Charlie Manuel frequently makes poor strategic decisions. The 11-million dollar scoreboard in left field would probably do a similar job. We guarantee a post analyzing Manuel's decisions for every Phillies game. Please click on our aliases below to email us.

Blog Archive

95% Phillies, 4% Eagles/Flyers/Sixers/Big Five, 1% Nonsense .... Contact us: Scott Graham ~ Andy Musser

Monday, November 9, 2009

People are the worst (part deux)

I bet you're all expecting me to comment on the WS, since I haven't made a post since the season ended. Well, I'm still not ready to talk about it, and to be frank (no, that's not my real name), Mr. Musser expressed my sentiments in his posts. Today, I would like to talk about a new topic. Poor officials, and peoples' views of things. Specifically, what an official (ref) is, and what people think about Donovan McNabb.

I'm always very critical of officials, especially home plate umpires due to their proximity to the plate (their main job). Many people have told me that there is nothing I can do about it, and that their error is just part of the game. Well, that's the problem. I define an official as a person hired to be an unbiased arbiter of a sporting event. They are an extra set of eyes counted on to enforce the rules, and do so with an outsider's perspective. What happens on the field of play, when in the confines of the rules and regulations, should be the result. There shouldn't be any human error element involved, and with technology, there are definitely ways to ensure it.

I would love to hear explanations as to why Joe Mauer should not have been standing on second base in the ALDS. I'm too lazy to find the rule, but when a ball bounces in the field of play between the two foul lines (and beyond the 1st or 3rd base bag), it should be deemed a fair ball. Should the ball proceed to bounce out of play into the stands, the batter-runner should be awarded 2nd base. Wait, due to the fact that Phil Cuzzi blinked, or was intoxicated, or was biased, or whatever the %$#@ing reason was that he missed the play (and it wasn't even close), Joe Mauer did not hit the ball in fair territory and was not awarded 2nd base. It's insane really. The only reason that those men are there, and there are 6 of them in the playoffs, is to make absolutely sure that the CORRECT call is made. People are against replay because it "slows the game down", and that the umpire's error is "always part of the game". Why, just because a middle-aged/old man can't see a reasonably sized ball sail over the outfield fence and bounce of the yellow steps at Yankees Stadium (A-Rod HR from however long ago), and land in the field of play, should Alex Rodriguez be punished by not being awarded a HR? To think that the human error is only part of the game, is idiotic.

The strike zone probably gets me the most frustrated, and there is DEFINITELY enough technology now to have a laser system, or a chip inside a ball that would determine whether the ball crossed the plate. The strike zone is always inconsistent, and a hitter should never be forced to swing at a ball that is out of his reach. Ryan Howard and the myriad of other players that were called out on awful pitches in the World Series should not be subjected to the ever-changing strike zone. The MLB rulebook defines what a strike is, and it is most definitely not a subjective area.

To last night's Eagles game. Howard Eskin, and the local sports media are very fond of trying to alleviate the officials of the blame, just to put it on what is usually Donovan's or Andy's shoulders. "They shouldn't have to worry about the spots." Well, Howard, when there are 11 men on the other side of the ball that are strong as shit, and their goal is to prevent your team from advancing the ball, it's not always as simple as getting 2 to 3 to 15 yards passed the first down. Now, I don't agree with not using Leonard Weaver in every short down situation, but the Eagles in my opinion got the first down on both the 3rd down and 4th down plays. The HL (head linesman) agrees with me about the 4th down play. I'm citing this from memory, but I distinctly remember that when the HL and the LJ converged on the play after the sneak, that the HL was at least a yard more in the Eagles' favor than was the LJ. While the play was on the LJ's side of the field, the HL is responsible for the spot (I'm aware plays on the other side of the field afford one ref a better view than the other, but still). I do not understand how the ball was spotted in the same exact spot as prior to the sneak when it was clear that McNabb moved forward some significant amount. However, after the wrong spot was made, the refs most likely made the correct call on the challenge due to the fact that they could not see McNabb's left arm, and it possibly could have made contact with the ground although I don't believe it did. In this case Howard, and I'm quite sure that I'm right, McNabb did get the first down, and the officials made the wrong call. If this is the case, then he did his freakin' job, and some schmuck on the sideline effed it up. If he gets the job done, and they miss the call, IT IS NOT HIS FAULT. (This reminds me of a Fire Joe Morgan food metaphor post where Ken Tremendous worked on a 25-man team that makes frozen 4-cheese ravioli dinners. You definitely should check it out).

Lastly, people love to say "Donovan McNabb isn't clutch. He can never do it in big situations." Well last night I distinctly remember Brent Celek dropping a beautifully placed pass that hit him in the hands. I also remember LeSean McCoy dropping a screen pass that was thrown perfectly. All McNabb can be responsible for is everything up until he throws the ball. When you put the ball in your receiver's hands, and he drops it, it isn't the QB's fault. I also seem to remember the NFC championship game from last season. I'd say that's a pretty big freakin' stage. I don't care if the Eagles were down by 18 points at halftime. I feel like that makes the losing team's pressure that much more (not alleviated as some people might think). The Eagles had 5 real possessions in the 2nd half (not counting the last play), and the Eagles scored TDs on 3 of them. The first series of the 2nd half resulted in McNabb being sacked and fumbling. After that point, Donovan McNabb led his team to 3 consecutive TD drives to take the lead 25-24. The Cardinals happened to score 1 TD in the second half (a great performance by the Eagles D after a pitiful 1st half), and on the 5th drive for the Eagles, McNabb was unable to score a TD on 80% of the Eagles possessions in the second half. The Eagles scored TDs 60% of the time after halftime, which is well above the numbers Mr. Musser pointed out yesterday that TDs are scored 20% of all possessions. Why, just because the Eagles defense couldn't be perfect, does the drive McNabb led to take the lead not count as a clutch/great performance? He was awesome for crying out loud.

BTW, going into last night's game, the Dono-van held the NFLs best interception ratio of all time throwing a pick every 49 passes (something like that). How do people lose site of how huge that is?


Anonymous said...

great post. at what point should professional sports begin to value ability and eyesight over experience when it comes to officiating? surely moving to younger officials who can keep up with the game and who are probably sharper with reaction times and eyesight would improve the quality of umpiring. the worst thing in sports is when the game is taken out of the hands of the athletes and determined by those who are supposed to be unbiased. refs do not get paid millions of dollars, you cannot buy a jersey with your favorite umpires name on it so why should they be the one who determine whether the eagles convert a first down. you also hit the nail on the head with the strikezone. the worst argument is "well hes been calling that all game." unfortunately he has been wrong all game and that shouldnt make a ball a strike and vice versa. the strikezone is a defined area and should not be determined by an individual umpire based on his perception of the area.

with the mncabb thing, ive always supported him. hes been unbelievably succesful despite the actions of his head coach, and despite the quality of players he throws to. those who bash him do not realize that its not always the qbs fault that the offense only scores 13 points. he doesnt call the plays, waste the timeouts, blow spots, or drop balls. its the same thing as a pitcher taking the loss despite going 7 innings and giving up 1 or 2 runs because the other 8 players on his team do not hit the ball.

once again great post, and the dh doesnt belong in baseball

Henry Rowengartner said...


Remember in the 2000 Superbowl when CBS was obsessed with its new cameras that could provide 360 degree coverage of the field?

That was almost 10 years ago.

It is child's play with current technology to get a 3D model of the strike zone and have a computer interpret balls/strikes. Hell, if baseball wanted to go cheap you could do it without any cameras at all - a GPS chip inside a ball can get accuracy up to less than 1 cm, which is about 1/7 the width of a baseball. Not too bad from space.

Oh, and the same goes for football spots. It is barbaric to have some random guy try to figure out where the ball was when the player's knee was down based on the two garbage camera angles that the crack television producer managed to come up with.

Anonymous said...

older white men dislike technology, criticizing unheralded workers, excuses, non-white qb's, change.