neither heard, or cared about. As I got up to leave, I said - sir - would it make you feel better if I gave you $20? He said, I don't want your money - just an apology. He said he was upset most because I was laughing. Still, thinking this was the most ridiculous thing I had witnessed in sometime, apologized to the guy, shook his hand, and pat him on the back because you know... I'm a good guy.

Ya'll have a good week... Keep on keeping on.