Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Year of the Ump Exhibit 1,447,988

Nice of the ump to rub it in by barking at Fielder after ringing him up on a pitch 3 feet outside.

The 29-Minute Point, and The Strange Case Of The Reverse Soccer Pitch

While we're still focusing a bit on Tennis and Soccer I have to mention these two stories. First, the longest tennis point ever played:

Twenty-five years ago, on Sept. 24, 1984, Nelson and Jean Hepner, who were ranked No. 93 and No. 172 in the world, engaged in a 29-minute, 643-shot rally that remains the longest point played in a professional tennis match.

And second, in 1994 a quirk in the rules had Grenada and Barbados attempting to score own goals:

Grenada went into the match with a superior goal difference, meaning that Barbados needed to win by two goals to progress to the finals. The trouble was caused by two things. First, unlike most group stages in football competitions, the organizers had deemed that all games must have a winner. All games drawn over 90 minutes would go to sudden death extra time. Secondly and most importantly, there was an unusual rule which stated that in the event of a game going to sudden death extra time the goal would count double, meaning that the winner would be awarded a two goal victory.

Barbados was leading 2-0 until the 83rd minute, when Grenada scored, making it 2-1. Approaching the dying moments, the Barbadians realized they had no chance of scoring past Grenada's mass defense, so they deliberately scored an own goal to tie the game at 2-2. This would send the game into extra time and give them another half hour to break down the defense. The Grenadians realized what was happening and attempted to score an own goal as well, which would put Barbados back in front by one goal and would eliminate Barbados from the competition.

However, the Barbados players started defending their opposition's goal to prevent them from doing this, and during the game's last five minutes, the fans were treated to the incredible sight of Grenada trying to score in either goal. Barbados also defended both ends of the pitch, and held off Grenada for the final five minutes, sending the game into extra time. In extra time, Barbados notched the game-winner, and, according to the rules, was awarded a 4-2 victory, which put them through to the next round.

Monday, June 28, 2010

FIFA - Next Time We'll Cover Up The Truth

This is the exact wrong thing to do:

FIFA will censor World Cup match action being shown on giant screens inside the stadium after replays of Argentina's disputed first goal against Mexico fueled arguments on the pitch.

Angry Mexico players protested to referee Roberto Rosetti after the screens in Johannesburg's Soccer City showed Argentina forward Carlos Tevez was offside before he scored the opening goal in a 3-1 victory on Sunday.

FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot said Monday that replaying the incident was "a clear mistake."

Yes, the mistake was definitely that people noticed your terrible officiating and not the terrible officiating itself.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

2 Entertaining Things

1. The Brewers have a day game and a chance to sweep the Twins, and Yo is pitching.

2. On Twitter, Aaron Rodgers is quoting random lines from The Princess Bride.

There's something you don't ever expect to write.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wimbledon Insanity

Wimbledon has no fifth set tiebreaker. You play until you win by two. As I write this two blokes named Mahut and Isner are tied 47-47 in the fifth set. They have been playing for eight and a half hours. It is insane.

Today has been absolutely crazy sports-wise.


That was an excellent match. The US defeated the refs and the Algerians to win the game and the group.

Great effort by the US team, and by Landon Donovan who had the game winner in the 91st minute.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Are all international sporting events Stern'd?

It's common knowledge that the NBA is loosely scripted (think Curb Your Enthusiams) and that Stern pulls the strings. Is there a Stern-like figure for ALL international competitions?

Watch some Olyimpcs. Figure skating: corrupt. Boxing: corrupt. Gymnastics: corrupt.

Cycling is perhaps the most absurdly corrupt sport in the world. Christ, there is a massive scandal in the video game "sports" world over in Korea and top ranked players were busted fixing matches! I don't know if rugby is corrupt but I do remember a story about Aussie Rules players getting in piles off the field more than on it. Even the gentleman's sport of cricket has its recent fixing scandals.

And now, in front of all the world (except me, of course but this is what I've heard) some goofy bastard from poor country x decides to exert some power and rob the glorious United States of a victory with some nonsense officiating.

This is absolutely and totally outrageous. It's clear to me that American's (aside from NBA/WWE fans) are the last bastion of hope in pure sports. When our officials make a mistake it's an honest (and idiotic) one that they and the league apologize for. Has FIFA said boo yet, over a full day later?

Personally I have had enough and am, henceforth, boycotting soccer.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Way to go Aaron Rodgers

From Deadspin this morning:

"But back to Erin Andrews: While the contract talks hold moderate interest for some of her colleagues, most of them prefer to gossip about her private life — specifically about what happened between her and dancing partner Maks. Because the latest EA romance gossip circulating around the Bristol cafeteria right now involves not Maks, but Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The two were spotted by other ESPN people last week drinking (closely) at the bar underneath Boston's Liberty hotel."

Ooohh, celebrity gossip about a Green Bay player.

Ken Tremendous on the NBA Finals

Congrats to the L.A. Lakers for winning what appears to have been some kind of ceremonial free throw shooting contest.

From Twitter.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

McGehee Turning Into A Hall of A Problem


Since getting off to a torid start and making me feel foolish for doubting his ability, Casey McGehee has come back to Earth. Last nights 0-5 performance (and the only player in the line up to not reach base) is a microcosm of Casey's last six weeks. He isn't getting on base and he isn't hitting for power. In short, he looks strikingly similar to the player the Cubs let walk in 2008. Thanks to an amazing start to the season McGehee is still sporting above average stats, however he seems to be trending (which was my original claim in the off-season) to his minor league numbers. Middling pop, poor eye, and nothing else to really make him stand out.

McGehee has been one of the players that Melvin fans have pointed to with pride as proving their mustachioed heroes prowess in picking players. Without Casey, what does Melvin have to show for his efforts on this current club outside of Jack Z's draft picks?

I linked Jonathan Ede over at Brewers Daily above and he seems to think calling up Gamel would be a mistake at this point. I'm not so sure. While his value is hopefully going to be at the opposite corner, getting him platooned with McGehee (yes, his splits warrant it) in order to get some MLB at-bats makes a lot of sense to me, even if Matt's eventual position is across the diamond.

I'm not saying this move will all of a sudden make the Brewers a contender or even help them win baseball games today. It's difficult to imagine Gamel's bat outproducing the incompetence of his glove at third, but it's a possibility. It's also something I think is necessary as this team needs to start building for next year.

Worst case scenario Gamel is a flop and Melvin knows he needs to find another solution before he can move Fielder (so essentially the position we are in now). Best case, Gamel comes out like a house on fire, tears pitchers up the next 3+ months and fans have someone who will mitigate the loss of Prince. McGehee's struggles are hurting the team on the field, but are actually providing Melvin with a fantastic opportunity to help him build the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers into a winner.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


-A guest post by David Orgas.

I’ve been reading all the blogs, all the Op-Eds and listening to all the bar chatter. “The 2010 Packers will steamroll over the division and bring Super Bowl glory back to Titletown once again.” Whoa horsey.

While I am on-board with the excitement of the ’09 campaign and firmly believe this is a solid team built for a playoff run… I’m not ready to overlook a few basic facts as we head into the season. And you know how I hate being the devil’s advocate, but:

Last year’s team went 3-5 against playoff caliber opponents. That’s right. Did you forget so quickly that we were a sub .500 team versus quality opponents? It is easy to go 11-5 when you play one of the easiest schedules in the NFL. Think about it. Detroit (twice), St. Louis, Cleveland, Seattle, Tampa (and we lost to the Bucs). PLUS one of the three games we won against playoff caliber opponents came against the Cardinals in week 17 when they pulled all their starters after one series. If you throw that game out, we were 2-5 against quality competition. But you could also argue that we could’ve/should’ve/would’ve beaten Pittsburgh except for that last play. So we’ll stick with 3-5 for now.

The 2010 season does not present nearly as many pushovers. In fact, there may be as many as thirteen playoff caliber opponents on the docket for this coming year. Minnesota, with or without the diva, is still a playoff contender and we play them twice. Chicago finished last season 7-9 without Urlacher and they will have him back. They also added Julius Peppers, and Packer fans should never underestimate the positive effect adding a dominant defensive end can have on a franchise. Over the last 4 weeks of 2009, Tommy Harris regained his Pro-Bowl form at DT, Daniel Manning started to look like a FS and they moved Chris Williams to LT (and he shut down the backside pass rush for Jay Cutler). They have also added Chester Taylor who is a custom fit for new Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz’s offense, and Brandon Manumaleuna, maybe the best blocking TE in the league. The Bear’s, at least on paper, look like a playoff caliber team. The Lions are improving, but they still are the Lions and they suck. Outside the division, things get worse.

Our inter-conference rivals from the AFC East include three playoff contenders and two Super Bowl favorites. The Jets, the Patriots and the Dolphins. Both the Jets and Patriots are considered front-runners in the AFC and we play both on the road. The only “easy” team in that division is the Bills and we get them at Lambeau. Why couldn’t we get them on the road and the Patriots at home? We don’t even get Miami when it’s cold and snowy—we play them in mid-October, and the Fish with Brandon Marshall and a healthy Ronnie Brown are scary good. Add free agent pickup Karlos Dansby on defense and they’re a top quality team.

Our intra-conference divisional rivals include San Francisco, Atlanta and the entire NFC East. San Fran is the front-runner in the West now that Warner retired, and Mike Singletary’s squad just keeps getting better and better. They will be one of the most physical teams we play all year and we get them in Green Bay after back-to-back road games vs. Minnesota and the Falcons. If there is any road-rust, it will cost us dearly. Atlanta could be set for a long run as a playoff contender with Matt Ryan at the helm. Even without him for a long period in 2009, the birds nearly made the playoffs.

The NFC East might be the best division in the NFL and, lucky us, we play them all. The Cowboys are a legit Super Bowl contender but we get them at home (suckers!). The Giants were the best team in the NFL for the first five weeks of the season last year before injuries and poor defense (believe it or not) got the best of them. Now they’ve re-stocked the defense. The Eagles may be without Donovan McNabb but they’ve got Kevin Kolb (who is their version of Aaron Rodgers). We also have to play them on the road and Philly is a tough road city. The worst of the bunch is Washington. But the Skins now feature McNabb at QB and have Mike Shanahan calling the plays. Their defense was solid last season despite the record and they’ve strengthened the O-Line. The return of All-Pro Chris Cooley helps a ton since McNabb throws plenty of balls to his TEs. And we play at Washington. Every team in this division could be in contention for a playoff spot thru 14-15 weeks.

Count ‘em up. Minnesota (x2), Chicago (x2), San Fran, Atlanta, Philly, Dallas, NY Giants, Washington, NY Jets, New England, Miami. I count 13. Thirteen teams that could be playoff caliber in 2010. Take away Washington and Chicago and we still have 10 playoff teams to contend with. And we were 3-5 vs. those teams in 2009.

And what did we do to improve our team for 2010? A solid draft but nothing immediate. Bulaga is a great pick. A great pick. Could be a decade-long starter at LT. But not in 2010. Not unless Clifton gets hurt. I suppose he could play inside at LG for a year or two until Clifton retires but he’d have to learn a new position. He’s been on the edge for 7 years dating back to his All-State HS career in Woodstock, Illinois. Second round pick Mike Neal adds depth to the defensive line but he is not a playmaker. He is a strong point of attack run defender who did not make a ton of plays in college. Morgan Burnett is a ball-hawk. Good range, good ball skills, good tackler. Could step in and replace Atari Bigby right away (and not a moment too soon). But he did not play any SS in college. He played “rover” which is college jargon for “athletic guy who just reads the QB and runs to the ball.” He will need time to learn zones and coverage responsibilities. I expect him to play a lot like Bigby in 2010: make some splash plays, make some big hits, get burned quite a bit… come to think of it, sounds a lot like Tramon Williams too (minus the big hits).

But the fact of the matter is we came into this off-season with needs. We needed to improve our interior offensive line, we needed an OLB opposite Clay Matthews, we needed an upgrade at SS, we needed a RCB, we needed a 3rd down back, we needed more depth on the defensive line… Basically this was a really solid draft that will pay dividends in 2012 but it did not address our immediate needs for 2010.

Al Harris will turn 36 this season and is coming off a serious knee injury that occurred late in the season (week 11). To assume that he will be 100% by the start of the year is ridiculous. His replacement, Tramon Williams, is a decent nickel-back who gambles and makes some plays on the ball but gets beat consistently. Steve Breaston absolutely torched him in the playoff game (7 catches, 125 yards). We needed another RCB this off-season and didn’t go out and get one. My choices were: Either Marlin Jackson (ex-Colts), Richard Marshall (Panthers) or Ken Lucas (Seahawks). Jackson was my first choice because he has played all 4 defensive back positions in the NFL. It was his interception of Tom Brady that sent the Colts to their Super Bowl a few years ago. He has great size (6’0 200) and hails from Michigan (and we’ve done pretty well with former Wolverine cornerbacks).

All in all, the Packers are in for a much tougher road this season. A record of 7-9 is within the realm of possibility, but so is 10-6. Barring major injuries to our roster or that of our opponents, I’m guessing that 9-7 is the mark we’re shooting for.

- David Orgas is the writer and director of "Dare to Dream: The Alan Kulwicki Story," and is capable of calculating complex salary cap problems in his head.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tim Howard

In my humble opinion, the best player on the US National Soccer Team isn't Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey, or even Jozy Altidore. It's Tim Howard. With a lesser goalkeeper the US probably loses that match to England 4-1.

This then, is excellent news.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Respect The Blackhawks

First for winning the Stanley Cup, but more importantly for their nearly 48-hour tour-of-the-city/bender. After the Hawks won the cup in Philly they got on a plane and flew back to Chicago where many lesser folk would have headed for home and bed. Instead they immediately went to a bar in the suburbs at about 7:00 AM yesterday morning. They then proceeded to the city where they stopped at The Pony Inn on Belmont, Stanley Cup in tow, at about 8:00. By this time word had spread via the interubes and the Twitter and all that jazz and people started following them around. As far as I can tell, this has not stopped:

"I've been following around the Cup (all night)," said Parry, who said her favorite players are Keith and Brian Campbell because they came back from injuries.

The players took the Cup to Tavern on Rush, Gibsons, Harry Caray's, Market and other hot spots.

Babies were placed in it. Beer was poured into it. Lucky fans got to touch it.

Old Town resident Justin Jancaric, 29, said he was jogging near Tavern On Rush with his dog Elwood Blues when he saw Toews and other players sitting on the patio.

A good chunk of Chicago now has a story like this. It's like a big ESPN commercial.

Today the Hawks have their victory parade after which (by all accounts) they will be heading to the Cubs-White Sox game, again with Stanley Cup in tow. That's pretty cool.

I'm a complete bandwagon Blackhawk fan, but I have to say that they were a really fun team this season, and played a very attractive brand of up-tempo, skill-based hockey but aside from that, they also seem to genuinely like each other and appreciate fans. Can you remember tales of any other championship team basically taking a 36-48 hour tour of the city drinking establishments while being followed by throngs of average, everyday fans?

Nice work, Blackhawks.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cardinals Sign Suppan

Really. No fooling. Tom H says so.

Best news I've heard all day.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Big X

And so it begins:

Orangebloods.com: Nebraska regents have informally agreed to leave for the Big Ten. A formal announcement will come Friday.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Oh Boy...

Jim Joyce is calling balls and strikes today in Detroit.

While he massively screwed up, he did apologize and seemed to feel bad about the whole thing, and putting him out there today seems dangerous and stupid.

Would it have killed MLB to give him a day off?


Jon points out:

"They offered him a day off and he declined."

Why MLB should retroactively award Armando Galarraga with a perfect game.

1. He threw a perfect game.

2. Changing the ruling from a hit to an out would not change the outcome of the game.

3. Until they change the ruling from a hit to an out, the baseball record book will be factually inaccurate.

4. We should not treat the decisions of middle-management functionaries (umpires) as sacrosanct.

5. On mainstream sports talk radio no one appears to be in favor of doing this, which means that it is almost certainly the correct thing to do.

Mostly people are putting forth hypotheticals like:

a. What if the next guy hit a two run home run? Would you overturn the victory too?

b. What if he was awarded a perfect game based on a bad call? Would you take it away from him?

c. There's a slippery slope!

As to (a), the answer is yes. If a team is cheated out of a victory on a walk-off play I see no problem with overturning that loss. If I may posit a similar hypothetical, let's imagine that we are in sudden death overtime in an NFL game. Ryan Grant takes a hand-off from the one and breaks the plane of the goal line, however, the ref blows the call and as he is knocked back, he fumbles. Lance Briggs recovers and takes the ball all the way back for a TD.

They review the play and determine that Grant scored and the Packers are "awarded" a victory that the Bears "already had". Two questions.

i. How is this situation different?

ii. In this situation, why does it matter how much time goes by after the fact before you change the ruling? Both plays are "walk-off" events.

As to (b), yes. It may not be possible in this scenario to have the teams continue to play the game if enough time has gone by, due to logistical issues. That said, I have no problem with stripping someone of a perfect game that was not a perfect game.

As to (c), if the slippery slope is towards getting more calls right, I have no problem with it. I also think that this is a situation where it is simple to limit the slippery slope as this was a game-ending event.

Finally, I'm sick of hearing about what a nice guy Jim Joyce is or how respected he is. I don't care. That call was awful. It was an easy call. I would have more sympathy for a bang-bang play, a close play, or if his view was obstructed by something unusual. If you put me in his position, I will make this call right 100/100 times. It wasn't close. This was a monumental screw-up.

I realize it is unorthodox to change this kind of a call after the fact, but that is not a good reason not to do so. In my mind the kid threw a perfect game whether or not baseball says he did. They should make it official.

And they should use more replay.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Jim Joyce just effectively ushered in the replay era

Thank you for your incompetence sir. It stinks for Gallaraga that he had to become a martyr, but the cause is just and your sacrifice will hopefully seal the human elements fate!

Viva la robot umpires!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Trevor Hoffman

Yeah, clearly he still totally has it and can be depended on. Totally.

I saw this gem from Haudricourt on twitter (keep in ming Hart had a .972 OPS and hit 10 homers in May): Yeah, he was totally not "hot." Reporters like Tom are why we can't have nice things.

It's not like Hart is blazing hot. He had 10 homers and 22 RBI in May but batted only .255. He just keeps hitting homers.

Yeah, he was totally not "hot." Reporters like Tom are why we can't have nice things.

Suppan Survives (Again)

Marco Estrada sent down to make room for Kam Loe.