Monday, September 24, 2007

Kill the umpire/Talk to Mr. Ed

After a tough weekend in Atlanta, it appears that the Brewers are going to fall short to the po' faced Chicago Cubs, with their $100-$200 payroll and legions of addled fans. Too bad - the Brewers have been a nice story this year and while the future looks bright, this does not appear to be the year for them. So the Cubs will likely move on; if justice is served, they'll lose to the Padres, just like they did in 1984, or the Mets, just like they did in 1969, or maybe the Diamondbacks, just for variety's sake.

The frustration reached a head yesterday, following a 7-4 loss to the Braves. The Brewers were convinced that the umpiring in the game was substandard; based on the film I saw, they may be right. The problem is the same thing, however: if you really want to be a champion, you have to win games convincingly enough that if a referee blows a call, it doesn't cost you the game. I will never forget Jerry Rice's obvious fumble in the 1998 NFC playoffs that cost the Packers a hard-fought victory; in fact, it was the only time the 49ers have beaten the Packers in the Brett Favre era. But the larger problem was that the Packers should have put the 49ers away a lot earlier.

The problem now, of course, is that suspicion of officiating is running much higher, and rightly so after the revelations that have recently rocked the NBA in the wake of the Donaghy scandal. Baseball umpires have been notably imperious for at least the last 20 years and you'd be hard pressed to find a more obvious narcissist than NFL referee Ed "Check Out the Gun Show" Hochuli whose explanations of rules have enough distinctions to make Bertrand Russell's head spin. I've always believed that officials are best when they aren't noticed, but we seem to have some budding thespians in the officiating ranks in our modern era. It's too bad, really - no one pays to see Ed Hochuli or Ed Montague or Ed Rush. Why are all these guys named Ed, by the way? My dad would be aghast; I'm betting my nephew Eddie is, too.


Anonymous said...

The umpiring all series was a complete joke and Yost was justified to rant after the game.

Is it just me or are umpires often baiting managers and players these days? I recall a recent game where Geoff Jenkins got tossed for just looking at the third-base umpire after he called him out on a check third strike.

Cubs could still collapse, but it's unlikely. Just too many games the Brewers gave away this year. Too many. :(

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Mark's assessment that the refs should go unnoticed. Otherwise we may never have had the ref get hit in the head with the whiskey bottle in the 1975 NFC championship game in Minnesota at the old Metropolitan Stadium.

That is one of the greatest throws of all time in the NFL.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, the whiskey bottle incident, what memories, what an arm...I think that many officials feel that they are bigger than the game, and they get to determine who wins...As far as conspiracies go, how about adding how the Pittsburgh Steelers lived up to their name and stole the Superbowl with a little help from their zebra friends in 2006.

Anonymous said...

And don't forget "Stretched Out Springer" giving the Ledgers an edge over our beloved Hawks on a cold, January Saturday in 1974.

Ahhh, the memories.

Mark said...

The stretched out Springer. I just about spit coffee on the monitor when I read that.

He was right up with there with the Lourdes Loser and a dark horse candidate, Jim Bob Van Heuring (who liked to work the regional games against St. Lawrence Seminary, if I recall).

Anonymous said...

St. Lawrence Seminary ... one of the very few seminaries in the entire United States still going strong.

Chicago's Archdiocese closed Quigley Prep after the 2006-07 school year. I spent a week in Chicago this summer at a hotel a block away from Quigley. What a beatiful building.

Remember La Crosse Holy Cross? What about Milwaukee De Sales? Oneida Sacred Heart? St. Nazianz Salvatorian? All were minor seminaries in Wisconsin that have closed.