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: 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 mlb.com:


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: December 24, 2008 1:06 am
Edited on: December 24, 2008 1:56 am

MLB: Deals put Yanks under white-hot spotlight

If this team didn't already get enough attention, they just set themselves up for a lot more. A recent spate of free-agent signings -- including a seven-year $161 million contract to CC Sabathia, a five-year $82 million contract to A.J. Burnett, and an eight-year $180 million contract to Mark Teixeira -- will essentially have the team baking under the spotlight this year.

Threads are being posted all over the place, by Yanks fans, Yanks haters, baseball fans in general, to different ends. Yanks fans are lauding the moves and sticking their tongues out at Red Sox fans. Yanks haters are wishing a pox on the team and its management. Baseball fans in general are wondering what such deals will do to the overall economics of the game.

I can tell you that I normally don't follow the Yankees all that closely. I hold nothing for or against the team. I am a Reds fan, and I have had trouble enough the last few years keeping my stomach up for watching them on a regular basis (good news is they are poised to improve in 2009). But I will also tell you that I will be watching the Yanks a little more closely this year, as will a lot of other fans, Yanks lovers, haters and everyone in between.

I admit I would laugh myself silly if the Yanks don't make it to the playoffs. The derision that would rain down upon the team, especially from their own fans, would be nothing short of spectacular. Their new stadium could go up in flames before the first season in it ends if the Yanks don't live up to the expectations they have created with this outrageous free spending.

It will be interesting to see what happens as the season progresses. Money can buy the best players, but it can't force those players to work well together. We are talking about highly-paid players with strong personalities. Hopefully, the management will be ready to forge a close-knit group coming out of spring training, or I would anticipate the possibility of a meltdown of monumental proportions.

Thanks, Yanks, for making the upcoming 2009 season that much more interesting!

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