Written by Joe Kleinsasser Wednesday, 11 June 2008 08:26
Two recent sports-related stories naturally caught my attention, which started a lively discussion with my agent, I.M. Slick.
One story said the NBA will fine players next season for clear cases of flopping. The other involved the likelihood of Major League Baseball using replay in some situations.
Joe: Considering the NFL, NBA, NHL, some NCAA sports and major tennis tournaments all employ a form of instant replay, it’s only a matter of time until Major League Baseball does the same.
Slick: That makes no sense. I’m totally against the use of replays.
Joe: Huh? I thought sure you’d favor the use of replays. I didn’t realize you have so much confidence in officiating.
Slick: Oh, I’m confident all right—confident that umps and officials in all sports make plenty of bad calls. In the past month or so, umps at Yankee Stadium reversed a correct call and concluded that a home run was foul.
The following night in Houston, umpires mistakenly ruled a ball off a center-field wall was in play.
And, again at Yankee Stadium, a ball hit by Alex Rodriguez that struck a stairway beyond the outfield fence and bounced back into the outfield was ruled a double when it should have been a home run.
Joe: So why are you against the use of replays to correct bad calls?
Slick: For one thing, it could eliminate unnecessary arguments, and that could take half the fun out of the game. Questionable calls usually bring a manager onto the field to throw a child-like temper tantrum. That’s all part of the fun.
Joe: If you think you’re so smart, consider this. We know umpires are human and make mistakes. Don’t you think replay officials also are human and make mistakes? There will still be plenty of opportunities for grown men to act like children, kicking dirt, throwing equipment and so on.
Slick: It just wouldn’t be the same. How can the manager get in the face of a replay official who is sitting in a secluded room far from the field of play? It would be pathetic watching grown men yelling and screaming at no one in particular.
Joe: So what do you make of plans by the NBA to fine players for clear cases of flopping?
Slick: I think it’s kind of funny. Sports are a form of entertainment. Acting is a form of entertainment. It doesn’t make any sense to penalize someone for being a good actor.
Joe: I think you’ve got it wrong. The truly good floppers won’t be penalized. I think the new rule will only penalize athletes who are bad actors.
Slick: For once you might be right. It will be interesting to see if serial floppers will be subject to possible suspensions after a certain number of fines for flopping.
Joe: I read that the league office has yet to determine exact fine amounts for offending flops and how fines might escalate for repeat offenders, but in-game arena observers and video reviewers will be instructed to report instances of theatrical flopping for potential punishment as part of postgame reports on officiating and other matters.
Slick: So let’s get this straight. We’re not just going to have replay officials, but replay officials who are responsible to review possible flopping. That could open a real can of worms. Players will appeal, saying, “I wasn’t flopping. I was just clumsy. See how I tripped over my own feet?”
Joe: It looks like a whole new career field may be starting for replay officials.
Slick: By the way, let’s end this conversation on a humorous note.
Did you see the headline of the week from the breaking news scroll on the sports-parody site sportspickle.com?
Joe: No. What did it say?
Slick: Strikeout mistakenly ruled a home run.