April 28, 2010

Randy Youngman of the Orange County (CA) Register gave us this rant:

“Today’s sports quiz: Which professional sport has the most referees?
Hint: There are usually more than 100 at one event — and potentially millions.
Time’s up.
It’s golf, of course.
In a PGA Tour event with 156 players in the field, each is a referee with the responsibility to call a penalty on himself if so warranted. There also are rules officials who are on hand to offer advice when players are in doubt or impose penalties if necessary — or if a player such as Michelle Wie disagrees with a particular ruling.
And then there are the millions of TV viewers, who, unfortunately, are allowed to bring a potential rules violation to the attention of tournament officials if they think they see one. (“Hey, this is Eddie from Escondido. Was Craig Stadler allowed to kneel on that towel?”) They are all armchair referees, too.
Can you imagine if all sports enforced their rules this way?
What if an outfielder made a diving catch, jumped up and ran to the umpire to say he had trapped the ball on a short hop?
Or if an NFL offensive lineman told the referee he had moved before the snap, nullifying that touchdown pass?
Or if an NBA player said he had fouled an opponent on that three-pointer that hit the front of the rim in the closing seconds at Staples Center?
That’s taking it too far, isn’t it?
And golf takes it too far as well, as we all learned again two weeks ago when Brian Davis called a two-stroke penalty on himself during the first hole of a sudden-death playoff with Jim Furyk at the Verizon Heritage in Hilton Head, S.C.
Playing his third shot from a hazard below the green on the 18th hole at Harbour Town, Davis thought there was a chance he had nudged a reed during his backswing before pitching the ball over the rocks onto the green. It was admirable that he immediately relayed his uncertainty to a rules official, who then watched a replay of the shot and determined that, yes, the reed had been illegally touched because it was a loose impediment and not rooted in the ground.
Replays showed that the reed oscillated but wasn’t displaced by the contact. But a rule is a rule, so a two-stroke penalty was assessed even though no competitive advantage was gained, essentially handing the tournament to Furyk. It was very doubtful Davis would have won even without the penalty, because Furyk needed only to 2-putt to clinch it, but that’s not the issue here.
I think it would be much better if there had been a rules official watching Davis take the shot and determine if there had been a violation, instead of placing the onus on him while he was concentrating on his shot and trying to win his first tour event.
Yes, I know golf is trumpeted as a sport of integrity and, thus, players are supposed to police themselves. If that is so, why do players exchange scorecards and keep track of the number of strokes the other takes on each hole. Wouldn’t a player of integrity count all of his own strokes?
Golf is a great sport, but there are too many referees. And too many dumb rules.”

T.J. Simers writes for the LA Times but hasn’t lost any of his NY area way of looking at a story:

“Tim Leiweke slugged me.

It’s probably been a long time coming, but when it happened, it was so unexpected.

I’m just sitting there like a dedicated Kings fan Sunday evening, two rows from the ice while wearing my official team sweater, name on the back along with No. 2, no lie, and Leiweke jumps out of his seat sounding almost delirious as he yells, “Kopie, Kopie.”

I don’t even get the chance to say, “Who’s Kopie?”

Whoever he is, he apparently disappoints Leiweke, and since I’m sitting beside him, I get smacked.

Now I understand why his wife, Bernadette, has offered me her seat. “Thanks for taking one for the team,” she says.

I don’t recall how far back it goes, but Leiweke invited me to join him for a hockey game. Not knowing he’s a mad man once the puck is dropped, I said I might go. This whole business about Philip Anschutz being a recluse is nonsense — he’s just hiding from Leiweke.

I told Leiweke I’d join him if he arranged it so David Beckham was sitting beside me.

But as you know, waiting for Beckham to do anything in this town is a huge waste of time, so I joined Leiweke for the Kings’ final game of the season.

Eh, where else would you rather be besides your own couch at home, a movie, out to dinner, listening to the Grocery Store Bagger talk about his day at work or undergoing a colostomy.

Leiweke is dressed all in black like a gangster or a hockey governor who appears clueless for so many years in putting a team together. But he’s got his team now, he says, and so does L.A.

Some of those on his staff are growing beards, some kind of disgusting hockey tradition, but Leiweke is clean shaven.

“You deal with bankers and walk in looking like Grizzly Adams and it’s not going to work,” Leiweke says, while pointing to a chair and calling it his “lucky seat.”

I take it he didn’t sit there the previous eight years.

When it’s time to start, it’s bedlam. Every fan has been given a white towel and they are waving them. I never understood why a franchise on the verge of surrender would have their fans waving white towels.

“Isn’t this great,” Leiweke says, loving the fans’ support, while also screaming, “Hey ref, you ever going to call anything? What about that cross-check? Ref, ref, ref.”

A few minutes later a fan compliments Leiweke for getting on the ref, the official calling a penalty on Vancouver, Leiweke saying, “don’t print that or [NHL Commissioner Gary] Bettman will get ticked.”

Obviously Leiweke is no Phil Jackson.

“I pay for these seats,” Leiweke finally concludes, “so yeah, I can say what I want. Hey ref ”

He has a suite for his own use, but he’s bought four seats to every game in this corner of the arena. He might be the team’s best season-ticket holder, as well as its most passionate fan.

Bruce McNall, a former Kings owner, walks by.

Leiweke believes in treating McNall as a guest in the name of franchise history and provides him free tickets. That must explain why Clippers VP Andy Roeser is here.

“It’s big we’re in the playoffs, but now we’ve gotten big out of the way,” Leiweke says, while up on the scoreboard they are showing Wayne Gretzky in attendance. Those were the days.

“There was a time when we heard the abuse thrown our way, and we deserved it,” says Leiweke, the Kings having six winning seasons in the 14 under AEG.
“We gave these fans no reason to support us, but they hung with us. These are the most loyal fans in town.”

The Kings score first, and it’s like Leiweke has just gotten the OK from the city to subsidize a new football stadium. He’s running around, tapping rolled fists with anyone who will do so.

“We’re going to be even better next year,” he gushes, while also keenly aware what success might mean for AEG’s credibility in the marketplace.

“The Kings are what brought us here, it’s important we show everyone we have the ability to make them successful.”

The Kings end the first period ahead, everyone adjourning to the Chairman’s Room for a sip of wine, and I mean everyone.

A good time is had by all, but Leiweke can’t stop worrying about Vancouver’s Sedin twins. “Good God, they are animals,” he says.

The score is tied in the third period, but then one of the Sedin animals scores, and the season is over. Yet there is still a feeling of promise in the air.

“This team is going to win the Stanley Cup in the next couple of years,” Leiweke says. “But it’s got to go through growing pains. And they hurt.”

I know. I have the bruises to prove it.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: