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Thursday, June 3, 2010

NBA Finals Pick and a Baseball Rant

Sweeping the Conference Finals series and eking out a 5-4 record in game picks for a miniscule +2.75 points, I was +44.75 for the round. Technically, I didn’t put any points on the Western Conference Finals with the Lakers being too heavily favored to make it worthwhile. I’m now at 10-2 in series picks and a total of +89.50 points for the playoffs.

The Lakers are currently -180 against the Celtics in the NBA Finals. I’m taking the Lakers, who I picked to win the title when the playoffs began and doubled-down on that pick with the last series. So, I’m going to just stay with the 200 points to win 325 that I already have on the Lakers.

Besides the -180 making it less than appealing to put more points on the Finals, I am mildly concerned about the pick. The Celtics are playing a little better than I expected, and Andrew Bynum’s injury seems like a real problem.

That said, I’m still happy to have the Lakers to win it all.

Life Ain’t Perfect

ESPN is at its sanctimonious best today after Armando Galarraga was denied a perfect game after a batter was called safe on a play that would have been the last out of the game. I’ve heard guys on the national morning show suggesting this will follow umpire Jim Joyce wherever he goes for the rest of his career.

Sadly, Major League Baseball is actually considering overturning the call.

Readers of this blog over the years know that this type of thing drives me up a wall. Galarraga has handled this better than the self-important ESPN hosts who talk about baseball with a reverence that is absurd. Watch the play regular speed; it absolutely looks like the ball was bobbled by Galarraga as he covered first base on a grounder.

The only reason this will “follow” Joyce is because ESPN will damn well make sure it does. I get the significance of a perfect game, especially when we’re just days away from Roy Halladay pitching one for the Phillies. But, believe it or not, the Earth kept rotating this morning.

The fact is that baseball should prefer having an umpire like Joyce, who is going to make the call as he sees it without worrying about “the moment,” instead of the Joe Wests of the world who think they are the moment. I’m not even a baseball purist, but “reversing” this call now is nothing but MLB reacting to ESPN’s hype machine, and that ought to scare any baseball fan.

Does anybody think Galaragga gets his moment back because someone somewhere writes it down differently? At the risk of quoting Charlie Manuel, it is what it is. Detroit still won. Are we really supposed to believe this is the only perfect game affected by a bad call.

The same article linked to above points out, “In 1991, a panel headed by then-commissioner Fay Vincent took a look at the record book and decided to throw out 50 no-hitters for various reasons.” Do we really want to follow the example of Vincent on anything? I don’t think so.

And, hey, as a St. Louis Cardinals fan during the Lonnie Smith years, I say if we’re fixing bad calls let’s start with the 1985 World Series. From the article’s sidebar, “Don Denkinger was the umpire at first base in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. With the Cardinals leading the Royals three games to two, the Cardinals had taken a 1-0 lead into the eighth inning. Todd Worrell came in for the Cardinals in the ninth to face Jorge Orta, who hit a slow roller to first baseman Jack Clark. He tossed it to Worrell covering first base. Denkinger called Orta safe, though television replays showed he was out by half a step. The Royals went on to win Game 6 and the World Series.” We got screwed!


Anonymous said...

MDefl posting,

I agree - it is too late to overturn the call and since several days have passed now, I think Selig won't resort to that extreme.

I do think that replay for the 9th inning plus home run calls could be considered. On the whole though, I would prefer to see no replay in baseball at all. The Umpires are part of the game and part of what makes it special.

That is most likely a minority viewpoint. Certainly Mikey Miss on 97.5 disagrees with me.

Anonymous said...

BTW - when are the Phils going to learn how to swing the bats again. I have never seen such slumps for the 3, 4 and 5 hole at the same time, ever.

It seems as though the air went out of the Phils sails when Jimmy reinjured his calf. The bad news is that Jimmy, according to today's, is nowhere close to coming back. I think they miss his leadership more than anything else.

I don't know if you saw Manuel's press conference last night but I have never seen him more frustrated. I have to think that the ice is thin for Milt Thompson.