Friday, January 21, 2011

Blogger Recommendation

Just wanted to take a moment to recommend the blog of a good friend and writer who has returned to regular blogging recently. His most recent post is a rumination on the subject of fouls called late in basketball games.

Fouls are not like human beings. They are not all created equal. Sometimes an official can, and will, allow certain things to go at Point A in a game, but call it at Point B. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If a referee is going to send a player to the free throw line, or wipe a basket off the board, and that’s possibly going to be a major deciding factor in a game, he’d better make darn sure it’s a blatant violation.
If you don't care about basketball, don't worry. He covers other topics as well. Check him out.


Dan said...

That's one of the reason that basketball is the ice dancing of professional sports. An umpire calls a strike a strike in the 9th inning, just as he does in the 1st. There's no sudden shift to a "darn sure" standard late in the game, and there shouldn't be.

Jim said...

I'm afraid your analogy is bad since baseball is really the least analogous to the other American sports. The isolation of pitcher, batter, and umpire actually mean that the umpire is one of the most important parts of baseball. Instead, compare it to football. Do you think football officials don't or shouldn't "swallow their whistles" a bit to ensure they don't decide the game on a pass interference or holding call?

Dan said...

Good point on the baseball analogy, but the ice dancing one still stands. When referees, whether in football, baseball, soccer, or any real sport, change the game's rules, they are deciding the game. If I charge on a final-second lay-up, and the referee fails to call it, s/he is deciding the game in my favor. Worse, s/he is abandoning the rules of the game.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the love, Jim. I appreciate it.

Dan, I watched a lot of baseball in my days as a small-town sports editor and saw plenty of situationally-squeezed (or expanded) strike zones. I don't know that there are any team sports immune to it. Right or wrong, it happens. A lot. So if there is ever a tightening or loosening of rules enforcement in a game, I think it should err towards the side of the officials staying out of it.

Plus there's just typical human error involved. Some officials - whether they'd admit it or not - go through phases of itchy trigger fingers and swallowed whistles during the same game.

In a perfect world, though? Yeah, I'd agree that abandoning rules is a form of deciding the game.


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