Friday, April 20, 2007

Phickle Thoughts: Sports Edition

I was able to watch only a little bit of the Wild's playoff series, and what I did see left me feeling a bit disappointed. The Ducks were simply too good to keep up with. It was a great reminder of how exciting playoff hockey can be though, and I look forward to more playoff series in the Wild's future.
Speaking of the NHL Wild/Ducks series, Brad May is a goon and a thug.
On to basketball, where it was nice to see someone step up and challenge the ultimate authority that referees can have. I've always liked Tim Duncan. Referees can often have too big an effect in sports - especially basketball - and when they don't actively try to fade into the background it can be the biggest frustration. Usually a team can overcome bad officiating, and it's rarely an excuse for a loss, or at least it's rarely the single excuse for a loss, but that doesn't change the extreme frustration. I think what really gets fans so irritated is the fact that they usually wish they could affect the outcome of the game; that they could call the play, or choose the match-up, or put on the sacrifice bunt. Of course, they can't, and that's obviously a good thing; no third party should be able to affect the game between the two teams. But that's exactly what an official gets to do, and when they don't do a good job of officiating the neutral playing field instead gets tilted. The frustration for a fan isn't just that their team is disadvantaged, but is centered more on the fact that the integrity of the game itself is compromised. The obviously good neutrality is exposed as a fraud. And nobody likes being defrauded.

Oh, but of course I think David Stern may have overreacted in his punishment of the ref, but that's par for the course with Stern.
On to baseball, where the Twins currently have the best record in the AL! (Knock on wood).
A great recap of the Twins' second win against the Mariners can be found at Batgirl. It's hilarious, and well worth the read, for anyone who likes the Twins, baseball, or Monty Python.
And in very happy news, this weekend I'll be heading up to Cooperstown (along with my wife and a friend of ours) to visit one of my closest friends and, of course, tour the Baseball Hall of Fame. I'll have to remember to bring some tissues, since the depth, beauty, and meaning of baseball are one of the only things that can make me basebawl. I fully expect tears at the Kirby Puckett plaque, among others. I can hardly wait.

Everything you own in the box to the left


Jeff said...

I tell you who has a refereeing problem - soccer. I was watching New England-Columbus last night and a Columbus player hauled off and elbowed a NE player in the face... and the ref called NOTHING. Oh, and did I mention the diving? Like how Italy won the World Cup because of their superior diving abilities? Basketball folk have nothing to whine about.

Matthew B. Novak said...

Oh yeah, soccer is bad too. But let's face it, basketball and soccer are pretty much two sports operating on the same principles (same as hockey too), and so probably suffer from about the same level of ref-induced crappiness.