Posted on: May 30, 2009 7:57 pm

Sans "bad" officials, what would we talk about?

The puck is soon to drop on the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings, two teams with passionate fan bases, are about to face off in a repeat of last year's Cup Finals. Question is, how long will it take for the first fan on one side or the other to accuse the referees of making a poor call, particularly if it is one that happens at a critical point in the game or one that potentially affects the outcome of a game?

It will not be the first time this happens across all the major sports we watch. Every week of the NFL season, there is a catalog of threads specifically about bad calls in games. This year, in the NBA playoffs, we have been treated to a veritable ongoing litany of threads about officiating, or the lack thereof, in these series. The accusations in the NBA seem to get more outrageous as the playoffs go on, even to the point where a player on one team in a series accused their opponent of "buying" a win in the series. Talk about sour grapes.

That brings us to the question: Without poor officiating, what would we have to talk about? I have been guilty in the past of participating in some of these discussions, particularly regarding the NFL and the NHL. I don't watch much NBA play, but I have been intrigued to follow all the folderol about the officiating during the playloffs this year. As anyone who spends even a short amount of time as a Community member knows, this place abounds with any number of threads about poor officiating, how calls have affected the outcome of games, a player's individual stats, etc. In fact, some Community members at times appear to make a hobby out of complaining about officiating in the sport(s) they follow.

The one sport that appears to be exempt from as high a level of criticism is Major League Baseball. That is not to say that poor calls don't happen in baseball. It's just that the season is 162 games long, and fans, I think, a have a tendency to forget about a lot of bad calls as the season rolls on. Bad calls that occur in the playoffs are mostly few and far between for MLB. In the NBA and NHL, teams play about half as many games during a season, and the NFL has the shortest season of them all. NFL fans can zero in on officiating quicker than almost anybody.

So, if you follow a particular sport, what would be your solution(s) to poor officiating? Better training? Full-time officials? Closer league scrutiny of officials? I likely will come back with my take(s) after seeing a few responses. I hope we can have a constructive conversation about something that can be quite bothersome and distract fans from quality play in four wonderful professionals sports.
Category: General
Posted on: May 6, 2009 12:56 pm

NFL: Brett Favre is a joke, and a bad one at that

Here is a man who seems bound and determined to wear out any welcome he may have in the future among professional football fans and to consume any and all good will he may have been able to stockpile within the last two years.

Seems harsh to say, but right now, Brett Favre needs to worry less about finding another team for which to ply his trade and worry more about rehabilitating any reputation he may have left.

I used to be a fan, but that has pretty much ended. When Favre goes into the Hall of Fame, and he will, of course, he will now have to suffer the righteous slings and arrows of those who, like me, have seen enough of him and may feel the need to heckle him once he gets there.

Of course, he has to stay retired for more than six months before he can get to the Hall! Bets on if he'll be able to do it?

Category: NFL
Tags: Brett Favre, NFL
Posted on: March 20, 2009 7:24 pm
Edited on: March 20, 2009 7:29 pm

Of the #4 seeds, Xavier got hosed!

I posted on a thread earlier this week about Xavier's matchup against Portland State. It's going to be a good game, set to tip shortly. But, the more I think about it, the more I believe that, among the #4 seeds in this year's tournament, Xavier got hosed by the Committee.

#4 Washington travels to Portland, Oregon. #4 Gonzaga travels to Portland, Oregon. #4 Wake Forest travels to Miami, Florida. #4 Xavier travels to . . . Boise, Idaho??? Boise flippin' Idaho?? This is virtually a home game for Portland State. What advantage does playing there give Xavier, while all the other #4 seeds get easy travel?

What's wrong with this picture? And why was Xavier singled out for such shabby treatment? Anybody?



Posted on: March 1, 2009 1:04 pm

More to come after Bowden bows out, Rijo fired?

The next shoe hit the floor in the ongoing travails involving Jim Bowden, now-former general manager of the Washington Nationals. Bowden resigned this morning as Nats' GM.

"I'm today resigning my position as the senior vice president, general manager of the Washington Nationals. It's an emotional decision. It saddens me, but I feel it's in the best interest of two of the things I love the most: That's the Washington Nationals and baseball," Bowden said while reading from a prepared statement.

"I have become a distraction. Unless you are Manny Ramirez, there is no place for distraction in baseball. I want to be able to turn the page, and I want this franchise to be able to have everybody, from the media to the fans, focus on what the game is about. It's about players. It's about what happens on the field."

Here is a link to the CBS story on Bowden's resignation:

Here is a link to a story about the matter on

Bowden is under investigation for possible involvement in a scheme to skim signing bonuses from Latin American baseball prospects. He continues to proclaim his innocence. Bowden's resignation comes in the wake of the recent firing of Jose Rijo, a special assistant for the Nationals. Rijo was involved in the signing of a player from the Dominican Republic who allegedly falsified his name and age.

For his part, this surely is not the end of the story for Bowden, and likely not for Rijo. If Bowden believes leaving will shift the focus away from the Nationals, he is sadly mistaken. There will be plenty of reportage on this story until all the details come out, the investigation is completed, and any legal proceedings are resolved.





Posted on: February 23, 2009 12:50 pm

Bowden trading leather for snakeskin, DOC grays?

As another federal investigation gathers steam, the Washington Nationals and, apparently, the Cincinnati Reds -- and Major League Baseball by extension -- are sure to be embarassed by allegations now raining out of the sky regarding current Nationals General Manager and former Reds GM Jim Bowden.

Below are links to two stories detailing the alleged skimming of signing bonuses from players out of the Dominican Republic, one from CBS and one from Sports Illustrated.

When it comes to Jim Bowden, he's always been a slick fast talker of a GM. He was responsible for what I continue to contend could be the worst trade in Reds' history, bringing Ken Griffey, Jr., to the team in 2000 and essentially mortgaging the team's future while accomplishing virtually nothing in the process. Outside of that for me, there is no love lost in the Reds' camp for old Leatherpants, who earned the nickname for his penchant for wearing leather pants. He was the mastermind of such moves as firing Reds' manager Tony Perez 44 games into the 1993 season BY VOICEMAIL. He couldn't even face the guy straight up! And after going to the Nationals in 2004, he helped engineer a trade with the Reds in 2006 that is still talked about in Reds' circles because Nationals' pitcher Gary Majewski, a featured player in the trade, had received a cortisone shot just prior to being traded to the Reds. (After the Reds filed a grievance in 2007 and the trade was investigated, it was determined there was no wrongdoing on the part of Bowden or the Nationals.)

What disturbs me more is to see Jose Rijo's name mentioned in connection with this mess. Rijo is a special assistant for the Nationals, and he has now been linked to a prospect from the Dominican Republic who was older than originally reported during first contacts with the player. Rijo has always been one of my favorite Reds' players and one of my favorite players of all time, but now that could be tarnished.

I would think that many fellow Reds' fans feel the way I do -- it would serve Bowden right to have karma bite him in the butt if he has been involved with skimming signing bonuses. And, certainly, based on what is being reported, the activity goes beyond Bowden and whatever Rijo might have done. But to see Rijo being thrown on the heap with Bowden would be a hard pill for me to swallow. Right now, both are ducking media contacts, but I would venture to say that won't stop those media outlets from pursuing Bowden and Rijo like feral dogs on the scent of tempting prey.

So, it's obvious Bowden has traded those leather pants for snakeskin, and maybe some of the proverbial snake oil we often hear about. But, pending outcome of the investigation that is ongoing, will he be able to cozy up and play "Let's Make A Deal," or will he have to trade in the leather and snakeskin for DOC grays? Stay tuned to your nearest sports information source, sports fans, this one's not over and will likely be an underlying topic of conversation for the entire MLB season, with athletic, political and social dimensions, considering the number and quality of baseball prospects coming out of the Dominican Republic and what a shot at a professional baseball career can mean to so many of those recruits.

Posted on: February 20, 2009 11:12 am
Edited on: February 20, 2009 11:20 am

Bengals tag T.J. . . no, wait . . . Shayne???

When the Bengals stuck the franchise tag on Shayne Graham earlier this week, I nearly fell off my chair. Here's a link to the story on

And here is T.J. Houshmandzadeh's reaction to that announcement.

I like Shayne Graham. I like T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Both have provided great value to the Bengals. The tag gives Graham a one-year $2.48 million deal, though Graham said he would have preferred "a long-term market value contract" either with the Bengals or through free agency.

And this move virtually assures that Housh is headed out the door. All Bengals' fans have had some time to mull this over. Some believe the team will be OK without him. I would like for him to stay for the leadership he provides to the wide receiver corps and the young guys now rising through the ranks among them. I suppose I will have to get used to the idea of Housh in a different uniform, barring a shocking announcement from the Bengals that they have reached a long-term deal that will work for them and for Housh. I just don't have confidence that anyone can step up and be the leader Housh has been the last few years. To replace that leadership, the Bengals likely will have to step into the free-agent market for a big-name, big-reputation wide receiver.

I'm happy for Shayne. He has done enough for the team to deserve that kind of dough. But I'm not sure what the move says about the overall thinking being employed right now by what passes for a brain trust with the Bengals. Tag a place kicker and let arguably one of your best players walk away, again? Sheesh.

Posted on: February 14, 2009 12:58 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2009 1:00 pm

Some answers would help, but not counting on it

I, along with many others here in the CBS Community, have been marvelling at the wonderful new changes taking place in our Community. Reputation ratings going down overnight for no reason (banal and inane explanations aside), ridiculous posts receiving ridiculously high scores, intelligent posts receiving undeservedly low scores, no way for Community members to judge Community feedback, and more.

The Powers That Be tell us that they receive and act upon feedback from the Community all the time. Yet, I have not read one Community member who has said they had any input into the changes that have been taking place. Conversely, I also have not seen anyone from CBS say they would act upon reasonable suggestions for change coming from Community members. Who would know better how to improve the Community than Community members who regularly post and try to follow the other edicts of the TOS and the guidelines for achieving status in the Community? A lot of people who have played by the rules for a long time have had nasty surprises in the last few days.

Asking for transparency from CBS is akin to looking for water in a desert. You're not likely to find it. We are to be reassured that these recent "improvements" are only a small part of the work being undertaken by CBS. So does this mean things could get worse?!? Since no one will tell us what CBS is considering, the Community remains in the dark, like citizens in the middle of a power outage.

This is why I sport the avatar from the Royal Order of Mushrooms. We are kept in the dark and fed crap all the time. Hooray for us mushrooms!

Posted on: February 10, 2009 11:11 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2009 11:39 pm

WKC -- Thank God the poodle didn't win!

In an upset victory, the Sussex Spaniel, winner of the Sporting Group in this week's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, beat out the Brussels Griffon, winner of the Toy Group and the Vegas favorite, to win Best In Show! Congratulations, Stump!

Yes, I said the Brussels Griffon was the Vegas favorite. Some people will put money on anything!

I'm just happy that the Standard Poodle, winner of the Non-Sporting Group, didn't win Best In Show. It is just awful how owners/breeders/handlers groom the poodles, Standard and Toy, for these shows. They don't even look like dogs when they get done with them -- they look like something out of a post-modern artist's nightmare.

Other winners included:

Hound Group -- Scottish Deerhound

Terrier Group -- Scottish Terrier

Herding Group -- Puli

Working Group -- Giant Schnauzer

I love dogs, and every year I try to catch most or all of the Westminster Kennel Club show. Last year, a Beagle won Best In Show. Within the last few years, a Newfoundland won Best In Show. In my life, I have owned both breeds, and they are great dogs.

Breeds I've seen in the show that I would like a chance to have as a companion before I shuffle off this mortal coil: Irish Wolfhound and Rottweiler.

Here is a link to the wire story on the show.

This year's show was a good one, and I'm already looking forward to next year's show!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or