July 14, 2024

The Zebra Report – 9/15/16

I was a former intramural referee in college, which I highly recommend to any college student or future college student reading this. Seriously, it’s a fun, easy job that pays decent. I take great pride in my ability to critique officials based on my five years of reffing sports at the collegiate intramural level. So here at The Tailgate Society, I will be writing a weekly column called The Zebra Report discussing the worst officiating that happened the week before. Depending on the week, I may just concentrate on one god-awful mistake or five just bad mistakes I saw that week. So let us begin with the play that gave me the idea to write this column. 

Quick recap of the situation, the Indians have the bases loaded against the Astros. There are 2 outs. Lonnie Chisenhall fouls off a curveball in the dirt throw by Astros starter David Paulino. The ball gets behind the Astros catcher, Jason Castro, because you know the ball was foul. The home plate ump, Jim Joyce, doesn’t see the foul ball, calls it a passed ball, and the Indians score 2 runs while Castro argues the call.

This is, without a doubt, one of the bigger shit shows I’ve ever seen in a Major League baseball game. So let’s start with “notorious good umpire,” Jim Joyce. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because it should. Joyce was the ump at first that blew the perfect game for Armando Galarraga. At the time we were told Joyce is a great ump that just blew that call. We are now reminded by the announcers every time Joyce does a game that he is fact a good ump. It’s like the announcers have to reassure us that we should trust Jim even if he blew one of the biggest calls in baseball history. After this play, I’m asking for a moratorium on announcers calling Jim Joyce a good ump.

There are so many things about this play that I love. I love how Castro doesn’t even go after the ball, but just turns around to argue with Joyce, like are you serious? I also love how Joyce calls timeout right before Napoli scores, on what should be a live ball if it wasn’t foul. If the ball’s not foul, why are you calling time, Jim? I love how Astros manager, A.J. Hinch, gets tossed for arguing one of the most obvious bad calls ever. This keeping with the oldest of officiating traditions – doubling down on an atrocious call. No matter the sport you can count on umps or officials never admitting a mistake, but instead punishing the coach or player for arguing their horrendous call.

I love how replay was used to put the runner that got to third back to second, but couldn’t be used to correct the awful call. What is the point of replay, if there are plays like this that can’t be reviewed? The only play in baseball that shouldn’t be reviewable is balls and strikes, and we really should have a computer doing that. I don’t buy the argument that human errors of officials is part of the game, when it doesn’t have to be. We watch sports to see who the better team is, or player. Not who benefits from the officiating the most.

Finally, A big thank you to “good ump, Jim Joyce” for being so incompetent he gave me the idea for this column.

Last Play of the Central Michigan-Oklahoma State game.

By now you’ve probably seen the ending of the Central Michigan-Oklahoma State football game, and know that the last play actually shouldn’t have happened.  I will say knowing how to properly enforce all penalties in intramural flag football is harder than passing the CPA exam. So I can’t imagine how hard actual football is at the college level. So I’m giving the refs a break for not knowing the actual rule in a unique situation that very rarely happens. I’m more frustrated with the intentional grounding call in the first place. I think games should be called by the intent of the rule, not the letter of law. Clearly the intentional grounding rule is not meant for that situation, and therefore shouldn’t have been called.

Basically every pass play K-State ran against Stanford

I’m obviously biased, but there were at least three times Stanford got away with obvious pass interference. Including a tackle of a receiver in the end zone that forced to Cats to kick a field goal. I spent the Saturday after that game being infuriated with every pass interference call I saw. College football needs to decide what it is going to do with pass interference. Either go the route of the NFL, and call everything or call very little. There is very little consistency between crews and it really hurts the games.

Joe West

With all of the shenanigans that happened after Kyle Hendricks lost his no hitter. Can everyone at this point agree that “Cowboy” Joe West is a terrible umpire, and takes himself entirely too seriously? Absolutely no one ever has started watching a baseball game and been happy when they saw Joe West was one of the umps. Joe West seems to think people buy tickets to see him, and not watch the best baseball players in the world. Joe is the exact wrong type of person you want to put in power, sadly it’s those kinds of people that often seek power in the real world and sports.

If you have any suggestions for The Zebra Report hit me up on twitter @chuckjames919 and use the hashtag #TZR.


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Charles May 4 Articles
Former Staff Writer

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