7.23.2007

Because I Am the Andrew Jackson of Sports Blogging,

a man of the people, I decided, per Tittle500's request, to weigh in on the Tim Donaghy/NBA officiating train wreck, albeit in concise fashion. To wit:

1. The NBA has never really interested me since Jordan left. I'm one of those folks that finds college basketball infinitely more entertaining for a variety of reasons--defense, passing, a team game, and... officiating that doesn't reward superstars recklessly driving the lane (I agree, Tittle, Simmons' column was on point in pretty much everything he said--refreshing to read a column not laden with J-Bug and Vegas references, too). Hence, I'm neither too upset nor too surprised that this is going down.

2. That video on Deadspin and other sites of Game 3 of the Suns-Spurs series last year is pretty damning. But it makes me wonder if more refs than just Donaghy were involved. Why is no one raising this possibility? Sure, Donaghy made some questionable calls, but so did the other two guys in that game. Are you telling me that they just suck and not that Donaghy said to them, "Hey, call a few more fouls on the Suns and I'll give you a $5 grand cut of my payoff"? The latter possibility seems more than just a little likely to me.

3. The Crazy touched on this in a post a few days back, but which is a bigger black eye for the respective sports: the officiating scandal in basketball or the steroid scandal in baseball? For my money, the officiating scandal trumps even steroids in terms of severity. Why? Because officials in the NBA have the most power of any of the major sports (hockey is no longer 'major' in my mind--it forfeited its status when its playoffs went to Vs.).

NFL officials are, to an extent, held in check/bailed out by instant replay and MLB umps are relatively limited in the ways they can affect the outcomes of games (including, but not limited to, messing with the strike zone, botching check swing calls, and missing stolen base/play at the plate calls). Even then, players are much more substantially in control of outcomes in baseball (they can extend their strike zones, etc). NBA officials, on the other hand, can drastically impact the face of a game--to the point of removing players from the game through fouling out.

Steroids are their own mess, but at least it was the players on the field and not the supposed arbiters of the game that were cheating. Additionally, the connection between steroid use and the direct outcome of games is a little more dubious than point shaving. Bonds and McGwire and Sosa may have hit so many more homers than they would have otherwise, but remember how many of those Sosa homers came in late-inning, irrelevant, Cubs down 6 situation? That, and as any number of (misguided?) athletes will tell you, steroids might help you hit the ball further, but they won't help you hit it in the first place.

11 comments:

Gage said...

I think a home plate umpire could affect the a game quite a bit and be even more discrete about it than any other official. The strike zone changing from one team to another would be subtle and make a big difference.

MBQ said...

Or, if you're Erik Gregg, you don't even have to be subtle. That playoff series with the Braves where he was giving Maddux strikes on balls that were a foot outside still burns me - and that's as someone who could care less about the Braves.

I don't think any one ref has as much control over affecting the outcome as the home plate umpire (as anyone who's seen Naked Gun can attest) but, on the whole, I think NBA refs have more control in this regard than anyone.

Notorious B.O.B. said...

I saw that video montage of bad calls as well and I think we should wait and see what he was actually trying to fix. The term point shaving is being used alot which basically means he's trying to affect the over/under and the spread. Most of the calls they show on that video are in the 1st half or early third quarter.

I dont think he was trying to shave points already at that point. Also, like you said, alot of the calls they show were made by the other refs.

Either way, I think this scandal, the Mike Vick thing, and Bonds' enormous head are all stories fabricated by the secret society of evil men who call themselves...ESPN. Im pretty sure Bonds died back in '97, and they replaced him with a mutant they created back in the lab. The evidence is all there.

Gage said...

I feel like Bob is going to be an unnamed source in a "Barry Bonds: Mutant?" column on espn any day.

Notorious B.O.B. said...

Hopefully I get to be interviewed with my voice altered and black shadow over my face. If the unnamed source uses a quote from Super Troopers at any point during the interview, then you'll know its me.

Tittle500 said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ybcHF_fhqk

Tittle500 said...

also... love the way he pulls 4th out of his ass at the last second...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PFutBNqM24

Gage said...

By the way, since nobody else has done it... What the hell are you doing with an Andrew Jackson reference in the title of this post? Dorkweed.

Notorious B.O.B. said...

Andrew Jackson hates black people!

trout said...

forgive me for bringing some culture to the goat. anyway, as for home plate umpires, i think they've got much less control than your average nba ref. if a player feels like he's getting squeezed by the ump's strike zone, he can argue. more often than not, it's the manager that does the arguing for them, and if he gets tossed, it's no big deal. nba refs, on the other hand, can dish out technicals which directly result in foul shots.

of course, as we've seen, bud selig would have us embrace the "human error" in the game... so bully for them if the umps have shitty strike zones, i guess. stupid bud.

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