January 21, 2020

The Zebra Report – 9/22/16

Since there weren’t any just atrocious moments from referees this last week,this week’s Zebra Report will just discuss things we see every week that frustrate me greatly. So let’s start with everyone’s favorite topic. What the fuck is a catch in the NFL?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines catch as “ to use your hands to stop and hold (an object that is moving through the air).” That seems simple enough. I think anybody over the age of five knows what a catch is. Yet somehow, the NFL has turned a catch into something on par with the search for the Higgs Boson particle. I would copy and paste the NFL definition of a catch, but it’s a page long, so here is the link if you want to peruse for yourself.

The NFL has turned one of the more simpler words in the English language into a definition that takes a page, and still no one really knows what a catch is. So my proposal is having a seven year-old in the NFL review headquarters, and whenever a review involves a catch, that doesn’t involve whether the player was in bounds, the seven year-old looks at it, and decides if he or she thinks the player caught the ball or not.

My next issue is with balls and strikes in Major League Baseball, can we go to a computer yet to call balls and strikes? I get that the human element of officiating is appreciated, and it makes the games more fun. Balls and strikes being called correctly is more crucial to the game of baseball than say, if holding was called correctly in football. Balls and strikes is the basic part of baseball. They need to get that right, or else the whole sport breaks down. Honestly it’s not the umpire’s fault. Deciding on whether a ball moving 90 mph with four inches of movement ended up in the strike zone is close to beyond human capabilities. It’s rather impressive we’ve gotten this far with human umpires, but if we have the technology to constantly call balls and strikes every time, why wouldn’t we do it? I propose having a challenge system to balls and strikes like tennis has, not every call is decided by the computer, but the big points, and egregious errors can be fixed by computers. I know this would be a blow to an umpire’s precious self-esteem, but when we have the technology why not use it?

Finally, basketball is almost upon us, so let’s discuss the charge/block rule in college basketball. The charge by a help defender should be banned. I say this as someone who’s primary defensive skill was sliding in on help defense to take charges. Seriously, I took a charge in an intramural game – no one valued the charge like I did. Sadly, it makes the game much less fun and watchable. We watch basketball to see players make moves, get by their defenders, and make shots. Not to watch guys stand in the middle of the lane while someone runs into them. College basketball has done a much better job of calling less charges the last couple years, but there are still charge calls that infuriate me as a fan of the game. So let’s ban them for a season and see how much the game improves.
As always I’m always looking at suggestions for next week’s Zebra Report. Just hit me up on twitter @chuckjames919 and use the hashtag #TZR.

Charles May
Charles May 4 Articles
Former Staff Writer

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