Archive for Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Making the correct call isn’t easy

March 12, 2008

One local sports talk show had a segment last week on the officiating of college and NFL football.

Many callers said bad the officiating cost teams a victory last season.

This is understandable because the officials are not perfect.

If the officials had the luxury of instant replay, they could always make the right call. Over the years as a player, coach, and umpire, I have defended officials at times. Honestly, at other times, I have done my share of bashing.

But in support of the officials in the NFL last season, officials were right on most challenged calls. When the call was challenged officials were correct on most occasions.

I would say there would be a penalty on every play, especially holding, if you went back and looked at the tape of a game.

I am still upset over a call several years ago where Notre Dame was robbed of a victory over USC.

The video tape showed the USC running back was pushed over the goal line by his t team mates for the winning touch down.

Later in the week, I heard the commissioner of Pac 10 Officials state it was a bad call and the touchdown should not have counted.

It was definitely an infraction of the rules, but then he said that they usually don't make that call.

In that case why not just take the rule out?

The bottom line is, referees have a difficult task in calling a game.

On a local level, we had an experience years ago, in our summer little league baseball program where we received a protest in a game.

The play protested was on a foul ball call. The bases that we used back then were not fancy, but were the pegged down type.

The base had become dislodged and was laying about 3 feet in foul territory when the ball was hit going over the bag. The umpire called it a foul ball strike and the coached became upset. He said the ball went over the bag and according to the rules should have been a fair ball.

I was the baseball director with the job of handling protests and I ruled in favor of the umpire.

Well, the coach became upset again and claimed it was a fair ball since the ball went over the bag.

My ruling was appealed and I called two umpire associations in the area and got a different decision from each one.

In an effort to settle the appeal, Recreation Director Dick Burns put a call in to the umpire crew that was in Kansas City to work a Kansas City A's game.

Burns got in contact with a crew chief explaining the situation and the crew chief said, "Enough said. What did the umpire call?"

Burns replied, "A foul ball." The crew chief said, "Then, it was a foul ball."

I handled several protests over the years but this was the only time we got the American League Umpire Association involved.


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