Monday, October 27, 2008

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!

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