A little dishing on sports

Things That Tick Me Off — Volume I

If you are a regular reader of this blog (hey Rach), you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t written much recently.  I’m not one to make excuses, but I do have four good reasons for my “W” Like summer schedule (oh, come on, Republican friends, you know 43 loved him some brush clearing).

1.       I just started a new job and I’ve been focusing on getting up to speed

2.      I got hooked on Friday Night Lights and watched 50 episodes in about 9 days.

3.      I switched from desktop to laptop and for me writing is about routine, so I’m trying to establish a new routine.

4.      It’s too damn hot to write and it’s making me cranky.

My crankiness is why you keep me around, though, isn’t it?  You go over to the Half-Empty Glass and read their complaints about Hostess cakes and laws and stuff, and you need a little more crankiness and so you come to read my complaints about other stuff.

And I’ve got some doozies today.  You see, I was reading this book called Stumbling on Wins in Basketball, which purports to be a Moneyball type look at roundball, but frankly might as well be called The Great Big Basketball Book of D’uh.  Wow, Chris Paul is good?  Are you sure you don’t want to crunch some more numbers before you jump to any silly conclusions.

Ok, I’m not being totally fair.  No, wait, I am.  Let’s put it this way: there’s a chapter in the book defending Isiah Thomas’s rapid and complete desecration of the New York Knicks.  So now you see why I’m a bit cranky, huh?  One thing that I found interesting in the book, if plainly obvious, was the conclusion the authors reached that coaches don’t matter.  Well, except for Phil Jackson.  Now, I’m skeptical of any analysis that concludes that Isiah had a more positive impact on his team than, you know, competent coaches.  You see, apparently some coaches do matter in the first year, but the effect recedes over time.  And apparently, Isiah was one of the coaches on the plus side.  I am not making this up.  The study finds, though, that with the exception of Phil Jackson, coaches have virtually no long term impact on team success.  The presumption is that the coach you hire has some threshold level of qualification for the job.  So Kate Gosselin would probably be unable match the success of say, Flip Saunders.  Although, who really knows.  But once you reach that threshold level, there is very little difference in the relative contribution coaches make to the success of their teams.

That got me to thinking about things that really tick me off and so I present to you, volume one of things in sports that really tick me off.

1.      How is it that if you listen to game announcers then every coach in professional sports is doing such a great job?

Pick your favorite televised sport or sports.  When was the last time you heard an announcer – play-by-play or color; national or local, make any of the following statements:

“Wow, this doesn’t even look a professionally coached [or managed] team.  They are just woefully unprepared.”

“With an effort like this it’s just stunning that Coach X continues to be gainfully employed.”

Yikes, look at the domination.  It is abundantly clear that Coach X is just coaching the pants off of Coach Y.”

“Team A has hired Coach X.  X has been around the block; this will be his 11th professional team and he’s never really had any success to speak of.”

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  When will Mike Breen, Mark Jackson or Jeff Van Gundy say any of the above?  It’s gotten to the point where it’s embarrassing listening to commentary.  They criticize players mercilessly for mistakes, both mental and physical, but guys who lead teams to mediocrity year after year after year, get off scot-free.

2.      How long does a batter have to wait to call time for an umpire to deny it?

We’ve reached the point where I’m convinced that the following scenario is inevitable:

Batter stands in as pitcher goes into windup

Pitcher throws perfect strike

Miraculously, umpire recognizes pitch as such and calls strike on the batter

Batter turns to umpire and says, “I wasn’t ready.”

Umpire responds, “No pitch.  Time.”

It’s coming.  Believe me, it’s coming.

3.      Brett Favre coverage

Ok, we get it.  Brett Favre is a drama queen who retires every summer.  You know what, Ed Werder, get your sorry butt out of Hattiesburg, leave the man alone and cover a real story like how it took seven Redskins to carry Albert Haynesworth to his car.  I don’t understand this.  The media constantly complains about what Brett Favre does at the same time that they breathlessly cover everything Brett Favre does.  Geez.

4.       TV cameras not showing fans who run on the field

I get it.  Why give some jerk 15 seconds of fame?  You know how you deter fans from running onto the field?  Make it a reality show.

Drunk idiot and his teenage son, oh wait, no one goes to Kansas City Royals games anymore.  Correction: drunk idiot runs onto the field and security waits patiently with cameras covering the idiots every move.  When the idiot tires himself out, or tries to get back into the stands, security springs into action, beating him within an inch of his life and carrying the carcass off the field.  But it doesn’t end there.  Doctors are on call to patch the guy up, maybe transport him by ambulance to the hospital.  Then when he’s ready to leave the hospital, police take idiot into “custody.”  Anything goes as they’re subduing “drunk” idiot.  Charlie, get one of your summer associates on this one — can’t you just print on the ticket that one assumes this risk once spectator enters the playing field?  They beat the crap out of the guy as they take him to jail.  Then when he’s good and beaten, taken to a holding cell and then arraigned, we have camera crews follow him as the case makes its way through the court system.  You have someone annoying like the guy from Cheaters asking questions like, “Do you think you made a mistake running onto the field?” and “Is your eyeball supposed to hang off your face like that?”

Can you tell I’m a little cranky?


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