Monday, November 17, 2008

Sponsor Orphans In India

I mentioned this below, but I'm going to make this a separate post because I think it warrants it.

If as a country, we can wager 100 million dollars on one (ONE!) football game, then can we each take a few pennies to help support orphans? Please click on the link to the right. All (ALL!) procedes go directly to the Orphans as none of your money is used for administrative costs (for advertising, payroll, etc). I know the organization very well as my cousin runs it all. It is supported as a ministry in his church therefore allowing all (again... ALL!) of your money to go directly to the orphan ministry in India. Many of these precious children are orphans because their parents were killed in the Tsunami 5 years ago.

Please America... if we have 100 million dollars to risk on the outcome of a football game (and I'm not judging any of you), please consider making a donation. It's all tax deductable. I'll make it easy on you... click here to read more about the ministry or here to make an online donation.

Thanks... now back to regularly scheduled complaining about horrible calls.

Editors Note: Please note that approximately 4.5% of your gift goes to pay fees associated with online giving. Global Partners does not receive any of these fees, only the companies that provide this service.

Just like Paypal gets a percentage of your Ebay money also. Kind of expected. Just wanted to throw that out there.

NFL Week 11 Awful Officiating Recap

My favorite comment that I've read so far today over at PFT:

Reason #1 not to gamble on sports — the officials don’t know the rules.

Reason #2 is the previous post — the athletes don’t know the rules.

Commenter "Favre2012" is of course referring to the Steelers and Eagles games today one was full of horrible officiating, and the other... well... had a quarterback who simply doesn't know the rules of the game. Side note - this is the 2nd time in 3 weeks where both Steelers and Eagles games were affected by bad calls.

Starting with the Steelers game - the first sign of awful officiating was the clear bias in favor of the Chargers. The pentalties for the game were 2-5 for the Chargers and 13-115 for the Steelers. Then on the final play of the game, the illegal foward pass that wasn't illegal but was called illegal happened preventing the Steelers from scoring a touchdown that would have made the final score 17-11 or 18-11 depending on whether or not they made them kick the extra point. An hour after the game referee Scott Green admitted the wrong call was made:

“The rule was misinterpreted,” Green said. “We should have let the play go through in the end, yes. It was misinterpreted that instead of killing the play we should have let the play go through.”

In case you're interested in watching the video... here is a quick recap of the final 5 seconds:

On to the Eagles game... Donovan Mcnabb - a 10 year veteran, a 31 year old Quarterback, didn't know a game could end in a tie. I agree this is a dumb rule, but seriously, how does he not know this?? He goes on to ask the even dumber question: "What if this happens in the Super Bowl or Playoffs?" Does he really want us to answer that question without making him feel like the biggest retard in all of sports?

The biggest bad call in the Eagles game was the roughing the passer (leading with the helmet) call on Shelden Brown with less than a minute left in OT that setup the field goal attempt for the Bengals. It was a bad call - ticky tack - and bad for the game. Thankfully for the sake of officials affecting the outcome of the game, the kick was wide right. Now someone give Donovan a rule book to take home!

Lastly, PFT also reported about an incident in the Vikings / Bucs game involving some late hits by the Vikings:
Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards delivered an absolutely brutal late hit to Buccaneers quarterback Jeff Garcia, drilling him long after Garcia had thrown the ball. Edwards was flagged for roughing the passer and will definitely be fined, and it’s possible that the NFL will rule the hit blatant enough to merit a suspension.
They later go on to say that Mike Carey had to even issues warnings (ala the mlb) to both benches:
FOX’s Chris Myers reports from the sidelines of the Vikings-Bucs game that referee Mike Carey has told both teams to cool it with the hits after the whistle.
Update: TBL makes a good point: If the Steelers-Chargers Finish Had Happened in the NBA, It’d Be a Massive Controversy
Yes... and most likely an investigation from Congress. Stern has to be fuming that Goodell can get away with this unscathed in the public eye.

One final note... 100 million dollars wagered LEGALLY on THIS game!!! You have got to be kidding me! 64 million dollars swung from one side to the other when the call was overturned! Laughable! Folks - please, take a small portion of your gambling money and click on the link in the top right corner to help support orphans in India - they could use it. They are suffering! Please, use your money wisely!

To conclude... we go back to the commenter "Favre2012":
Reason #1 not to gamble on sports — the officials don’t know the rules.

Image via Fanhouse

Friday, November 14, 2008

Awful Officiating Recap

There were two calls during Sunday's Vikings/Packers game that were missed:

1) Adrian Peterson not getting a pentalty for removing his helmet in the endzone after scoring the game winning touchdown.

2) Aaron Rodgers called for intentional grounding in the endzone resulting in a safety.

Starting with Peterson, the NFL admitted Wednesday that a pentalty should have been called so that led Imig over at TBL to take a look at just how lucky the Vikings have been this season:
• In their 3 point win over the Saints in Week 5 (MNF), the officials failed to flag the Vikings for a facemask on what proved to be a Reggie Bush lost fumble. They also deemed Adrian Peterson down by contact on a fumble in which he wasn’t actually down. The gaffes led to at least a three point swing, which means, at worse, the Saints and Vikings should have been playing for overtime.
• In their two point win over the Lions in Week 6, the Officials handed 42 yards to the Vikings when Leigh Bodden was flagged for pass interference. Ryan Longwell kicked a game-winning 26 yard field goal soon after. Not to mention Dan Orlovsky ran out of bounds in the end zone. That two pointer could be considered the difference, though that’s not luck on the Vikings so much as shear stupidity on the Lions.
• In their one point win over the Packers, Adrian Peterson avoids a 15 yard penalty. Mason Crosby’s 52 yard field goal try sails wide right - and would have been good from 37. I’ll concede that Mike McCarthy’s playcalling inside two minutes was atrocious, but I won’t concede that the Vikings aren’t lucky.

On to the Rodgers safety, PFT made this observation during last night's Jets/Pats game:
Facing a stiff rush from the Patriots during Thursday night’s game, Favre essentially turned his body and whipped the ball to no one. He wasn’t outside the pocket, and the ball didn’t make it near or beyond the line of scrimmage.

But there was no flag.

The official explanation was that the ball was tipped. Replays suggested otherwise.

Even the officials are mesmerized by the great Farve. He's invicible!

Speaking of last night's game, if you watched the end, you will surely remember a bad holding call on Mike Vrabel on a key 3rd down for the Jets. There was no hold, and Collinsworth actually made this comment... "If that's holding, then I was assulted during my career". As for the call, even though it was bad at the time, it didn't affect the outcome of the game. If the Jets kick a field goal there, there is no way the Patriots go for it on 4th and 1 from the 16 with 8 seconds to go. They would have simply kicked the field goal and instead of being tied at 31 heading into overtime, the game would have been tied at 27. Regardless, a bad call has to be pointed out and not excused.

One note from the NBA last night. Via basketbawful:

Joey Crawford: Joey strikes again! The ref with the infamously itchy whistle-finger hit Kenyon Martin with a flagrant 2 foul, which means an automatic ejection this season. Good call? Bad call? Ridiculous call? I'll let you be the judge.

Martin was understandably indignant after the game. "It's basketball, man -- it's a contact sport. It's not bowling or table tennis." No, it's certainly not. Fans can actually stay awake through most NBA games (assuming the Spurs aren't involved). What made the call even more ridiculous is that Dahntay Jones and LeBron got into a shoving match earlier in the game...and nothing was called. Not even a tech. Ah, NBA officiating: A model of inconsistency.

Somewhere Tim Duncan is smiling.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ref Tackles Player - Take 2

Here's another video of an official tackling a player. Although - this one, courtesy of hot clicks, appears to be accidental, and also very painful:

According to reports, the official ended up ok.

And lastly, unrelated, I want to take a minute and congratulate my buddy Ishy and his wife. They were blessed this morning with a brand new baby boy named Austin. Since Ishy has been a life-long Phillies fan, I figured this video, also courtesy of hot clicks, would be a preview of this to come in Austin's life.

Although... poor Austin will probably be about 25 when the Phils win their next championship.

Duke Gets All The Calls

I'm sure this is taught in Coach K's school of "fooling the officials". I can hear him training his guys: "At Duke University we've won a lot. We have some kids who haven't failed that much. But when you get to Duke, you're going to fail some time. That's a thing that I can help you the most with. To prevent failing more than we should, my coaching staff and I implemented strategies on how to effectively teach flopping and goaltending. We've perfected the science and we feel we will fail less because of that"

Coach K's new techniques are working like a charm... see:

This was called a block last night. Duke won easily.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Officials Spot Costs 49ers Game

Interesting story coming out today about the last play in last night's game. Mike Singletary blamed Mike Martz for the play call, and now Martz is going to do what all good coaches do... blame the refs!

Criticized after the game for a bizarre choice of plays, Martz said nothing to reporters and took the heat. The team's head coach and players took the heat, too, with Mike Singletary saying that Robinson got the call because "Coach Martz felt that there would be a cavity inside, so he made that call. So you've got to live with the result."

"It cost us the game," he said. "We go to the 1 -- or the half-yard line -- then spike the ball when, all of a sudden, officials tell us they're going to look at the replay. While they're looking at it, the ball stays at the 1. So we send in a play. Then, when they make their decision, they move the ball back to the 2½ and tell us they're going to start the clock on the official's wind.

"We couldn't change the play. We had to go with what we called. If it would've been at the 1, we would've made it. But they moved it and didn't give us any time. So what are we going to do? If they would've moved it to the 10 we still would've had to run the play that was called. We got screwed because of the spot, first and foremost."

That might need an explanation. Because officials overruled San Francisco quarterback Shaun Hill's spike, there was no dead ball. And no dead ball means the clock doesn't stop. San Francisco didn't have a timeout left, so it had exactly three seconds to produce a game-winning play.

At that point, Martz said, the 49ers could do nothing but run what he called. And what he called, was a play designed to score from the 1, not the 2½.

"Obviously, if we had had time we wouldn't have called that play for that situation," he said. "We would've called a double fade and passed it. I didn't expect anything like that. We had no recourse. We got screwed every way possible."

Mike Pereira, the league's vice president of officiating, doesn't see it like that. In fact, he insisted officials acted properly at the end of Monday's game.

As the 49ers lined up for the third-down spike, he said, officials were notified on the field that there would be a review of the previous play -- a Frank Gore run that seemed to put the 49ers at the half-yard line. Nevertheless, they couldn't stop Hill from spiking the ball as a flag was thrown.

Had the spike been allowed to stand, Pereira said, the 49ers would have been penalized. Apparently, they were in an illegal formation, which would've moved the ball back 5 yards.

But the spike didn't count because it was superseded by an official review of the previous play, Gore's run. Once the review was completed, Pereira said, it was announced to the stadium crowd that Gore was stopped for a 1-yard loss and that the ball would be reset at the 2.

Pereira also said officials gave the 49ers an opportunity to line up before setting the ball down and starting the clock. But it still wasn't enough time to check out of the call, Martz said.

"We had no choice to do what we do," he said.
Mike says he didn't find out the ball was respotted until he talked to former coach Mike Nolan Tuesday morning which has to make new coach Mike Singletary very happy. Who does Martz report to again?

Back to the call... personally, my thoughts are that the 49ers are at fault for not being prepared for the spot change. They've got spotters in the booth, and those guys need to be telling the coaches that it's possible the spot will be moved back, in which case Martz should have had a back-up plan. As soon as the ball is respotted, they go with plan B and run the pass.

I know it sounds simple on paper and most likely a lot different during the middle of the action, but for some reason I can't imagine this same scenario happening to the Patriots, Titans, Giants or any of the other elite teams in the league.

Of course.... they could have just spiked the ball, which was the original 3rd down call anyway. Either way... this is just typical Mike Martz school of coaching 101 in action. Are you paying attention class?

49ers/Cards Recap

Here's all you need to know via ninersnation:
How about a combined 20 penalties, 164 yards. The referees were a joke tonight.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Recap

A pretty exciting weekend in sports, but if you're from Pennsylvania, it was probably the worst football weekend of the year. Penn State lost to Iowa, and both the Steelers and Eagles lost very winable games at home. At least McNabb can say he didn't cost his team the victory unlike Darryl Clark and Ben Rothlisberger. The Eagles lost last night falls on Andy Reid and his coaching staff, who were simple outcoached in every way during that game. Reid's back to back challenges (the first one was plain stupid) were a sign of desperation and once they got the ball back only down by 5, they were out of timeouts. Even then, they had a chance to move the ball downfield but on consecutive downs - 3rd / 4th and short - they handed the ball to Westbrook (hadn't worked all night) and failed to gain any yards. Ballgame! I would have put Tom Coughlin on the horse trailer for his ability to be the "greatest challenger of all-time". (See more on that call below)

Here's some officiating roundup's for the crazy weekend. I'm sure plenty of ommissions are to be found. Feel free to email links/pictures/video's of awful officiating to the email address to your right. Over there -----> and... uh up a little.

Starting on the high school field: The Georgia Region 7-AAAA championship game was delayed for over 3 hours and didn't get started until 10:15 because the referee's association forgot to schedule anyone for the game. They had to wait for one game to end, then use a police escort to bring the officials from that game over. Things get even crazier in high school football, when this kid - weighing in at over 300 lbs - is the new quarterback for Ellenville (NY) High School. It's good to see kids are laying off the steroids these days. On the other hand... the drive thru's up there must be doing ok.

Onto College, I watched some of the Ohio State / Northwestern game; a few snaps of the Michigan / Minnesota game, and most of the Penn State game. I wasn't able to catch any of the showdown in Lubbock or either of the other Saturday night games. Many Penn State fans are crying foul on the Anthony Scirrotto Pass Interference call late in the 4th on a crucial 3rd and long. It was a tough call that could have gone either way - but after reading the rulebook they may have a point. If you recall, Scirrotto was obviously going for the ball and incidental contact was made between him and the Iowa reciever. According to the official NCAA rule book:
It is not defensive pass interference:
2. When two or more eligible players are making a simultaneous and bonafide attempt to reach, catch or bat the pass. Eligible players of either team have equal rights to the ball (A.R. 7-3-8-XII).
g. Each player has territorial rights, and incidental contact is ruled under “attempt to reach…the pass" in Rule 7-3-8. If opponents who are beyond the line collide while moving toward the pass, a foul by one or both players is indicated only if intent to impede the opponent is obvious. It is pass interference only if a catchable forward pass is involved (A.R. 7-3-9-I).
When I first read about the PSU'ers hawking about the bad call, I thought they were just finding an excuse - and teams have lost games on far worst calls - but, after reading the rule carefully to understand all the wording, well... they may have a point. At this point, it doesn't matter - Penn St is #8 in the BCS and best case scenario is a berth in the Rose Bowl.

In the NFL - If the Chargers lose yesterday to the Chiefs, one of the biggest topics of conversation today would have surely been the pass interference call that was called late in the 4th quarter against the Chargers. This was an obvious bad call, and it set up the Chiefs with a first and goal from the 2 yard line that led to a touchdown a few plays later. The Chargers have had a handful of calls go against them this year (the biggest by far is the Ed Hochuli blown call that sent him to rehab earlier in the year), and this would have been another one. This time it didn't hurt them, and after winning the game you don't hear much about it.

In last night's Eagles / Giants game - I learned something. The ENTIRE body has to be across the line of scrimmage before it is an illegal forward pass. Wow... Chris Chase at Yahoo Sports makes a good observation about this rule:
This makes the tuck rule look like logical. Every spot ruling in football is based on the position of the ball. On a touchdown, the ball only needs to cross the plane of the endzone. The ball carrier can have his toe on the two yard line and it wouldn't matter so long as the any part of the ball is touching the end zone.
Each individual play in a game is also spotted wherever the ball is located when a player is ruled down. And this threshold isn't only subjected to the football. When a player steps out of bounds, he's considered out at the instant one foot touches the line. It doesn't matter where the rest of the body is, all that matter is that if one bit of the toe touches the OB line, that player is out.
But the line of scrimmage rule is written so that quarterbacks have to entirely cross over into another plane in order to be over the line of scrimmage? Compared to the other rules, this one is a complete outlier. It's completely ridiculous.

I have to agree with Chris. Never in my life did I think Coughlin was winning that review - but I thought it was pure genius and pure "in your face" when he pulled that one off.

Other football facts: Randy Moss was fined, and then unfined for his remarks last week about the officiating.

First... Biden was boo'ed at the Eagles game; then it was the refs. Figures.

A lot of folks are up in arms about an illegal forward pass call against the Packers in yesterday's loss in Minnesota. The call resulted in a safety for the Vikings. The Vikings won by 1 point. Head official Alberto Riveron has some explaining to do. We'll see if the NFL apologizes for this one.

Last Word... what's with all the Tony Gonzalez love yesterday. Listen, I know he's good and he's going to be in the Hall of Fame, but we don't have to change his first name to "Future Hall of Famer". This isn't Brett Farve, and even Farve doesn't get that treatment during every highlight. Gus Johnson must have called him that at least 3 times during yesterday's game, Dan Patrick called him that during SNF Highlights last night, and even today on Arrowheadpride, they say "Tony Gonzalez (10 catches for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns) - Another outstanding performance from our future Hall of Famer."

I just found this interesting and wondered if anyone else noticed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Is It Time For Robot's To Call Balls and Strikes

Beyond the Boxscore poses an interesting argument. They think it's time for the some sort of automative system to call balls and strikes based on a tracking device. Below is a picture of gameday's placement of the pitches during Pat Burrell's at bat in the 5th inning.

BTB goes onto say:
Pitches 6 and 4 were either fouls or swinging strikes with pitch 1 being a favorable called strike. Where did pitches 5 and 9 miss? Well, I don't know, actually. Even the Fox Track thing, which I don't entirely trust, had them within the strike zone. Essentially Kazmir struck Burrell out, twice. Instead Burrell walked, Kazmir was lifted, and Grant Balfour had to work his way out of a jam.

I'm not going to say that if we had robot strike callers last night the outcome would've been different. For one, knowing MLB, the robots would've short circuited in the rain, and two, using results based analysis we know the game is tied. However I question the judgment of anyone who places tradition or anything else over getting calls like these right in every game, and especially in the biggest games.

It hasn't changed the outcome of the series, but when the gold standard of umpires are getting this many calls wrong, it might time to implement instant replay and robots.

Dave Pinto at Baseball Musings:
It strikes me that there should be some electronic way to determine if the ball crossed the plate. Either a transponder or a local GPS system. It would then be up to the umpire to call the ball high or low. That's the tough call, because every batter has a different strike zone based on height and stance. Take away one dimension from the umpire, and you make their job a bit easier.

While I can go back and forth on this one, I firmly believe that with Bud Selig running the show, any implementation of this type of system would be an absolute disgrace. So before they start adding robots into the booth, they should replace him.

Kid Takes Matters Into His Own Hands

I don't know... maybe this kid wanted to take out the ref... maybe not. Just seems like too much of a coincidence. My guess, his dad hates ref's and this young guy wanted to make daddy proud.

Via KATU: (from Deadspin)

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- A young child drove a golf cart onto a high school football field and hit a referee before the start of the game last week.

The incident happened before the Thurston and North Eugene high school football game Oct. 17.

Security camera footage captured the scene.

The golf cart emerges on the field and drives toward the unsuspecting official.

People can be seen chasing the golf cart across the field.

Afterward, people attend to both the referee and the child in the golf cart.

The child, who was not a Springfield School District student, did not intend to hit the referee but couldn't control the cart, said Jeff DeFranco with the school district.

Details are sparse at this time regarding why the child was on the cart or whether the referee suffered any injury.

DeFranco said a spectator told him the referee officiated the game after the incident.

Slow motion still camera video can also be seen by clicking on the link. It's actually quite humorous.

MLB Umpires CBA Needs Revisited

I have always respected Ken Rosenthal. He's up in the Buster Olney, Jayson Stark category in my book. One of the best. Actually, I was priviledged enough to shake his hand in a game in Philly this past year. True story, my buddies and I went to a Mets/Phillies game earlier this summer which was broadcast on Fox. During the 9th inning a fight broke out down the first base line between fans - typical stuff really. We were sitting in the left field bleachers and we could clearly see punches being thrown from all the way across the field. The action on the field was delayed and Billy Wagner took a few steps off the mound. The whole stadium was aware of what was happening. The guy doing most of the punches was wearing a Mets jersey was taken away in handcuffs to the approval of the roaring crowd. Upon completion of the game, my 2 buddies and I proceed to exit the stadium and head to our car. I'm wearing a Mets Reyes jersey, my buddy's wearing an Phillies Utley jersey. As we're making our way around the stadium, out from the media entry walks Ken Rosenthal, dragging his little pull behind suitcase. Immediately I say, "Rosenthal!" and he smiles and pulls up to walk beside us. We shake hands and we begin talking. The first words out of his mouth, "That wasn't you down the first base line was it?" Haha... that Rosenthal, always very witty. We shared a laugh and a few stories as we walked. It was a cool moment for a fan. So everytime I see him, I think back to that afternoon.

Last night, Rosenthal shows up again - this time in his black overcoat, protected by his overly large black umbrella, and thick black gloves standing in the dugout. He appeared visibly frustrated as he began talking about how the umpires cannot work back to back World Series and how that is a problem. He continued his rant in an article he wrote last night on
"The umpires are less under Selig's control; their collective-bargaining agreement restricts the use of the best umps in the playoffs and World Series. That's right, umpires cannot work in back-to-back postseason series in a single year or in back-to-back World Series.

The latter provision is plainly ridiculous; if the best players can teams can qualify for the World Series two years in a row, why can't the best umpires? When the umpires' CBA expires after next season, Selig should demand a change."
The reason for this, according to Rosenthal, is to promote those umpires that would not otherwise have the opportunity to work in a high profile series. In other words, there's a good chance that the best umpires would be working in the World Series every year which would therefore prevent younger or "not as good" umpires to call games in the Fall Classic. Sounds fair though right?

Hmmm... why does this sounds familiar? Oh yeah! Could this be something along the same lines as this whole "redistribution of wealth" thing?

The proof is in the pudding, and the pudding is the absolute horrible calls during this year's Fall Classic. Let's face it... sometimes what sounds good on paper turns out to be an absolute disaster. Sorry to throw in that little political plug, but think about the brutal calls during this World Series as a potential foreshadowing to what could possibly happen if a certain politician is elected next Tuesday. Rewarding the undeserving sometimes has costly repercussions.

Oh... and Ken, if you're out there... hit me up at

Frosted Flakes

Lost in all the chaos of last night's suspended game, and the unknown of when game 5 will resume was the fact that Kellogg's Frosted Flakes behind the plate was absolutely brutal. His strike zone seemed to changed like the wind, and quite frankly seemed to favor Philly all night long (except the Utley call for a strike on 3-1 with the bases loaded). The biggest winner in the whole thing was Pat Burrell who should have been called out on strikes twice - once in the 1st and once in the 5th. During the 1st inning Shane Victorino would follow with a single to give the Phils their only 2 runs of the game. Those 2 runs would have never crossed the plate if not for a shifting strike zone by Frosted Flakes. Philly fans should be thankful this game is tied at 2, and that they are not losing this game heading to the bottom of the 6th.

Monday, October 27, 2008

What Happens When Replay Goes Wrong?

It seems that officiating recently has gone from bad to worse. From the absolute brutal umpiring in the World Series, to the bad calls that we've seen in both college and the NFL this year, it seems as if the easy answer to fix these errors (pointing the finger my way also) is instant replay. Mike and Mike both agree (gasp... WHAT!?!) that instant replay should be implemented more into baseball and also to create a way to get around the whole no timeout thing in the NFL. Even PFT, which seems to be the "go-to" NFL blog weighs in at the Sporting News with this:
The easy fix is to go back to the old rules. So what if it takes a little extra time to get the call right? Too much is riding on the outcomes of these games to rush the process.

But if saving time still takes precedence over being accurate, why not make replay automatically available on any play when the question is whether a team scored, whether a turnover happened, or whether a first down was achieved? The challenge system can be maintained for all other situations.

At a bare minimum, the league should allow the booth to initiate replays with less than five minutes to go in each half.

But what happens when Replay goes wrong? You'd be amazed, but we've seen it happen many times. For instance, when Al Michaels will say something about how "they won't overturn this", and there's "not enough inconclusive evidence", and you the viewer seem to agree with him, but sure enough the referee emerges from his little review hideout to overturn the call and you wonder what angle he was even looking at. This past weekend, there was another case where the replay booth got it wrong! Over at The Detroit Free Press, Big Ten commish admits an error was made during the Michigan / Michigan State game:
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said the decision by a replay official to award Michigan’s Brandon Minor with a touchdown against Michigan State on Saturday, overruling the on-field referee’s call, was “not acceptable.”
Minor leaped to make a 19-yard catch from Steven Threet and landed out of bounds, causing the on-field referee to rule the play incomplete. The replay official overturned the call, saying Minor’s foot hit the pylon. According to NCAA rules, however, an airborne player that touches a pylon is considered out of bounds.
Will there be punishment?
“I haven’t decided yet, but we may,” he said. “I doubt if we do anything publicly, but there has to be an understanding that we expect on the field and in the booth 100% knowledge of the rules, applying the right rule to the right situation. You might make a mistake in terms of judgment, but I expect our officials to know the rules and apply the right rule to the right situation. We didn’t do that, and that’s not acceptable.”
Well... at least Delany is serious about fixing the problem. And thankfully this blown call did not affect the outcome of the game as Michigan State eventually won the game. But this is a reminder to all that think instant replay will fix the problem, sometimes even the replay guys get the call wrong.

Weekend Bad Calls

In a weekend with a few bad calls - it seems like the World Series (and more specifically Philadelphia) will lead the way in the bad call department. My eyes can only be on so many games, and by going on a retreat and only being able to watch Penn State / Ohio State saturday night and the Eagles/Falcons game on Sunday followed by the Phils win last night - it seems like I was fortunate to catch the games where the umpires/referees were..... awful!

Starting with the Penn State game - I'm not going to get real picky here, because lets face it, we'd prefer the refs keep their hankies in their pockets most of the time rather than littering the field with yellow. Ohio State fans could argue that this was not an evenly called game - I believe there were only 4 calls the whole game but all of them were called on the Buckeyes. However, if you watched the game, you would have noticed that Ohio State was also repeatedly holding the Penn State's defensive end's. Quite frankly, they had no choice, the Penn State D-ends were much quicker than the OSU offensive line. This game would have not been as close as it was if the refs would have even called just a few of the obvious holding calls. Chris Fowler also mentioned this at halftime. Overall though - I thought the officials did a better job of not being overly picky with their calls.

Next - Game 3 of the World Series. Another game, another bad call. Each team has had to suffer through some bad calls, but in this game it went the Rays way and they capatalized on the opportunity. Down 4-1 in the 7th, and needing something to go their way, Carl Crawford sent a dribbler up the first base line. How any pitcher can make this play, much less, "the ageless one" is beyond a miracle. Moyer slides, scoops, and flips the ball to Howard all in one motion and beats Crawford by a half step! Great play right? Not according to first base umpire Tom Hallion. Safe was the call, Crawford would later score and the next inning we had a tie ball game. Thankfully for Hallion and Philly fans - the Phils would have the last laugh and win on a walk off single. Meanwhile, Moyer and Joe Paterno returned back home about the same time.

Jumping over to the NFL, and again we stay in Philadelphia. In yesterday's Falcons/Eagles game, a great game was interrupted with a couple of questionable calls. The first one was a horrible "lets protect the Quarterbacks" call. According to the reading eagle,
"there was little doubt that the officials erred in flagging Trent Cole for roughing the passer in the first quarter. Cole's raised hand hit Matt Ryan on the passing arm as he drove the rookie quarterback to the ground, and did not touch Ryan's helmet."
The AJC chimes in with this - which was probably the worst call of the weekend:
"The officiating crew took away any chance of a Falcons comeback. They ruled that Adam Jennings muffed a punt that the Eagles recovered with 2:22 left in the game and the Falcons trailing by six points. Replays appeared to show that Jennings did not touch the ball. The call effectively ended the game —- the Eagles scored a touchdown two plays later. The Falcons could not challenge the play because they had no timeouts left."

Lastly, the World Series game 4. It didn't take the umpires long to make their first blunder of this game. This time it happened with the Phils batting in the first. With runners on the corners, 1 out and Ryan Howard at the plate, a ball is hit back to the pitcher who mistakenly doesn't start the double play. Instead, he gets Rollins into a rundown and throws to 3rd to get him out. Rollins slide's into 3rd well after the tag of Longoria, but for some reason is called safe. Wasn't even close. Even the Philly announcers on the radio (who are the biggest homer announcers out there) are questioning the call. It was a brutal start to the game for the Rays. Rollins would eventually score, and momentum was on the Phils side the rest of the night.

To sum it up. Dave Brown @ BLS asks this important question:
"But what's with the amateurish umpiring in the series? Controversies in every game, most of them hurting Tampa Bay, and none of them reviewable by Bud Selig's holy grail, instant replay."

I hate to get into the discussion as much as anybody... but at least 2 of the 4 really bad calls could have been prevented by a quick review. I don't think missed 3rd strikes, a hit batsmen, or did he balk will ever be reviewable - but these close plays at the bases need to be reviewable! Do whatever it takes to get it done Bud!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Umpire Blunders - World Series

So far, we've seen some strange calls this world series from our umpires. While I haven't been able to watch every pitch because of other obligations, I have seen and heard enough to know that our favorite men in blue aren't doing enough to stay out of the spotlight.

During last night's game: Kerwin Danley had 2 calls that were clearly missed. The first was the strange strike 3, no maybe not call during Rocco Baldelli's at bat early in the game. Via Dave Pinto at Baseballmusings:

With Navarro at first after a single, Baldelli appears to strike out on a 3-2 pitch. He tried to check his swing, but the pitch looked to me like it caught the outside corner. The home plate ump's (Danley) right hand goes up as if calling a strike, but then points to first for help. The first base ump says no swing, and Baldelli goes to first. Even if it was a check swing, it looked like a strike. A bad and confusing call there.

Danley would not be finished... his 2nd bad call of the night came during the 9th inning with Jimmy Rollins up as the potential tying run. This time a David Price fastball brushed the jersey of Rollins, who heard and felt the ball hit him. He immediately looked at the ump, and even the always observant, watches no baseball during the regular season, Joe Buck noticed the non-call before the replay. Replay's confirmed the ball did in fact hit Rollins, but he was not awarded first base. It turned out to be a big non-call as Rollins would eventually pop out to the shortstop. 3 batters later, the rally and the game was over. Series tied 1-1, and Bud Selig sends Danley his bonus check.

But... could Danley have simply been getting back at the Phils for a missed call during game 1? If you recall, there was an obvious balk that was not called (ok... maybe not obvious), but the missed call prevented what would have been man on 2nd with no outs and down 1 run during the 6th inning for the Rays. With the momentum shift back in the Phils (and Hamels) favor after that play, he would get the next two guys out, inning over.

Even Duk at BLS agreed this was a balk and Carlos Pena should have been awarded 2nd base. This would have put a man in scoring position with no outs and Longeria and Crawford up with a chance to tie the game. One could argue that Hamels didn't give up a hit and therefore Pena would have not scored anyway, but with a momentum shift like that you never know if Cole reacts differently with a man on 2nd no outs, versus nobody on base and 1 out.

In case you were wondering... the first base umpire during game 1: Kerwin Danley

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Update on Tackling Ref via Deadspin gives us this update:

The umpire in question is Wilbur Hackett Jr. and even though every sane observer says it looked intentional when he stepped up, dropped his shoulder, and laid out the scrambling quarterback, the folks in charge (including USC coach Steve Spurrier) say it's no big whoop.
But the SEC office believes Hackett was protecting himself and plans to take no disciplinary action on the veteran official. Rogers Redding, the conference's coordinator of football officials, reviewed the tape of the play and thought it was inadvertent contact.
"Garcia changes his direction just a tad, which ties up the umpire just a tad and makes it look a lot worse than it really was," SEC spokesman Charles Bloom said.
So just a harmless "inadvertent" collision, right? Until you learn that Hackett just so happens to be a former Parade High School All-American and a three-year starter at linebacker for Kentucky in the late '60s. So unless Hackett had some sort of acid flashback to his playing days (or the patrons of a rogue BW-3 franchise called in a hit on Gracia so they could keep eating mini-corn dogs), I still say something fishy is going here. Maybe Garcia said something foul about Zinedene Zidane's sister?

Espn adds this:
When contacted by ESPN's Joe Schad, the Southeastern Conference office said after reviewing the play, it believes the umpire was in appropriate position. A spokesman said the umpire raised his arm to defend himself after a change of direction by the runner.

I just watched that video again, and there's no way that was an accident. Definitely a flashback to the linebacker days. This guy misses playing that's for sure... looks like he's got the right job though to keep him happy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chiefs Upset at Missed Field Goal Call

Read this over at PFT. The AP reported yesterday that the Chiefs were upset that a field goal was called "No Good" after the ball appeared to go directly over the uprights. By rule this play is unreviewable. Here's part of the AP report:

With the Chiefs trailing 10-0 early in the quarter, kicker Nick Novak thought he had curled a 49-field goal inside the left upright. But the officials standing up the goal posts ruled the kick no good, leading to boos from the fans in Arrowhead Stadium and arguments from the Chiefs.

Kansas City coach Herm Edwards threw the red replay flag to dispute the call, but was told by referee Gene Steratore that only field goals crossing below the top of the goal posts are reviewable. Television replays appeared to show the kick curl just inside the upright, but above the top of the post.

As PFT mentions... maybe it's time to raise the bar, and make the uprights stretch higher into the air.

Ref Tackles Player

This is the type of thing you'd expect to see in lower level football, or perhaps more likely the WWE, not a high profile College Football game on National TV. For whatever reason, the ref in this video literally throws a shoulder into the South Carolina quarterback as he scrambles through the middle of the field. Seriously... did he forget what uniform he was wearing. I didn't believe it when I first read about it, but watching this video makes you really scratch your head and wonder what he was thinking:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Runge Suspended 1 Game!


Major League Baseball announced today that Umpire Brian Runge has been suspended for one game for his conduct, which included making contact with Manuel, during the incident. Runge's suspension will be served immediately. Mike Port, Vice President of Umpiring for Major League Baseball, made the announcement.

When I watched the incident the other day, I couldn't believe what I saw. However, isn't this hypocrisy. I know MLB umpires are the officials of the game, so shouldn't they be held to a higher standard than managers? If a manager does that - how many games does he get? 5, 10?

1 game seems like a slap on a wrist... really what he did was beyond comprehension.

Any thoughts?

Umpires Announced for All-Star Game


Derryl Cousins, a regular season Crew Chief in his 30th year of Major League service, will serve as Crew Chief and work behind the plate at the 79th All-Star Game, to be played Tuesday, July 15th at Yankee Stadium.

This will be the third All-Star Game assignment for Cousins, who also worked the Midsummer Classic in 1987 and 1998. Cousins has worked five Division Series, five League Championship Series and three World Series. Cousins will be joined by Ed Rapuano (first base), Tom Hallion (second base), Mark Wegner (third base), Greg Gibson (left field) and Phil Cuzzi (right field). This will be the second All-Star Game for Rapuano (1995) and Hallion (1992) and the first Midsummer Classic for Wegner, Gibson and Cuzzi.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bottom Line

Here's the bottom line in the Lakers / Spurs crazy ending to game 4:

1) Replays showed that Fisher's shot grazed the rim and the shot clock should have been reset

2) Replays showed that Odom's "goaltend" on Parker was a legal block. Odom touched the ball before it hit the rim. (the curious question to this play is why Doug Collins and Marv Albert didn't notice this. I saw this when they first played the replay from sitting on my couch)

3) Replays showed (and the NBA admitted) that a foul should have been called on Fisher on the last play.

Bottom line: All 3 of those calls were during the final minute, 2 during the final 3 seconds. 2 of 3 went the Spurs way, on their home court, and the Lakers still won. I will give the credit to the Spurs for taking the high road - that's a classy organization!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Spurs / Lakers

1st Quarter, Phil Jackson not happy with the officiating. Could it be that the "Conspiracy Theory" about Joey Crawford will actually help the Spurs. My thinking is that Mr. Crawford will not want any questionable calls to go against the Spurs so that no one will be talking about him tomorrow.

Good acting job by Bruce Bowen on the offensive foul called on Jordan Farmer midway through the 2nd quarter. I'd say he took some lessons from Ginobili or Parker, but he didn't fall over and put his thumb in his mouth.

I know nobody likes to get fouls called on them, or calls no go their way, but no one argues and looks "innocent" after every play like Tim Duncan. It doesn't matter what end of the court he's on, he's mastered them all.
"Are you kidding me, I didn't even touch him?!?"
"He was ALL over me!!"
"That was clearly NOT off me"

And then when Tony Parker drives to the lane, gets fouled, makes the shot to put the Spurs down one with a chance to tie... Parker lets out a yell, and goes to high five Tim Duncan, and Duncan face is pointed to the ground, no emotion, no passion.

A lot of "no-calls" tonight... which are good for the game.

(Ed Note: I wrote that line above in the middle of the 3rd quarter)

Spurs down 2, with the ball with 2.1 seconds to go in the game. Brent Barry with an amazing game tonight - will he get a 3 point look, or will Spurs go for the tie since they are at home...

Crowd on feet...

Horry in game too...

Barry shoots... misses! Ah... Of course... there's the conspiracy "no-call" we've been waiting on all night. Yep! Replays show Fisher fouled Barry, question is would it have been 2 or 3 free throws for Barry. Joey Crawford was the official that should have made that call.

On Sportscenter after the game, Tim Legler said:
Brent Barry needed to go through the contact to get the call, since he stopped and bounced backwards - no official would have made that call to end the game.

When asked if it was a good call because of how Barry reacted, Legler said "yes".

I will disagree with Legs though and say that it was a bad call, and Barry should have at least been put on the free throw line for 2, not 3 foul shots.

Legs did say however, that if that is Ginobili or Bryant, they get that call everytime. Since it's Brent Barry, it's no call. That's they way it goes for role players some times.

Phil Jackson response:
Fisher's ball touched the rim with 4 seconds left, and therefore we should have been given the ball with a new shot clocked and the Spurs would have been forced to foul us... but yes, he bumped him

Barry takes the high road in his interview, he says "that's not going to get called" he actually gave Fisher credit for a great play.

Popovich apparently said the no-call was the right call.

As anyone interviewed Tim Duncan yet? Someone ask him if it was a foul or not and see how many faces and reactions they can get out of him.

Bottom line, even though the Spurs made a valiant comeback in the final minute, they did not take advantage of opportunities all night long. They really did not deserve to win this game. This was a lot like game 1, except unlike the Lakers in the opener, the Spurs could not get the steal on their homecourt. Lakers lead 3-1 with game 4 on Thursday night at Staples.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Giambi Called Out For Not Swinging

Jason Giambi was called out tonight on a pitch that was high and inside. The ump thought the ball touched the bat and therefore was a foul tip. Since it was a 2-2 count and the catcher caught the ball, strike 3 was called. There was 1 out in the 9th when this happened. The game was tied at 1. The call was an awful call as replays showed the ball never even came close to the bat. Joe Girardi was thrown out arguing. The Yanks would win the game 2 batters later. Mets fans will say that the reason Yankees came back and won was simply because Girardi was ejected. They may have a point. Willie... start arguing!

Video from can be found here

Instant Replay in MLB by Next Season?

According to Jayson Stark at ESPN, we could possibly see instant replay in Major League Baseball as early as next season:

Major League Baseball is making tentative plans to experiment with instant replay in the Arizona Fall League, according to a baseball official with knowledge of those discussions.

If that experiment proves practical and successful, MLB then is likely to continue the experiment next March during the World Baseball Classic and spring training games.

If no insurmountable problems arise, baseball could begin using replay -- though only to decide home run calls -- as soon as next season.

A top baseball official confirmed to The Associated Press Thursday that he will formulate a proposal for instant replay, although he wouldn't put a timetable on a replay plan.

"The times are such that our fans are used to seeing all the high technology and they're used to seeing the other sports that use these systems to make determinations, and the fans are clamoring for all the sports to look at that," said Jimmie Lee Solomon, the sport's executive vice president for baseball operations.

What is yet to be determined is whether calls would be reviewed by a "replay umpire" in each stadium, as the National Football League does, or in the MLB offices in New York, a system that would more resemble the National Hockey League's.

I think starting with reviewing controversial home run calls is a good start. If you're wondering if calls like bang-bang plays at any base or home plate will ever be reviewed, my guess is no, or at least not in the near future. However, starting with reviewing possible home-run calls is a good start and could lead to future instant replay opportunities.

Another Case for Instant Replay in Baseball...


The three-time [A-Rod] MVP connected off Garrett Olson (3-1) to start the third, then hit another ball over the wall in the sixth that was incorrectly called an RBI double.

It was the latest in a string of home run calls that have been blown by big league umpires lately, including one at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night. That's left some calling for instant replay in baseball.

This ruling didn't end up costing the Yankees, it just left A-Rod flipping his helmet at second base and shaking his head in disbelief.

"We made a mistake," second base umpire and crew chief Tim Welke said after seeing the television replay. "We want to be perfect. We weren't perfect tonight."

Instant replay in baseball? I won't believe it until I see it. In the meantime, we'll have to put up with it... which really sucks everytime a play goes the wrong way.

To remind you of what Jayson Stark says about Replay... here's what he said in a chat a few weeks back:

THE CASE FOR: Sheez, shouldn't this sport be embarrassed to get calls that basic so wrong? It would have taken those umpires less time to watch the replay than it took for them to huddle, then STILL get it wrong and then have to stand around listening to Phillies manager Charlie Manuel rant and rave about it.

THE CASE AGAINST: Bud Selig says he wouldn't want to do anything to tarnish the sacred ''human element'' that has prevailed in the umpiring business since long before replay machines, and even light bulbs, were invented. So ostensibly, introducing technology would destroy the ''charm'' of the game. Or something like that.

THE VERDICT: You've got to be kidding. As the reader who inspired this debate, Brian of Philadephia, points out, it's the 21st century. So it's about time baseball charged into the 20th century and turned on those replay monitors. Tell Bud Selig I'm 100 percent in favor of humans. But I'm more in favor of getting calls right -- especially calls like this one, which will hang over two division races all year.

Spurs/Lakers Roundup

This picture is from Deadspin... classic! One thing we know if that his wife knows he's ok. She's screaming from the crowd, "It's ok - he's faking it!"

As for the game, I only was able to watch about the last 8 minutes on the game (caught most of the 3rd on the radio) didn't seem like there were too many bad calls until the final minute. The refs totally missed a Pau Gasol foul or at least knocking the ball out of bounds play on Tim Duncan under the Lakers basket, but they quickly redeemed themselves by totally missing Manu Ginobbli shoving Pau Gasol out of the way, then knocking the ball out of bounds himself. By giving the Spurs the ball there, the refs completely took away any "excuses" Spurs fans could have made about the final minute. Unless of course they didn't like the fact that Kobe treated Bruce Bowen like he was Bryon Russell in 1998 but that's the advantages that MVP's have late in the game. On ESPN afterwards, Jamal Mashburn was asked if this game was in San Antonio, would that have been called a foul. Mashburn said no, all great players can get away with that. If I recall - the Jordan play was in Utah, so Mash has a point. With that basket and Ginobbli badly missing a 3 attempt on the other end, Lakers fans everywhere could breath a sigh of relief. Spurs fans may think the 2nd half was a dream, and I think they are still sleeping. If you go to, there is no game recap, and you can still vote for "Spurs in 4". I just voted and noticed that 3 other people are with me. Think it will come true?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

This Just Keeps Getting Better

From the Boston Herald this morning comes this regarding the absolutely crazy Tim Donaghy Case:
Attorney John F. Lauro ripped into the feds for giving Donaghy’s gambling associates a slap on the wrist, while Donaghy – who ratted them out - is facing a heftier sentence.

Lauro also said Donaghy provided investigators with information about another NBA referee who secretly passed confidential information to a coach, and about other circumstances that affected the outcome of games and "prevented games from being played on a level playing field."

Oh boy... now we have to speculate on what referee that is. Did Donaghy give them a name? If so, when do find that out?

As for Donaghy - the story of how he got started in this is not a pretty one:

Lauro said Battista called Donaghy in 1994 during his first year as an NBA referee and asked whether he was going to be "up and up," which Donaghy interpreted to mean whether he would use his position to help Battista gamble. Donaghy, according to his attorney, rejected the offer and said he would contact the authorities if Battista called again.

But a few years ago, Donaghy began betting heavily on professional sports with Norwood insurance salesman Jack Concannon through local bookie Pete Ruggieri, Lauro wrote.

Eventually, they began gambling on games that Donaghy officiated. Concannon, a former Monsignor Bonner basketball star and former coach of the Friars, was interviewed by the FBI last year, but he will not be charged, his attorney, Joseph Fioravanti, said Monday.

Ruggieri’s attorney could not be reached Monday.

According to the account Lauro provided, Battista muscled his way into the action in late 2006 by threatening to report Donaghy to the NBA if the referee did not help him select bets.

"Battista also threatened Tim’s family, stating that Tim would not want people from New York (Mafia figures) visiting his wife and kids," Lauro wrote.

Battista and his lawyers of course refute those allagations:

Battista’s attorney, Jack McMahon Jr., Monday dismissed that as "ridiculous."

"That Battista threatened Donaghy and his family in any way is all fantasy land. He didn’t have to threaten Donaghy to gamble," McMahon said. "Donaghy was ready, willing and able to gamble. He’s a gambling addict. He said so himself. He’s been running around with this ‘Poor me’ attitude, while all it was was greed, greed, greed."

As for how the betting controlled the outcome of games. Well, the folks over at have done some research, the results are mind-blowing:

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Goldberg said in a letter filed Friday in Brooklyn Federal Court that former NBA referee Tim Donaghy bet on about 14 games that he personally officiated during the 2006-07 season.

Compare that admission to the following fact: The first 15 games of the 2006-07 refereed by Tim Donaghy that had big enough betting to move the point spread by at least 1.5 points were UNDEFEATED against Las Vegas meaning that the big money gamblers won a 15 of 15 times on his games. The odds of that happening randomly are 32,768 to 1 said RJ Bell of

Tim Donaghy officiating style statistically changed during the 2005/06 and 06/07 seasons. During the two years prior (i.e., 03/04 and 04/05) he called significantly less fouls than the average NBA referee (his games scored more than Las Vegas expected only 44% of the time). During his last two seasons he called significantly more fouls than average (his games scored more than Las Vegas expected 57% of the time). The odds of this change happening randomly are approximately 19 to 1.

Keep in mind that a single call can affect the outcome of a pro basketball game. During the 06/07 season alone, 13 games refereed by Tim Donaghy fell within A SINGLE POINT of the Las Vegas point spread. In his final two seasons as a referee, the winner of 14 NBA games refereed by Donaghy was decided by a single bucket or less.

RJ Bell of said: "Over 50 BILLION dollars is gambled on the NBA each season. If not a single call was affected by Donaghy's bets, then we have the whole story. But if calls were affected, the true story is one of game-fixing, and thus much bigger."

I can't imagine David Stern is too happy right about now, but at the same time, considering the Lakers/Spurs & Pistons/Celtics are playing in the conference finals, that should bid well for the NBA. But do the think there is a little pressure now on ALL NBA refs to make the right calls during the next 2 rounds? Wow, I'd hate to be one of those guys.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Donaghy Bet on at least 100 of His Own Games

According to the AP:

Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy bet on about 14 games he officiated in the 2006-07 season, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Goldberg said in a letter filed Friday in Brooklyn Federal Court.

"In the Spring of 2003, Donaghy provided picks for games he refereed on only 2-3 occasions," Goldberg wrote. "Over the next three full seasons (2003-2004, 2004-2005, and 2005-2006), however, Donaghy bet on numerous games that he worked.

"The government's investigation revealed that Donaghy provided picks for anywhere from 30 to 40 such games for each of those three seasons. During the 2006-2007 season (the time period charged in the information), Donaghy bet on approximately 30 games, including about 14 games that he refereed."

Donaghy pleaded guilty last year to charges he conspired to engage in wire fraud and transmitted betting information through interstate commerce. The referee said he made NBA bets for four years, even wagering on games he worked. He also admitted recommending bets to high-stakes gamblers and collecting $5,000 if his picks hit.

Donaghy is scheduled to be sentenced May 22. By law, he faces up to 25 years in prison, though the term could be much lower under sentencing guidelines.

It'd be nice if someone could research the games Donaghy ref'd during those seasons. Maybe later I can look into it, no time right now since I actually have to work at a real job. I'm curious to know if any of these games were playoff games / high profile games, or were they Hawks vs Clippers type games, games that no one would really notice any questionable calls.

What I would also like to know, and I realize this is really none of the "fans" business, but I'm curious if David Stern and Co. have implemented some sort of background check system to review the officials that are currently calling the basketball games. This should be more than just a one time check also - would need to be on-going. In the game of basketball there are so many judgement calls that can go either way, that it really would be very easy for an NBA official to make calls one way and get away with it. I have to believe that a system like this is already in place, it'd be reassuring to hear Stern discuss it in detail espcially in the wake of the Donaghy scandel.

On the flip side, I do want to give credit to Stern and Co. for tracking down Donaghy and weeding him out. That shows that there is at least some investigating going on. Question is... Are there more guys out there getting away with it?

Bottom line: May 22 is sentencing day for Donaghy, but unfortunately for fans, there will be many that scream "conspiracy" for all bad calls in the future - especially high profile, game changing, playoff calls. It's unfortunate, but at least for a while, partially justified.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Night Umps Blow HR Call

The umpires in tonight's Sunday Night game on ESPN have just really blown a home run call that Carlos Delgado hit. Mike Reilly is the 3rd base ump who originally called it a homerun. Replays showed the ball hit the foul pole, but after the umps got together and talked about it, they ruled the ball was foul. Upon further review, the fan that caught the ball showed evidence that the ball was marked with black spots off where it hit the pole. The pole also had a mark on it. I know umpires can't go look at video evidence, but I have a question... can they look at the pole, and ball to see if there are matching marks?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Homecourt Advantage Help Pistons Win Game 1

During tonight's game, the Orlando Magic were beating the Detroit Pistons and had all the momentum after drilling 7 3-pointers in the 3rd quarter to take a 2 point lead. However, with 5.1 seconds remaining in the 3rd, the Pistons raced the ball up the court, eventually passed it to Chauncey Billups, who took the shot and drained a 3 - but it wasn't a buzzer beater. The problem? No buzzer! There was still 4.1 seconds on the clock. The clock had actually stopped during the play and now refs had a decision to make. They circled up and talked it over, and after a lengthy discussion, they counted the basket and added .5 seconds back on the clock. Pistons were up 2 instead of down 1, not to mention, now they had the momentum heading into the 4th. They would go on to win the game by 7 even though it was a lot closer, the Magic had a chance to tie or take the lead with under a minute to play. Stan Van Gundy was letting 4 letter words fly, and can you blame him... TNT showed a replay, and a clock they added in the lower left hand corner verified it took around 5.2 or 5.3 seconds for the Pistons to get that shot off, which means it should not have counted.

First of all... I was counting in my head before TNT added the clock, and I kept coming up with right around 5 - I would have said no basket, too close to call. Especially since it was at home, and it was their mistake. Likewise if the game was in Orlando, and that happened - count the basket. I say punish the team whose clock operator makes the mistake. I know that's probably not in the rulebook, but there's gotta be a better way than to just count in your head and decide to put .5 seconds back on the clock. I mean... break out a stopwatch if you need to!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Controversial Call Help The Cavs Win In Philly

Tonight in Philly... As time expired, the 76ers celebrated and left the court as they thought they had just beat the Cavs by 1 point. However, the refs went to the booth and reviewed the play to see if there was time on the clock when a foul was committed. From

The Sixers appeared to have won after Lou Williams hit a fadeaway jumper with 5.1 seconds left - his second go-ahead basket in the final minute.

Instead, Brown was fouled by Samuel Dalembert with only a couple of ticks left. The Sixers thought the game was over and ran off the court, while the refs huddled at midcourt to look at the replay. The Cavaliers stayed on the bench, with some peeking over and hoping to hear the decision.

After the play was reviewed for a few minutes, Dalembert was hit with his sixth foul. The Sixers had to come back and watch Brown stun them for the controversial win.

Via Sixers Journal:

That game was over ... The ref waived his arms and the the game was over. How in the heck can you go back to a replay to determine if they called a foul. On the post game show they defended the ref for making a foul call with 0.2 second left on the clock. I don't care! You don't make that kind of frickin' call at the end of a game.

That was to most bush league thing I have ever witnessed!
I could not stop screaming at my television set! Mo Cheeks and the Sixers took the high road. The refs made a call and they move on. The 76ers lose 91-90 to the LeBrons and are now locked into the 7th playoff seed and a match-up with the Detroit Pistons.

Now listen, I'm all for instant replay in sports. But I think what happened tonight in Philly is going a little overboard. I'm sure the Cavs are happy but if I'm a Sixers fan tonight - I'm pretty bitter with how this game ended.

That's two days in a row where the city of Philly was shafted by a controversial call. No wonder they're so miserable.

Update: After watching the highlights of this game, I now know the refs were not reviewing to see if there was a foul - they were reviewing the video to see if there was still time on the clock when a foul was called. The thing is, there was a foul before the clock showed all zero's, and the refs went to video evidence to see if it was called before or after the final buzzer. Dalembert knew he committed a foul - you could see it in his body language. The end result is that the Sixers feel they got screwed, but it's just bad luck. Who knows... with the playoffs right around the corner, maybe they can use this as something to rally around, and who knows... pull a first round upset of the Pistons.

Jayson Stark Discusses Instant Replay

I'm feeling sick today, so rather than read and disect - I'm just going to copy / paste the whole thing. This is taken from "That's Debatable", a chat with Jayson Stark:

Major League Baseball needs to allow for the review of controversial calls made by umpires. It's the 21st century. There's this new thing called instant replay that could help them review the calls that the umps messed up.

Jayson Stark: The Cubs' Mark DeRosa hit a baseball Sunday that curled around the wrong side of the foul pole. Every occupant of this planet who saw the replay knows that.

The bad news for the team he hit it against, the Phillies, is that the umpire who called that ball fair, Adrian Johnson, wasn't among the earthlings who got to look at that replay.

So is it time for baseball to point its umpires toward the nearest replay machine? Let that debate begin.

THE CASE FOR: Sheez, shouldn't this sport be embarrassed to get calls that basic so wrong? It would have taken those umpires less time to watch the replay than it took for them to huddle, then STILL get it wrong and then have to stand around listening to Phillies manager Charlie Manuel rant and rave about it.

THE CASE AGAINST: Bud Selig says he wouldn't want to do anything to tarnish the sacred ''human element'' that has prevailed in the umpiring business since long before replay machines, and even light bulbs, were invented. So ostensibly, introducing technology would destroy the ''charm'' of the game. Or something like that.

THE VERDICT: You've got to be kidding. As the reader who inspired this debate, Brian of Philadephia, points out, it's the 21st century. So it's about time baseball charged into the 20th century and turned on those replay monitors. Tell Bud Selig I'm 100 percent in favor of humans. But I'm more in favor of getting calls right -- especially calls like this one, which will hang over two division races all year.

Nevertheless, feel free to disagree. That's what ''That's Debatable'' is all about.

Umps Blow HR Call in Phillies/Cubs Game


DeRosa got a home run that wasn't. In the sixth, he lined the ball to left and it definitely cleared the fence. The question was whether it was fair. The fans in the left-field corner at Citizens Bank Park thought the ball went outside the foul pole as did Phillies left fielder Pat Burrell, third baseman Pedro Feliz and manager Charlie Manuel. Manuel argued the longest, and was ejected.

Even Lou Pinella couldn't believe it...

"I thought it was fair," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "You're asking the wrong guy. It looked fair to me. All I needed was to see the umpire's finger pointing. That was enough for me."

Piniella then asked the media what the television replay showed. The ball looked foul.

"It was foul? You mean, the umpires were wrong?" said Piniella, sarcastically. "It looked fair to me. It really, really did. I thought it had hooked around the pole.

"The umpire was in a really good position to call the play," Piniella said. "Obviously, so was Charlie Manuel. When Charlie gets mad, he doesn't look mad. I get a kick out of that -- not that Charlie got kicked out."

Instant Replay anyone? At least on HR calls?? Can you imagine if this is a playoff game?

... Just saying

Phils went on to lose 6-5 in 10 innings.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tim Donaghy Update...

In case you were wondering...

Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy's sentencing has been delayed again, pushed to May 30, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Donaghy, 41, has been free on $250,000 bond. He resigned as an NBA referee on July 9.

He faces up to 25 years in prison and up to a $500,000 fine.

Mets Win... But Was Reyes Safe

First... from a Mets fan.

…on the final play of the game, reyes may actually have been out, but, wow, it was close…it was a bang-bang play…the umpire was between reyes and the backstop, with the catcher on the other side, so if he did tag reyes on the back – before touching home – then the ump would not have known anyway…nevertheless, he was called safe, so he was safe…

Next... from a Phillies fan. Bugs&

It’s like 12:45 here in Philly. I’m pretty much exhausted from watching the (incredible) 12 inning marathon that was the Phils/Mets game, so I’m going to spare you the whiney, “That was BULLS**T!” rhetoric. Instead, I’m just posting a few pictures from the overhead camera on SNY and let the screen shots speak for themselves. I’ll let you decide whether or not this should’ve been the third out in the bottom of the twelfth.

btw, the tag had already been applied by the first picture. Reyes misses the plate completely with his right hand, and finally stutters in with his left hand a full second after Coste tagged him out.

Ahhh nevermind, I can’t help myself — That was BULLS**T!

And finally... a non biased opinion. Sporting

Jayson Werth's strong throw home made it a surprisingly close play on the speedy Reyes, who slid around catcher Chris Coste and appeared to touch the plate with his left hand just before Coste applied the tag.

Plate umpire Ted Barrett immediately signaled safe, and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel popped out of the dugout for a brief argument as the Mets celebrated nearby.

"Safe, yes," Reyes said. "He hit the ball hard and they were playing kind of shallow. He made a perfect throw. It made the play closer than I thought."

After watching the replay, the Phillies disagreed with the call.

"The guy was out," Manuel said. "He didn't make it. Maybe Ted wanted to go home. He told me he got there first. Maybe he ought to go look at it."

Funny how Charlie Manuel refers to Jose Reyes (an All-Star) as "The guy".

To sum it up - Ted Barrett, the homeplate ump, appeared to be out of position. Whether or not it was the correct call could be argued for days. Regardless, it's a break for the Mets, which is something they haven't gotten a lot of when playing the Phils lately. Phillies fans seem to have forgetten about this play - a very controversial play that ended a game last year. All in all, the calls eventually even themselves out. It is frustrating as a fan though to have to deal with those calls when they go against your team.

These two teams will resume battle next Friday. Santana is scheduled to be on the mound for the Mets and if the Phils pitchers are on the same schedule, it will be Hamels for the home team. Should be a great matchup! Hopefully both teams are at full strength and there are no excuses to be made by the winners or the losers at the end.

I will be at the 1st two games... wearing this jersey :)


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Playoff Hockey is Here...

Now Hockey is exciting. I didn't get to watch it, because it wasn't on TV. (Why? I wish I knew)... but the game of the night last night was clearly the Avalanche at the Wild. While the Avs won the game in OT, Avs fans still feel the need to complain about the officiating. Via milehighhockey:

Let's be honest here. Officiating is a tough job, and mistakes are bound to be made. Complaining about bad calls as an excuse for why your team won/lost/died on the ice is never worth the effort, and indicative of a weak constitution. But, all that said, the officials last night were so unbelievably biased it defies belief. Brent Burns took run after run at Peter Forsberg, Jose Theodore took a blatant knee to the head, and Mikko Koivu decided to cuddle with Theo for a good ten seconds after being pushed on top of him during the second period. The refs called none of it. In the first period, Andrew Brunette put a legal, standing hit on Eric Belanger and he got called for boarding. Belanger didn't even fall down. It was ridiculous all night long.

But, like I said, complaining about the refs is like complaining about the weather. What difference will it make?

Game 2 is Friday night. It will probably not be on TV too.

Monday, April 7, 2008

"F" - Bombs

Kobe Bryant, who is one technical foul away from receiving a free day off, has come up with a new routine to avoid those pesky T's. Via

Bryant has held his tongue, walked the other way or used another, more confusing means to voice his frustrations to officials. “I just cuss them out really bad in Serbian,” Bryant joked.

Bryant said he has learned how to swear in the native languages of teammates Vladimir Radmanovic (Serbia), Sasha Vujacic (Slovenia) and Ronny Turiaf (France). “I’ve been cursing in French. French is really cool, because everything sounds good in French.” . .

This technique, however, could come back to haunt him during this summers Olympic games...

Speaking of F-Bomb's... during last nights ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Game, Jeff Kellogg was the home plate umpire - when all of a sudden a fast ball whacked him straight in the middle of his forehead. Thankfully he was wearing his mask, but that didn't stop him for letting us all know how he felt about it. Head over to AwfulAnnouncing to check out the video clip.

And finally... anyone that watched Saturday's FOX telecast of Mets vs Braves saw a horrible call which resulted in a 10 minute delay. Mets had the bases loaded with 1 out when Braves centerfielder Mark Kotsay trapped a ball hit off the bat of Jose Reyes. The trap was ruled a catch and Kotsay threw to the cut off man, who then threw to 2nd base to double off Angel Pagan who was already rounding 3rd once he saw the ball hit the ground. The Mets erupted, and Willie came out to argue. The umps got together - eventually got the call right and ordered the Braves back onto the field. This of course didn't please Bobby Cox who then began arguing. I don't recall if it was on this play or a pitch a few innings later, but Fox had the camera on Cox in the dugout when he began unleashing about 4 or 5 F-Bombs. There was no mic, but there was also no doubt about what was coming out of his mouth.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Stu Jackson Speaks Out On Blown Call In Lakers / Warriors Game

Via fanhouse and latimes:

Many, especially Warriors fans, thought if there was a foul at all, it was committed by Fisher. Stu Jackson, the NBA's executive vice president of basketball operations, agreed.

"We did review," Jackson said Tuesday. "The call was incorrect. After looking at the play, the foul was on Fisher and not Ellis. It appeared that Fisher pulled Ellis down."

Jackson said the league informed the Warriors of its analysis. Delaney was also informed, though Jackson kept the discussions with the respected referee confidential.

In other news, Kobe Bryant just picked up another technical when he called Stu Jackson to argue the comment.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Officials Love LA!

Well... the Bruins aren't the only team in LA getting all the calls. Warrior fans are not at all happy at what happened in Overtime of last night's loss against the Lakers:

4 Seconds Left: Inbound pass set in Faker territory. This is it. The last play of the game. Nellie’s timeout prepped the team to tie it or shoot a 3 for the win. As the whistle blew and the players wrestled for position … the unthinkable happened. Fisher fell to the ground grabbing Monta with him, and the ref Delaney, blew the whistle calling an offensive foul.

This was the 2nd call during the 2 day mini-series where Fisher had a call go his way, well... the other was a no-call when there should have been a foul called. At the end of the 3rd quarter of Sunday night's game - The Warriors threw a full court pass to Stephen Jackson who had gotten behind the defense... his intent was to catch and shoot in one motion - but Fisher fouled him knocking the ball loose... however, no call was made. I was listening to both games on the Lakers radio broadcasts, and both of these calls were questioned and criticized by the LAKERS ANNOUNCERS! Now Spiro Didas, (sp?)is a great announcer who's very unbiased, but Michael Thompson tends to be very pro-Laker, pro-Kobe, and EVEN HE questioned these calls.

Going back to UCLA for a second, over at TBL, they are trying to figure out why UCLA is getting all the calls this year - Sunday's no call takes the total to now 3 HUGE calls at the end of games that could have gone either way - but went their way... their possible explainations:

Is this the 100th year of UCLA basketball? Is the NCAA trying to get a final one for ailing John Wooden? Or is karma at play here, for the Bruins having lost the last two years in the Final Four to the eventual champion Florida Gators?

Monday, March 24, 2008

UCLA Benefits From Another No Call

So... UCLA is up by 2 with Texas A&M attempting to tie the game in the closing seconds of Saturday Night's game. The shot was blocked and UCLA raced down the court, dunked the ball as time expired. Game over, all is well in Bruin Country. Take a look at this picture and decide for yourself whether or not it was a clean block...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

WVU vs Duke

First half all the calls were going Duke's way. Things have evened out in the 2nd half.

I'm watching this game with a West Virginia student. To say he's pretty excited right now with the 'neers up 10 with 5:07 to go is an understatement. When the camera just showed Ed Hightower (head official) WVA fan shouts "I hate Ed Hightower!"

I'd say it's safe to say this game is over. Great 2nd Half for WVU! Mountaineers are heading to Phoenix to play either Xavier or Purdue. Winner most likely gets UCLA for a chance of making it to the final 4.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

AFL Officials To Wear Helmets

Arena Football League commissioner David Baker was on ESPN First Take this morning. Baker was promoting the AFL which kicks off this weekend. (Can you tell I'm excited?!?) Regardless of my excitement level, the AFL does seem to get more and more popular each year. After all... Americans crave football! Commissioner Baker did mention one thing this morning I found interesting: AFL officials will be wearing helmets this year. He said they would be designed to look something like a bike helmet or a baseball helmet. He also said they talked to many NFL officials about this, and there is a chance that the NFL could be implementing something like this in the near future. It really doesn't seem that far fetched especially considering the fact that John Clayton mentioned the possibility of umpires wearing helmets before the 2007 season even started. It will be interesting to see what they look like, and if the NFL decides to follow suit.