Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Sports Guy On NBA Officiating

Complaining about the officials in any given sport is just about universal. You see it in all the Big Three leagues (and their college equivalents), in soccer overseas, and just about everywhere else in the world of sports.

Hell, I got to experience the sharp end of it during almost every game back when I was a Little League umpire in Evanston/Skokie!

But the NBA is in a class of its own for lousy reffing. Joey Crawford, Bennett Salvatore, Danny Crawford, Joe Forte, these are all guys with name recognition fitting for the coach of a successful team or a mid-level starter. Unfortunately, they are all veteran NBA officials. Being famous as an official is not a good thing! Just ask the NFL's Ed Hochuli if you don't believe me.

Anyway, Bill Simmons (ESPN's Sports Guy) has long been a vocal advocate of fixing the NBA's broken system. This article, which he posted today, is his most powerful effort to date, explaining what is wrong with the way the league is reffed and checking out ways to fix it and improve the game we all love.

One quick quote from the piece;

"My single favorite old-school moment of the past two decades happened at the end of Game 5 of the 1993 Eastern finals, when Chicago's Jordan, Pippen and Grant famously blocked four straight Charles Smith shots to clinch the victory in New York. Were the blocks clean? I don't know. Did the Knicks complain after? No. Because you had to watch the whole game -- that play didn't just happen. All four quarters were played with that same cutthroat intensity. Unlike today, the officials didn't change their minds midway through the game on what contact was acceptable. They didn't try to manage the game. They let the players decide what happened and intervened when necessary.

That's basketball. At least, that's what basketball should be."

A must read for any fan of the NBA. Here's a video montage from that classic 1993 Bulls vs. Knicks series, too.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lazy Week Update

Obviously, we here at Armchair Superstar never rest when it comes to covering sports. Like the mailman and pizza delivery drivers, we like to bring it to you rain, sleet, or snow.

The problem is sunshine and summer weather!

So yeah, I'm sorry about the lack of updates this week.

A couple of things, quickly, as I get ready to do at least one proper article this weekend and probably more like two.

–Remember those awesome days last year when it looked like the Cubs and Sox might just be on a collision course for the first Red Line Series in over a hundred years? Yeah, me either. The Northsiders just broke out of an extended (eight game?) slump last night, beating the Pirates in a game that, lucky for them, got called after the fifth inning due to rain.

Here's Mr. T, uhh, singing (?) Take Me Out to the Ball Game at Wrigley the other night. Thanks to AK for the link.

Meanwhile, the Sox also won yesterday as The Big Fella, Bartolo Colon (holy crap, what a good looking guy!), pitched a pretty amazing (for him, anyway) 6 2/3 innings while making it look easy. Podsednik is fitting right back in on the team, getting an outfield assist last night. The Pale Hose are hanging around just under .500, at 21-24, but scored seventeen runs against the Angels in the first game of this series, and go for the sweep late tonight. Preview can be found here. It's Jered Weaver, who is having a fantastic year (2.52 ERA), against Gavin Floyd, who has been about as unpredictable as they come.

–Other interesting baseball stories. Tim Lincecum is regaining his form and pitched eight scoreless last night. The Blue Jays are starting to fade a little bit in the AL East. And Raul Ibanez continues to lead the NL in home runs. Some good stuff there.

– I cannot believe LeBron lost last night. What a great game. That shot he hit while leaning over the far side out of bounds line was unreal, and then Rashard Lewis hit an amazing one too, using his pivot foot to create about eight feet of space for an open three-ball dagger. The Cavs obviously have to win out now, and while I still think they can do it, it's looking more and more like the NBA Finals might just be a little different than we all predicted. ESPN has a highlight reel on their front page today, link is on side of page.

In the West, the Nuggets and Lakers are knotted up 2-2. The thing that most impressed me in Game Four was JR Smith all of a sudden becoming a passer! Who knew that he had court vision like that? Anyway, the Nuggets just blew away Kobe and Co., finishing with 42 fourth-quarter points. Entertaining series thus far.

– Went to the Indianapolis 500 this weekend and had a good ol' time with Nate and friends in the infield. This makes the second straight year that I've attended both the Big and Little 500s. Thinking about writing an article comparing the two of them, and would appreciate any insight from those of you that have gone to both of Indiana's classic races.

–Condolences to Mike Tyson and his family. Tyson's four-year old daughter died yesterday after an ugly household accident.

–More to come soon, but for now that's all from Bloomington. Hope everyone is having a great start to summer.