Studies Show Referees and Umpires Are Biased. Are Sports Taken Too Seriously?
November 27, 2009

Players Had Reason To Question Donaghy's Calls

Have you ever wondered if the referees in sporting contests were on the take or showing a bias toward one team?  Maybe its not as far fetched as one might think and its not a thing of the past.  Recently, an NBA referee was put in jail for conspiring with gamblers to fix games.  After he went to prison, former NBA ref Tim Donaghy was reportedly beaten in prison with speculation that the beatings may have been payback from organized crime.  Guess he shouldn’t have sung.   Now, we find that a couple of professors did a study that was published in the Journal of Sports Sciences.  They concluded that during the 2004-2005 NCAA basketball season, referees showed a bias in the calls that they made, though, in some instances there was a variance in the bias shown given the situation of a given game.  This comes on the heels of another study that shows NBA refs are biased in their calls due to race.

Study Shows Coaches May Have Reason to Be Upset

For a long time, people have claimed refs from one conference might favor a team from their conference.  That is why in bowl games, typically the refs are from a conference that is not associated with either team.   And then there is baseball.  Major League Baseball rotates their umpires from city to city so that there is no risk of cries of an arbitor being a “homer.”  Many people have complained that the umps favor the Yankees so that they can bring their huge TV market into the World Series each year.  There is even an article that charges MLB itself to use its political arm to favor the Yankees!  Then again, Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia seems to think the umps are biased in favor of the Red Sox.  Funny how no one thinks the umps favor the Astros.  Anyway, while there is no study to support the notion that the Yankees or Red Sox Nation is favored that I am aware of, academics have done a study that claims umpires make biased calls based on race.  All of this may raise eyebrows or raise questions. Milton Bradley’s question is why are the umps all against him?  But, I have a question.  Shouldn’t academics be doing research that is a little more important than using money to determine if the refs need glasses?  With universities seeming to be more inclined to entertain the alumni rather than educate students, it almost seems as if the bar for higher education is getting lower and lower.

Just Another Day at the Old Ballpark

The correct conclusion of all such studies probably should be that the refs are human and are subject to all human failings on and off the field of play.  But, perhaps there is some redeeming reason for conducting such studies because sometimes fans viewpoint that a particular referee is biased can lead to violence.  Just this past August, a referee in Kenya was killed on the field by a mob of irate fans at a youth soccer game.  In California, a football referee was attacked by fans and a volleyball referee was assaulted by the president of the high school booster club.  Oh, those crazy fans.  But what about players?  Players often say that they want to “kill the ref” but for real?  A soccer player’s threat to kill a referee was once taken quite seriously.  Do players actually follow up on such threats?  In 2004, the Philadelphia Flyers drafted Ladislav Scurko  in the 6th round.  They may have to wait a couple of decades to see a return on that draft pick.  See, the Slovakian hockey player is in jail for killing a referee.  Now, there are those in society that suggest that allowing citizens to be armed actually deters crime.  So, is it a good idea to have refs packin’ heat?  Back in 1999, a referee did exactly that and successfully defended himself to the demise of a player.  It seems in South Africa, a soccer player pulled a knife on a referee who promptly pulled his pistol and shot the player to death.  What was a player doing with a knife on the field and what was a referee doing with a gun on the field?

Kids Learn From Parents

Cricket Umpire Target of Fans

The fact that there are academics spending time and money studying the calls of referees and that there is violence in the stands at sporting events all around the world and assaults and murder taking place due to sporting events doesn’t need a study.  It is obvious that people on this planet are taking sports way too seriously.  It’s supposed to be “just a game”  but to many that is not the case at all.  One can speculate that the big money in sports is the cause.  But what about those parents and fans at high school events that attack the ref?  No money there.  But there is an increasing number of cases of violence by and among parents at youth league games.  Does the actions of parents affect the kids?  A player in Little League sucker punched an opposing player during the post game handshakes the kids go through to try and teach sportsmanship.   Maybe youth league experience is what taught Oregon star running back LaGarrette Blount to punch out a Boise State player on national TV after a game.  Just think how productive people would be and how robust the economy might be if people would take their jobs as seriously as they seem to take sports.  Perhaps all of this is just a sign of a broader decline in civilization and all participants, fans and officials are human.  Historically, humans seem to have a proclivity for violence rather than peace.  How about examining the true value of sport in society, good and bad?  Now that would be a study.  Trouble is, no one would do anything about it.  Let the games begin.

Monday Morning

Weather Bottom Line:  Looks like I was at least partially right.  I had said I didn’t see how we got to the mid to upper 40′s on Thanksgiving or Friday and that some people may not get out of the 30′s on Thanksgiving.  By afternoon on Thursday, it was in the upper 30′s in many areas and no one got out of the low 40′s.  There were sprinkles but no snow.  And even if anyone saw snow Thursday night, not too many people would believe them because it was worthless if it happened.  I would think that on Friday, low to mid 40′s will work and so it may be a few degrees warmer than I had thought but I still think that its possible that low 40′s may be the max for many people.  High pressure moves to our south moves east and we get  a return flow for the weekend bringing the mercury up to the mid 5o’s each day.  Really not a bad weekend.  Late Sunday, clouds will increase with the approach of another front.  That will probably bring some rain Sunday night into Monday.  The rest of the week looks chilly with most people never getting out of the 40′s each afternoon and overnight lows in the low to mid 30′s.  Later in the week could be interesting as a cut off low in the southwest wanders around and picks up some moisture from the Gulf.

McDonald’s is off the island; So much for free: religion, range, tv and from the bambino
October 27, 2009

no mcdonalds

icemac

Icelandic Menu Too Pricey?

Svo lengi mcdonalds kostar það of mikið að frábær stærð mig. That means “so long McDonalds. It costs too much to super size me.”  McDonald’s hasn’t been voted off the island, but it just simply can’t afford to stay there.  Seems that Mickey D’s has to import it’s materials from mainland Europe to supply its two franchises in Iceland.  Because of changing currency rates, that means that they would have to raise the price of the Big Mac to the dollar equivalent of $6.36 to turn a profit.  The Hamburglar must be doing pretty good in Iceland because that’s a crime.  And apparently the pooh-bahs at McDonald’s agree.  They are taking down the golden arches and leaving the island.  Ambrose Evans-Pritchard thinks Icelanders will survive quite well without Ronald and the gang.  But, how does he know?  I mean, Iceland now joins Albania, Armenia,Bosnia and Herzegovinia and Vatican City as the only countries in Europe that don’t have McDonalds and I dont think any of those places are exactly economic powerhouses, though Vatican City has revenues of between $300 million and $400 million.

A DAY OF FIRSTS ON THIS DATE IN HISTORY!!!

Mary Dyer Taking Her Turn At the Gallows

Mary Dyer Taking Her Turn At the Gallows

So much for religious freedom:

On this date in 1659, two men gained infamy in the Boston Commons as the first Quakers executed in the New World for their religious beliefs. Mary Dyer and William Leddra soon followed. After that, those who were sentenced to death had their sentences commuted to simply being whipped out of the colony. Marmaduke Stevenson and William Robinson had left England to seek freedom of religion. Their first mistake was to settle in the Massachusetts Colony where the Religious Society of Friends, the formal name of Quakers, was banned with the punishment of practicing their Faith being death by hanging. Seems that the Quakers opposed a central church authority and preferred to seek spiritual counseling through local Quaker meetings. They stood for a truely egalitarian society in which there was equality between men and women and they opposed the notion of slavery. Oh…such dastardly people those Quakers. Robinson and Stevenson left a legacy of staying out of Massachusetts as others who followed found refuge in Rhode Island and other colonies. But, the legacy of Massachusetts lives on. While we are taught in school that Massachusetts was the cradle of liberty, we must remember the fate of the Quakers, those who were to be bussed to get equal access to schools in the early 1970′s, the tax system in the Commonwealth and of course, all of the anti-global warming folks who opposed windmills off the coast of Cape Cod because the clean-energy devices spoiled their view. Yes, indeed. Quite a history of freedom in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Barbed Wire That Closed the Open Range

Barbed Wire That Closed the Open Range

So Much for the Free Range: On this date in 1873, Joseph Glidden applied for a patent on his version of barbed wire. He had seen the barbed wire of Henry Rose at the DeKalb County Illinois State Fair but he was not impressed. He came up with a new design that used two wires to hold the barbs firmly in place. His proved to be the first to be mass produced and his inexpensive wire fencing was up to 80 million pounds in production by 1880. By making it available to farmers en masse on the plains, it effectively brought to an end the big cattle drives because ranchers driving their cattle to market suddenly found their routes cut off by barbed wire fencing all across the plains.

If You Got Close Enough You Could See The Screen

If You Got Close Enough You Could See The Screen

So Much for Commercial Free TV

It all started on this date in 1946. Geographically Speaking debuted as a travel show on TV. It showed travel films. It was about as exciting to viewers then then as it would be today as it only ran until Dec. 1, 1946. Real clunker. But, it was the first TV show to have a sponsor, Bristol-Meyers. And we’ve had commercials on TV ever since.

 Today with everyone having a remote, advertisers have had to get more creative in order to keep us from changing channels during commercials. It’s called zapping. We see an ad and “zap” we change channels. That’s why so much money is spent on ads for TV in production. We need to be entertained as well as informed. It doesn’t work with me when there are various sports on.

Remember when cable TV first came out? It was initially promoted as the public paying for TV so we wouldn’t see commercials any more. Well, that quickly evaporated. Many of the original cable TV outlets were “superstations.” We thought it was so cool getting a New York station and a Chicago station and of course Ted Turner’s WTBS. But we quickly realized we were paying to see shows with other areas commercials. Now, we pay for cable networks so we can see more commercials. Some time when you have nothing better to do, look at the Weather Channel and count how many minutes in an hour are devoted to weather and how many to commercials. You’ll be surprised. Then you will get mad when you realize you are paying for the privilege of watching all of those commercials. At least ESPN commercials are funny.

So, now I have all of these “premium” channels that show no commercials and all movies. Of course it costs me another $15 a channel on top of the premium cable charge so I don’t have to watch commercials.
It all began on this date in 1946 on a crummy show. But, without advertisers, I’d be out of a job so by all means, frequent all of our advertisers and watch their messages. In fact, I’d recommend that, when you are tuned in to another channel and they show a commercial, zap over to channel 32. Odds are the commercial is just as good as the one you were watching and you know the news that follows will be much better…especially the weather!

Ruth Pitching 1918

Ruth Pitching 1914

So Much for the Curse of the Bambino:

On this date in 2004, the Boston Red Sox won that franchise’s first World Series since 1918. They had suffered from what is known as “the curse of the Bambino.” See, a young pitcher who was also developing as a slugger at the plate played for the Red Sox. His name was George Herman Ruth, known as Babe Ruth. He was a pretty good pitcher. He still shares the American League record for most shut outs by a left hander in a season with Ron Guidry with 9 white-washings. But, his hitting became apparent as he was hitting home runs when no one else was doing so at the time. By his 4th complete season, Ruth only pitched in 17 games but hit 29 home runs to lead the league…a new record at the time. The Sox won 4 world championships between 1903 and 1918. Ruth went to the Yankees in 1920. The story has always been that the owner, Harry Frazee sold him to finance a play. I think that is how all of the

Ruth Batting 1918

Ruth Batting 1918

movies have portrayed it. But, other sources claim that Ruth had demanded a double in his pay to $20,000 and the owner refused. When he tried to trade him, the league president supposedly wanted to mess up Frazee’s enterprise and force him to sell so he talked most of the owners out of dealing with him. The White Sox though supposedly offered Shoeless Joe Jackson and $60,000 but the Yankees, who were terrible at the time, offered $100,000. Imagine what might have happened if Frazee took the White Sox deal? As it was, Frazee took the bigger wad of cash and the Red Sox never won another World Series until 2004. So, the team was cursed. But that’s not as good as the Cubs’ curse.

Billy Goat Bellies Up To the Bar

Billy Goat Bellies Up To the Bar

I think it was in 1945, when the owner of a tavern tried to bring his lucky goat into Wrigley Field for the
World Series. He was denied and he put a curse on the Cubs, who have not won a World Series since 1908. You can visit the Billy Goat Tavern on Lower Michigan Avenue right by the Wendella Boat Tours in Chicago. Get a cheese burger and ask for a coke and see what happens. Snow White went there and asked for fries. Try that out too. BTW, I hope the curse is never broken…Go Astros.

fri12z

Friday Morning

Weather Bottom Line:  Okay…I took one on the chin.  I knew we’d get rain but I held out the prospect we wouldn’t see any until late in the day or the evening.  Only made it through midday and then the rain came. It was dreary.  The system will move out of the area leaving us with a good Wednesday and Thursday.  Thursday night, a system approaches and rain chances go up.  It still remains to be seen if we get any thunderstorms or possibly strong storms.   The convergence area is in the lower Mississippi Valley and will probably cut off any big stuff our way and the SPC outlook area goes that way with the severe risk area for Thursday night into Friday from around Memphis to the south.  Weekend looks good but with highs in the mid to upper 50′s on Saturday and near 60 on Sunday.

Grab A Blanket on This Day of Firsts: Quakers, TV, Barbed Wire and Baseball
October 27, 2008

NAM surface Temps Mon (10/27) Afternoon

NAM surface Temps Mon (10/27) Afternoon

NAM AM Temps Tue(1028)

NAM AM Temps Tue(1028)

The cold air is working its way in

…now you don’t need to go and build an igloo…it’s not going to get that cold.  In fact, if this were January we’d be saying that it was seasonal. But, it’s not January and we had temps in the upper 60′s on Sunday and so the schock will be worse than the actual temperatures.  Sorta like when we get a warm up in January or February and the afternoon gets to say 59…you see people in shorts whereas upper 50′s in September means

NAM AM Temps Wed (1029)

NAM AM Temps Wed (1029)

jackets.  Anyway, this system is very winter-like. The front comes through and we get fair skies followed by clouds as the jet stream dives down. Then as it lifts out, the clouds go away and we then start to rebound in the temperature department.  In the winter, often when the clouds roll in following the front, we get snow flurries. In this case we won’t get any precipitation.  Look for us to get to the mid 40′s by midday on Monday then we don’t go a whole lot higher due to the clouds.  In spite of the clouds, we still go to freezing or below on Monday night and then the clouds start to break up on Tuesday afternoon.  A relatively clear night on Tuesday night should send everyone down below freezing before we warm up quickly for the latter half of the week.  There is a Freeze Watch for the entire viewing area Tuesday morning.  Bring in the plants if you want to save them for a little longer.

A DAY OF FIRSTS ON THIS DATE IN HISTORY!!!

Mary Dyer Taking Her Turn At the Gallows

Mary Dyer Taking Her Turn At the Gallows

So much for religious freedom: 

On this date in 1659, two men gained infamy in the Boston Commons as the first Quakers executed in the New World for their religious beliefs. Mary Dyer and William Leddra soon followed.  After that, those who were sentenced to death had their sentences commuted to simply being whipped out of the colony. Marmaduke Stevenson and William Robinson had left England to seek freedom of religion.  Their first mistake was to settle in the Massachusetts Colony where the Religious Society of Friends, the formal name of Quakers, was banned with the punishment of practicing their Faith being death by hanging.  Seems that the Quakers opposed a central church authority and preferred to seek spiritual counseling through local Quaker meetings.  They stood for a truely egalitarian society in which there was equality between men and women and they opposed the notion of slavery.  Oh…such dastardly people those Quakers.  Robinson and Stevenson left a legacy of staying out of Massachusetts as others who followed found refuge in Rhode Island and other colonies.  But, the legacy of Massachusetts lives on.  While we are taught in school that Massachusetts was the cradle of liberty, we must remember the fate of the Quakers, those who were to be bussed to get equal access to schools in the early 1970′s, the tax system in the Commonwealth and of course, all of the anti-global warming folks who opposed windmills off the coast of Cape Cod because the clean-energy devices spoiled their view.  Yes, indeed. Quite a history of freedom in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

 

Barbed Wire That Closed the Open Range

Barbed Wire That Closed the Open Range

So Much for the Free Range: On this date in 1873, Joseph Glidden applied for a patent on his version of barbed wire.  He had seen the barbed wire of Henry Rose at the DeKalb County Illinois State Fair but he was not impressed.  He came up with a new design that used two wires to hold the barbs firmly in place.  His proved to be the first to be mass produced and his inexpensive wire fencing was up to 80 million pounds in production by 1880.  By making it available to farmers en masse on the plains, it effectively brought to an end the big cattle drives because ranchers driving their cattle to market suddenly found their routes cut off by barbed wire fencing all across the plains.

If You Got Close Enough You Could See The Screen

If You Got Close Enough You Could See The Screen

So Much for Commercial Free TV

It all started on this date in 1946. Geographically Speaking debuted as a travel show on TV. It showed travel films. It was about as exciting to viewers then then as it would be today as it only ran until Dec. 1, 1946. Real clunker. But, it was the first TV show to have a sponsor, Bristol-Meyers. And we’ve had commercials on TV ever since.

 Today with everyone having a remote, advertisers have had to get more creative in order to keep us from changing channels during commercials. It’s called zapping. We see an ad and “zap” we change channels. That’s why so much money is spent on ads for TV in production. We need to be entertained as well as informed. It doesn’t work with me when there are various sports on.

Remember when cable TV first came out? It was initially promoted as the public paying for TV so we wouldn’t see commercials any more. Well, that quickly evaporated. Many of the original cable TV outlets were “superstations.” We thought it was so cool getting a New York station and a Chicago station and of course Ted Turner’s WTBS. But we quickly realized we were paying to see shows with other areas commercials. Now, we pay for cable networks so we can see more commercials. Some time when you have nothing better to do, look at the Weather Channel and count how many minutes in an hour are devoted to weather and how many to commercials. You’ll be surprised. Then you will get mad when you realize you are paying for the privilege of watching all of those commercials. At least ESPN commercials are funny.

So, now I have all of these “premium” channels that show no commercials and all movies. Of course it costs me another $15 a channel on top of the premium cable charge so I don’t have to watch commercials.
It all began on this date in 1946 on a crummy show. But, without advertisers, I’d be out of a job so by all means, frequent all of our advertisers and watch their messages. In fact, I’d recommend that, when you are tuned in to another channel and they show a commercial, zap over to channel 32. Odds are the commercial is just as good as the one you were watching and you know the news that follows will be much better…especially the weather!

Ruth Pitching 1918

Ruth Pitching 1914

So Much for the Curse of the Bambino:

  On this date in 2004, the Boston Red Sox won that franchise’s first World Series since 1918.  They had suffered from what is known as “the curse of the Bambino.”  See, a young pitcher who was also developing as a slugger at the plate played for the Red Sox.  His name was George Herman Ruth, known as Babe Ruth.  He was a pretty good pitcher.  He still shares the American League record for most shut outs by a left hander in a season with Ron Guidry with 9 white-washings.  But, his hitting became apparent as he was hitting home runs when no one else was doing so at the time.  By his 4th complete season, Ruth only pitched in 17 games but hit 29 home runs to lead the league…a new record at the time.  The Sox won 4 world championships between 1903 and 1918.  Ruth went to the Yankees in 1920.  The story has always been that the owner, Harry Frazee sold him to finance a play.  I think that is how all of the

Ruth Batting 1918

Ruth Batting 1918

movies have portrayed it.  But, other sources claim that Ruth had demanded a double in his pay to $20,000 and the owner refused.  When he tried to trade him, the league president supposedly wanted to mess up Frazee’s enterprise and force him to sell so he talked most of the owners out of dealing with him.  The White Sox though supposedly offered Shoeless Joe Jackson and $60,000 but the Yankees, who were terrible at the time, offered $100,000.  Imagine what might have happened if Frazee took the White Sox deal?  As it was, Frazee took the bigger wad of cash and the Red Sox never won another World Series until 2004.  So, the team was cursed. But that’s not as good as the Cubs’ curse.

I think it was in 1945, when the owner of a tavern tried to bring his lucky goat into Wrigley Field for the

Billy Goat Bellies Up To the Bar

Billy Goat Bellies Up To the Bar

World Series. He was denied and he put a curse on the Cubs, who have not won a World Series since 1908.  You can visit the Billy Goat Tavern on Lower Michigan Avenue right by the Wendella Boat Tours in Chicago.  Get a cheese burger and ask for a coke and see what happens.  Snow White went there and asked for fries.  Try that out too.   BTW, I hope the curse is never broken…Go Astros.

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