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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"I'm Not Gonna Sit Here and Rip Umpires..."


Celtics fans? Pissed. Red Sox fans? Pumped. So it goes when dealing with the mercurial nature of the professional referee...


It's funny. Most of the people I really respect in the sports-journalism industry will answer you very quickly in telling you that the NBA referees are the best officials in all of pro sports. I couldn't disagree more, but I've learned to move on. Now, in the wake of the 4 less than text book technical fouls having been called against the Boston Celtics in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, both local and National pundits alike are asking if it's too much to ask for these allegedly highly respectable refs to be held directly accountable for their actions. IE, should they be giving post game press conferences to explain themselves much like the league demands of its coaches and players?

For me, it's an easy two pronged answer, and one that I've been peddling in these parts for the better part of the last decade. First, all officials, in all sports should be graded by an independent firm, agreed upon by the officials themselves and the league they represent, and their performance will directly determine how much they make. That way, the better officials get more work and more money. Just like the best players. And the crappy umpires get kicked to the curb. Just like the scrubs...
I'm smirking because I know I'm smarter than you are,
and I'm never going to tell you what you want to hear.

Secondly, you don't allow these guys anywhere near a microphone at the end of these games. That's what most of these guys want, to be in front of the camera, so don't give it to 'em. All they need is a spokesman. A PR arm of their organization that answers all questions in a very Bill Belichick, "it is what it is", type manner, and hands out any necessary punishment. If he has to suspend someone for something blatant that they did? So be it, but otherwise it will just be a bunch of the representative saying "we're investigating the call" and "we'll deal with the results of our investigation appropriately". "Appropriately", in this case, being a mark on that particular refs resume that may or may not result in him being ineligible and/or undesired. It will all be made public, but only as public as it needs to be. Only public to the point where we as fans know that something was wrong, and what was done to correct any errors that were made. No need to drag names through the mud, we as fans and media members will take care of that, just make it clear that there is someone holding these guys up to a reasonable set of standards on proactive basis...

That's the best way to go about it. Graded pay scale, and an official PR firm that handles all the questions from the media. It heightens the level of accountability, but it doesn't allow those blowhards anywhere near a microphone. I'll admit, it's still a far from perfect system, but it seems like a reasonable step that can lead to a vastly increased level of competency and again, accountability...

Dear God, Mike Miller. Somebody get that man a mirror.
Unfortunately, for Celtics fans, they didn't lose because of the inept officials. They lost because they looked slow, gave up 90 points, and missed nearly half of their free throw attempts. But hey, at least their fans moaning and complaining wouldn't go to complete waste if it resulted in some wide sweeping changes...

PS - It won't. And even if it did, the NBA would definitely be the last league to get on board. They're too busy rigging lottery balls and getting their players to not dress as if they were just about to go hold up a Gas N Gulp in hopes of obtaining enough cheddar to start a juicy dice game...

"I got 62 cartons of Mard Reds says he caught that ball! Never you mind where I
got 62 cartons. That's my business!"
On the other end of the Boston pleasure spectrum, the umpires aided the Red Sox in their win on Monday by blowing what should have been a 3rd strike and a 3rd out, but resulted in a 2 out, run run rally. IT's that call, and his subsequent ejection, that led Tigers manager, Jim Leyland, to go on the rant that provided the quote at the top of this post. He too is looking for accountability from the officials in his sport, and thought he'd be able to get his message across, and still avoid a fine, by encouraging reporters to call out the umpires instead of actually calling them out himself. I doubt he'll avoid a fine, no matter how clever he thought he was (not at all), but the fact that he's asking for accountability definitely helps beef up this trend. A trend that seems to have the general battle cry of, it's no longer OK for the officials to be the only people involved in the game that never have to explain their actions..

They're human beings, they make mistakes. We get it. Matter of fact, those mistakes are what a lot of us secretly love about sports. And nobody is asking them to be perfect, they just need to be held to the same standards as everyone else. It shouldn't change too much (well, a lot of NBA refs would probably be fired immediately for poor performance), but at the very least it would give the fans a clearer idea of what they're seeing and why certain decisions were made. Transparency. Accountability. If you have nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed of? Then why the F not? Otherwise, I'm going to prudently assume that you have something to hide, and something to be ashamed of...

By "typewriter", I obviously mean toaster.
And oh yeah, just make sure you keep them away from the podium. So help me God, if I see notoriously arrogant MLB umpire "Cowboy" Joe West giving a presser, I might just disconnect from society and spend the rest of my sanity-free life shacked up in the woods blogging my frustrations LIVE 24/7 from a broken typewriter that I have elegantly tied to wot a pair of empty tin cans. Picture, reclusive Howard Hughes meets Joe Dirt from when Joe slept inside the house being bombed with pesticides. Yeah, it won't be pretty. Hilarious, yes. Worthy of a strait to DVD movie script? Yes. But pretty? Absolutely not...

At least notoriously shitty NCAA basketball ref, Tim Higgins, announced his retirement this week. That should keep me off the ledge for at least a week or two. You know, should Joe West show up on my TV wearing a cowboy hat and talking about how great a game he called...


Have a good week, friends. I hear it's Summer, so get out there and enjoy it...


Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

I want Leyland as coach of the Sox so bad..could probably pay him in cigs too. Imagine a jim leyland day at Fenway Park where fans were encouraged to bring and smoke a pack of butts over the course of a 9 inning game..Now, That my friend is America's Past time. Maybe if Leyland was allowed to smoke butts at the post game press conference he wouldn't have flipped out. Let the man be himself

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