One thing I love about Golf is that there are no referees that can change the outcome of a Tournament, unless the player themselves made a big mistake during the round, or in the scorers tent with a gaffe on the scorecard. There are a ton of rules in Golf, but what’s amazing is that they aren’t arbitrary as they are in other sports. Yes folks, Golf is a Sport, because the late Jim Murray wrote about it, as well as Horse Racing, Baseball, etc. In case you haven’t heard or read any Jim Murray, here are a few quotes from the Pulitzer Prize winning sports writer:
"Willie Mays' glove is where triples go to die"
"I don't know what it is, but I can't look at Hulk Hogan and believe that he's the end result of millions and millions of years of evolution."
"I never saw any of man's baser acts of inhumanity to man. I never saw screaming 'witches' burned at the stake, Christians tossed to starving lions, maidens pushed over the edge of active volcanoes. I never even saw a man going to the electric chair. But until I do, watching Ben Hogan walk up to a five-foot putt is my idea of cruel and inhuman punishment, only a Hitler would enjoy. You feel like saying 'Go home to your wife and kiddies and don't look upon this terrible thing!'"
"I'd like to borrow his body for just 48 hours. There are three guys I'd like to beat up and four women I'd like to make love to." - on Muhammad Ali
Heck, Jerry Rice got disqualified from a Nationwide event (which he was the host!) because his Caddie used a Range finder. Rice didn’t realize he was cheating. Listen Jerry, you are allowed up to 14 sanctioned clubs in your bag, one of which should not be a "chipper", and your Caddie should never have to use a range finder. Because if he or she has to, they aren’t a Caddie worth a damn. You’re better off betting $1000 Nassau’s with Michael Jordan at Pebble. Even Tony Romo knows not to use a Range Finder is his quest to qualify for the US Open. Romo is better than both of you, BTW.
Ok, enough about Golf. Let’s talk NBA. Well, let me rant about it for a few here. Now, being that the NFL at this moment is as boring as it can get, the one sport that should occupy a small part of my already shrinking brain - before the aforementioned US Open - is the NBA playoffs. As much as I love the San Francisco 49ers, this should be my mini vacation away from them, being that they aren’t playing competitive football at this moment. My focus now is one more chance at an NBA Championship for my basketball team, the Los Angeles Lakers who won it all last season. But even though I don’t like to blame a loss on officiating (face it fellow Laker fans - the bench sucks) when it comes to either the Lakers or the 49ers, I still can’t abide the debacle of officiating, even when it hurts a team I really hate in the Boston Celtics in a playoff game against the Orlando Magic last night. I give a lot of credit to the Magic for beating the Celtics in a tough, physical game (which aged the Celtics in a hurry). Yet at the same time, I really was hoping someone had pictures of David Stern taking money from a big time Vegas casino sports book to get finally get rid of him from the NBA for good.
Just why are there rules in any sport if they are easily manipulated?
After the jump, why I dream of Donald Sutherland meeting me at the steps of Lincoln’s Memorial, to explain to me why I’m not crazy...
Of course, if there was a "conspiracy" to crown a new King in the NBA, Lebron James would still be playing competitive basketball. The thing is, he isn’t in Chicago, Miami, or New York. Even without James in the playoffs, Phil Knight still will make $$$. Kobe Bryant’s jersey will still be a global sensation. Money talks, and whistles sing. Now, I try not to become jaded when it comes to sports. I’ve been fortunate enough to have witnessed my beloved teams win Championships. Well, at least two of them anyway. I’ve also seen favorable calls go to both of those teams. The "Catch II" would have never happened if the refs called a fumble on Jerry Rice. Shaquille O’Neal owned the paint without getting many traveling calls on him taking more than two steps driving to the basket after posting up. Karl Malone’s elbows would have put Big Baby Davis in a coma. The one thing that kills me in the NBA is when the refs "let the players play", and put their whistles in their pockets. If that isn’t controlling the game by the arbitrary whistle, then the NBA thinks we are all stupid. Guess what? They are right.
The New England Patriots have violated and used rules to their advantage in their run as a recent Dynasty. Well, basically, the rules were pretty arbitrary, like the "Tuck Rule", or the officials not really enforcing the Patriot defensive backfield mugging the soft St. Louis Rams wide receivers in the 2001 Super Bowl. The NFL has adjusted their rule book to help benefit the offense. Whereas the NBA has 24 seconds to score, the NFL has really only 5 to 7 seconds to do that. Howie Long chased down Bob McKittrick after a game because he thought the 49ers used an illegal "leg whip" tactic from the offensive line. Mike Shanahan still uses a "cut block" scheme with his offensive line. Defensive Backs are handcuffed against Wide Receivers, unless you were the Patriots on said 2001 Super Bowl. Tony Siragusa’s fat ass rolling on Rich Gannon for a few more seconds without a whistle was a decisive play.
Whistles benefit a better player against a lesser player. Whistles create momentum. In the NBA, when you have trouble scoring, you can use the officials by creating fouls. In the NFL, fouls are committed as soon as the ball is snapped on either side of the ball. In both sports, the officials are older, and slower than the players themselves. They also have the upper hand. What pisses me off about the NBA and the NFL is that a coach, owner, and player cannot criticize the officiating without some sort of repercussion, even though they are right. Kendrick Perkins will be vindicated today after getting ejected last night. Why? Because, where was the freakin’ foul?
I really don’t know if team sports are worth watching anymore as long as you have a referee. Even when we go out and support our kids in sports, it comes down to how the game is called. What kills me is that I know what I see is a foul, and I know what isn’t. What kills me even more is that the guys with the whistles don’t.
In Golf, it’s about the player vs. the course. That’s a pure sport, and Jim Murray knew that.
BTW, this post is dedicated to Fooch. Knee deep in Bar Exams, he stills knows how to have a cool drink, keep up with his team and his blog, and deny that his Celtics are old.