Thursday, May 27, 2010

Too Much Ego for Buehrle & Perkins

I have written in the past that I do not like to whine about officiating because they are human, they make some mistakes and they take too much criticism from people that can watch in super-slow-motion-high-definition replays. Yet two event s in two different sports yesterday highlighted a problem with the umpires/officials that doesn’t involve them making bad calls during the course of the game. The problem is that the egos of the umpire/official got in the way, resulting in the ejection of key players in the White Sox game and in the Celtics game.

It has always been said that the best officiated game is one in which you do not even notice or remember the officials. There are tough calls and close calls and as long as an official is mostly consistent and confident in their calls, there is not much else to be said. Yet when the officials start to wedge their way into the key moments of the game and affect the outcome because they make a spectacle of themselves, it is a major problem.

Yesterday in Chicago Joe West was the first base umpire and West already has a reputation as a guy with a quick hook and a knack for making himself the center of attention. He called the slow pace of the Red Sox-Yankees games a “disgrace” to baseball. While he is correct that those games are insanely slow, the umpire is not the guy you want to hear from about it. Fast forward to yesterday and West ejected White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and starting pitcher Mark Buehrle before the 3rd inning was over on two controversial balk calls. Buehrle dropped his glove in disgust after the second balk and was given the heave-ho. Give me a break, Joe. That wasn’t “showing you up” as all of the umpires in baseball like to lean on for a rationale for ejection. In reality, West showed up Buehrle. Bud Selig needs to step in and do something about West before it gets even more out of hand.

In the Celtics-Magic game, Kendrick Perkins was hit with two technical fouls and ejected before halftime. As a side note, that gives him 7 technicals during the playoffs which would qualify him for a one game suspension if the league does not recind the technicals from last night (and I think they will take back both of them). Perkins got his first technical when his hand slipped while helping Paul Pierce up and his arm flew back resulting in an elbow to Martin Gortat. The officials hit Perkins and Gortat with a double technical. A bad call overall, but can’t really be argued that much. If the official didn’t see the arm slip, it appeared he threw an elbow. Fine. The second technical was egregious and a result of an official being overly sensitive. After a questionable touch call, Perkins stomped away from the official and whined that it was a bullshit call. Again, he stomped AWAY from the official. Yet the referee quickly slapped him with a technical without pausing to realize that Perkins was walking away and that it would be his second technical and lead to an ejection of a key post player early in the game. Perkins is a notorious whiner but did not deserve to be thrown out.

Officials and umpires need to check their egos at the door and realize that these are athletes competing at the highest level and their emotions are running high. They may react when a call goes against them and not every eye roll or stomping of the feet is “showing up” an umpire. They need to have thicker skin than that because they are affecting games and potentially a playoff series.


And one final note that shows size does not matter…….in women’s tennis.

No comments:

Post a Comment