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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hump Day Sports Review: Bradley, Moyer, Umpires, and more

It’s Hump Day Sports Review time, and I skipped this part last week so there might be some old stuff. But it’s never too late to offer an opinion:

The Stewart Bradley overreaction. I was actually chided by a dope on Facebook because I don’t think losing Stewart Bradley for the season is a “huge” loss. I am so sick of Philly fans that claim to be knowledgeable yet merely parrot sports talk radio hosts. When did Bradley become Mike Singletary? I’m not even sure it’s not a blessing in disguise. Omar Gaither now gets a shot at getting out of whatever dog house he seemed to be in, and the guy seemed to be able to make a big play now and then.

The bigger loss may be that of rookie tight end Cornelius Ingram. Brent Celek showed flashes of being a good tight end last year, but failing to fill that position with a true stud has been one of the constant mistakes of the Andy Reid era. Guys like Brent Jones and Bubba Franks became household names for football fans because they played tight end in the west coast offense. It’s an absolutely critical part of the offense that the Eagles run, and they have consistently filled it with guys like L.J. Smith. And they can’t argue that this was a “fluke injury” with Ingram – the same injury caused him to miss his final season at Florida.

Moyer perturbed. I was a little surprised Jamie Moyer spoke out about the Phillies shipping him to the bullpen, but I don’t have the problem with it others seem to. The guy has pitched 20+ seasons in the Majors. He gets to say what he wants, especially in the respectful tone with which he did it. Bottom line, he’s being replaced by a guy in Pedro Martinez who could be anything from a bust with nothing left at this point to a major upgrade. Moyer wasn’t even that bad in his last start. If Moyer hadn’t been competitive enough to be annoyed at the move, he never would have lasted this long.

Decent substitute. After switching from the Evil Empire that is Comcast to Verizon, I am slowly discovering all that is on FiOS. I was especially enjoying the MLB Network last night. We were screwed out of 3 free months of MLB Extra Innings somehow, but the constant updates and live game look-ins were cool. There’s so much to figure out that I just hope the MLB and NFL Networks aren’t part of the freebies that soon disappear. (Sadly, Verizon’s customer service is almost as hideous as what the Evil Empire provides.)

Weak. Kevin Youkilis’ sad attempt to charge the mound last night after being hit by a pitch was a perfect example of why this stupid notion of getting even in baseball needs to be forced out of the game with heavy suspensions. Guys charge the mound now when they’re not even being thrown at. Worse, they do it without any guts to actually fight, as Youkilis proved. It’s become so absurd that John Kruk and his co-analyst were demonstrating fight etiquette on ESPN. It’s a fight – not a tea party! If you’re too much of a wuss to get hit and just take your base, charge the mound with something more than a desire to throw your helmet at a defenseless pitcher and take your suspension.

Control the umps. Umpire Ed Rapuano should be suspended at the very least for his actions Sunday at Citizens Bank Park. He threw Shane Victorino out of the game for throwing his arms up in disgust at the umpire’s call of a ball while playing center field. This is as clear a case as there can be of an umpire putting himself ahead of the game. To even see Victorino’s reaction proves the umpire, whose name fans should never even know, was focused on getting back at Victorino for complaining about an earlier call. That is the worst thing an umpire can do in the course of a game besides following Tim Donaghy’s example of attempting to secure specific outcomes. Regardless of whether Victorino was right or wrong, it’s time all professional leagues take the cloak of secrecy off officials who never answer media questions or answer to the league for outrageous behavior. Umpires should be seen but not really noticed. Those who go out of their way to be part of the show should be forced to exit Stage Left.

Finally! Frank Deford took ESPN to task in a recent article for SI.com. Besides the pleasure of reading great writing, it was refreshing to see an unquestionably respected observer of sports point out the perils of allowing ESPN to continue to move in the direction its headed (or to simply exist in its current form). Ironically, I found this article via a Facebook post of ESPN 950’s Harry Mayes, who pointed out in a comment that the station is privately owned.

1 comment:

BobH said...

Victorino was showing up the umpire after being warned to knock it off. Just because he did it from 200 feet away doesn't mean he should get away with it.