June 19, 2006

Comfortably Numb

  • Haven't had too much of a chance to see how other people have been reacting to last night's Game 5 of the NBA Finals, but I thought the end of the game was handled pretty atrociously from both an officiating and TV broadcasting standpoint. First of all, officiating: The foul call Dwayne Wade got driving to the basket was ridiculous. He tried to dribble through three guys and barely got touched, if at all, while throwing up some junk at the basket, and the refs bailed him out (apparently Cuban thinks Wade pushed off before he got to the hoop). What really bothered me about this sequence is that it came right on the heels of Dirk Nowitzki hitting one of the great shots of these playoffs, a desperate high-arching fall-away with Shaq running at him that somehow went down. And to have the game end on a phantom, superstar foul call after a play like that really cheapened what should have been an incredible finish.
  • That semi-sickening feeling only became worse with the whole Josh Howard timeout fiasco. From what I can tell, no major fault lies with the officiating here -- Howard clearly signaled for a time out after the first free throw (thereby negating any chance Dallas had of advancing the ball after the second free throw because it was the team's last time out), and the ref did his job by giving him the time out, as requested. But here's where ABC's broadcast team failed. Play-by-play man Mike Breen in particular was rather baffled as to why Dallas coach Avery Johnson would be arguing with the refs about this turn of events. But if Breen were watching closely (which he apparently wasn't), he would have seen that Avery kept holding up two fingers while he berated the refs. After thinking about this for a couple of minutes to try to figure out what was going on (since I was getting no help from the people who were in the arena to tell me about the game), I realized that Avery must have been angry at the refs because he had already informed them, prior to Howard boneheadedly taking a time out, that he wanted to call time after the second free throw, no matter what. So he must have felt that this request should trump any other instructions or any other signals his players or anyone else might make. You can see his point, too, and it would have made for an interesting on-air debate -- except that ABC completely missed it. Nice job.

  • It has recently come to my attention that the White Sox have a minor league pitcher in their system named Ray Liotta. I wonder if he's ever in a moment of frustration called the actor of the same name a "no-talent ass clown."
  • In one of the worst pleas for attention I've seen in some time, former Oriole David Segui has admitted, with little to no reason to do so, that he used HGH (legally, mind you), during his Major League career. Apparently Segui's name was one of the famously redacted ones from the Jason Grimsley affidavit, and he decided this might be a good time to put a slight blemish on his almost completely neutral reputation. Honestly, what are you doing, David? First of all, no one really cared about you before. And in retirement you had even become even more anonymous. And now, with your "Hey, look, I used HGH too! Look at me! (But don't get mad because I had a prescription)" announcement you just seem kind of desperate. I suppose Segui might have been worried people might find out his name was on the affidavit and decided he would make a pre-emptive strike to explain himself (by the way, why do we redact stuff if it's eventually going to come out anyway? Really gives you faith in the whole redacting process). But he probably should have just kept his mouth shut, because he's kind of taken the whole fun out of wondering who the redacted names were. I for one would rather have the blacked-out name than the knowledge that we wasted our time speculating about the likes of David freaking Segui. Could a redacted name get any less interesting? Booooooo.
  • And speaking of disappointing, this seems like a perfect time to discuss the plight of my hometown Atlanta Braves, who are in the midst of their worst season since I was 12. Frankly, this hurts. I'm not spoiled or stupid enough to think that it wasn't ever going to happen. What really chaps my ass, though, is the knowledge that beleaguered righty Chris Reitsma (known in my circle as "Fuckin' Reitsma"), without a doubt the worst reliever in the majors this year, spent much of the season pitching with a nerve problem in his hand that meant he had little idea where the ball was going when he released it. Yet he somehow opted to keep this a secret until the precise point at which he couldn't bottom out any further. And he probably cost the Braves 10 games this year, if not more. Well done. Before I pile on Reitsma too hard here, let me say I do understand the whole concept of trying to pitch through pain and help the team, and I'm sure that pro athletes don't want to disclose injuries for fear that they might lose their spot or role if they miss time, but there is such a thing as being noble (or whatever he was being) to the detrement of the team, and this was such an instance. The fact of the matter is, I kind of feel sorry for Reitsma -- I recently heard from a friend that Reitsma was recently out somewhere with his kid when a random fan rolled up on him and told him that he sucked. I don't care how mad you are, telling someone how terrible they are in front of their kid just ain't cool. Even if it is true. (Which it is.)


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