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Sports has no shortage of dumb things to ruin your sleep

Rochester Business Journal
June 11, 2010

It was a tough night. I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned so much my wife thought I was having an attack of some sort. My immediate response was no, but then I realized I was having an attack—not of some sort, though, but of some sport. Actually, make that plural—some sports.

I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure it started with …

Tennis. More specifically, the French Open tournament. Tennis is a neat sport to watch, even if you’re sitting at mid-court and have to keep moving your head back and forth to follow the ball. I even play tennis occasionally, albeit not very well.

However, why in the name of Bjorn Borg do some players, mostly women, grunt, and really loud, every time they hit the ball? I could understand it if they were chopping down a gigantic redwood tree or trying to pick up a pickup. But they’re hitting a ball that weighs next to nothing with a racket that’s only slightly heavier. Makes me want to mute the TV.

Do they grunt when they’re raking leaves, changing their sheets, or moving clothes from the washer to the dryer? Of course not! So, all you grunting guys and gals, cool it! OK?

NBA and NHL. Both leagues have 82 games in their regular seasons. Both leagues have 30 teams and in both leagues 16 of them—53 percent—make the playoffs, which is why the NBA finals will be over barely before summer officially arrives. Why?

Games 3 and 4 of the NBA finals between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers were Tuesday and Thursday this week and they don’t play again until Sunday. Why?

Frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me if they come up with a new playoff format for next season to stretch out the playoffs even longer. Such as, play the first half of each game one day and play the second half two days later. That way, the season wouldn’t end in mid-June but closer to Labor Day. Why?

The answer to all the whys is quite simple. Or as someone once put it, “Money. Why does anybody do anything?”

Instant Replay. Or lack thereof, especially in baseball after the blown call by veteran umpire Jim Joyce with two outs in the ninth inning June 2. It kept Detroit’s Armando Galarraga from pitching a perfect game—27 up, 27 down—and out of the game’s history book, or at least off the right page of the history book.

Joyce apologized profusely, admitting he blew it when he called Cleveland’s Jason Donald safe. And as you know, MLB commissioner Bud Selig could have reversed the call but did not. The weak argument was that human error is part of the game.

There are instances, though, when that should not be the case. Had the call been in the fourth or fifth inning, no big deal; but it wasn’t. What if it had been the last out in the last inning of Game 7 of the World Series and changed the outcome of the game? This “Oh well, we all make mistakes” baloney is ridiculous.

Let’s see … a DNA test can overturn a jury’s ruling in a criminal trial, but instant replay can’t overturn a historic bad call in a baseball game. Sorry, but there’s something wrong with that picture. If baseball, or any other sport for that matter, had the integrity of golf, Donald would’ve called time out and said, “Sorry ump, but the throw beat me. I was out.”

Someone suggested giving the managers two calls for replays, a la the NFL. Great idea, but don’t hold your breath.

Dumb Golf Rule. Let’s say you’re on the PGA Tour, playing for $1 million first-place money and tied for the lead going to the 72nd hole. Or, maybe you’re just playing a pal in a $2 Nassau and you need to win the hole to save a couple of bucks.

So you tee off and hit your drive right down the middle, 225 yards, 325 yards or somewhere between, whichever applies to your game. Then you arrive at your ball and there it is, in the bottom of a deep, gouged out divot that some dummy didn’t repair. And the rule is, you have to play it.

 In other words, despite hitting a perfect drive you are penalized for someone else’s blunder. It’s OK for you and some others to move a huge boulder so you can have a clear shot—they did just that for Tiger Woods a while back—but you don’t get a free drop from a hole in the middle of the fairway. That makes no sense.

 Anyway, now that I’ve gotten those gripes off my chest, I’m sure I’ll sleep better tonight. And do me a favor: Don’t grunt after you read this.

Rick Woodson’s column appears each Thursday on the Rochester Business Journal website at His book, “Words of Woodson,” is available at Listen to his weekly program, “The Golf Tee,” at 9 a.m. Sunday on WHTK-AM 1280 and FM 107.3.


What You're Saying 

Ronald Scott at 1:44:52 PM on 6/11/2010
Hello Rick, great column this week, don't some pitchers do the same thing (Rroger Clemens) weight lifters grunt, supposed to give a sudden energy boost.

If Commissioner Selig changed the call, and a perfect game was recorded, what would have it accomplished? He was in...  Read More >

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