Friday, February 5, 2016

Promoting NFL Referees To Full-Time Status Would Be A Good Starting Point To Fixing League's Officiating Shortcomings

One of the more well-known of the NFL'S officials Ed Hochuli is an attorney off the field.
Photo courtesy of:
Wikimedia 
and
Thinh Nguyen
under
CC BY 2.0 License

Unless you've been living under a rock the last few years or so, I don't need to tell you that the National Football League is the most popular sport in terms of the ratings and viewership numbers it generates.  Fans of the gridiron just can't seem to get enough of for whatever reason.  Maybe it's the overall strategy of the game or the hard hits.

The allure of football would lead you to believe that it's decision makers, such as the Commissioner and the Owners would do everything in their power to ensure that the quality of the officials they employ are the best they can be.  Every professional sports league should strive for greatness from their officials. On the other side of the coin, fans know that not all officials have a perfect track record in their career.  

What football fans may not know is that unlike the other Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA) or the National Hockey League (NHL), the officials of the National Football League (NFL) have other jobs and careers in addition to the work they do on the football field.

As I've mentioned before, if you've been paying close attention, one of the things I really look at when watching sports is the work of the officials in charge of making the calls in addition to watching a game for pure entertainment value.  I know that once I really got interested in all things officiating in all the major sports, I was initially surprised by the fact that NFL officials are not employed on a full-time basis.  I must also point out that those who are among the league's best officials have my utmost respect knowing that they are doing the best job they can do while holding down another occupation.

I don't expect to see any immediate changes to the league's officiating procedures and policies on this matter any time soon but it is something worth keeping an eye on in future seasons.  In the meantime, we can continue getting whatever enjoyment you get from the most popular sport in North America. Just remember that the officials are doing the best job they can the next time you feel the urge to put your hands in your head over a blown call for whatever team you root for.

Tim Musick
Copyright 2016
All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 29, 2016

January Is The Pinnacle Of Debate For Major League's Baseball's Hall Of Fame

Photo Courtesy of: Wikimedia and Keith Allison 
under CC BY-SA 2.0 License


During the beginning of each new year, one of the hot topics of Major League Baseball's Hot Stove offseason is the debate over whether or not a certain player's playing career is worthy of Hall of Fame enshrinement.  One thing to remember about being elected into baseball's Hall of Fame is a player has to have at least 75% of the vote from the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) to get elected.  Another is that a player's time has now been shortened from 15 to 10 years.   As a diehard baseball fan, there are the elite group of players who have gotten elected over the years such as Cal Ripken Jr., Pedro Martinez and most recently Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza who are in the No Doubt category without looking at all the Sabermetric numbers from baseball's new-school approach to evaluating current and former players.

Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds would also be in the No Doubt category if it weren't for cloud of Performance Enhancing Drug suspicion over the course of their current run on the Hall of Fame ballot.  Clemens and Bonds entered 2016 having accumulated 4 years on the ballot.  Under the new rules both Bonds and Clemens have six more years on the ballot for eligibility still needing an additional 30% of the vote per Baseball Reference.  For what's it worth, Piazza was under the cloud of steroid suspicion, but since he has already been elected, it would only be appropriate to move past his credentials given that his case for The Hall is now officially closed with the upcoming induction ceremony in July.

The next category of players seem to fall under the Borderline Category in which the Sabermetric numbers either help or hurt a player's chances at enshrinement.  Players in this category include Trevor Hoffman, Curt Schilling and Edgar Martinez.  The players in this category require a deeper evaluation that the old fashioned eye test doesn't bring.

In the coming years, there's a good chance we will see some of these guys be welcomed into Cooperstown.  By that time, the verdict on the Steroid Era will hopefully become more clear.  For now though, the jury is still out.

Tim Musick
Copyright 2016
All Rights Reserved.






Monday, December 28, 2015

State Of The Angels: What Will 2016 Bring?


The Angels success in 2016 will depend on how far this man is willing to push payroll for the coming season.

For the Angels, 2015 was a year filled with inconsistency that had its fair share of ups and downs. The early part of Spring Training saw the Josh Hamilton saga come to a conclusion with a return to the Texas Rangers after a reported relapse with drugs.  Then came the inconsistent start that Mike Scioscia's club have become famous for en route to an 85-77 record.



When July rolled around, there were reports of another rift between Scioscia and past General Manager Jerry Dipoto, which led to Dipoto's resignation to find greener pastures in the Pacific Northwest as the new General Manager of the Seattle Mariners.



Fast forward to now and the Halos still have the game's longest tenured manager in the sport working under yet another General Manager in Billy Eppler to go along with owner Arte Moreno who has shown a willingness in the past to loosen the purse strings on the team payroll past the Luxury Tax threshold.  Will Moreno do so once again this off season in pursuit of a coveted World Series championship in 2016 with a Jason Heyward or Yoenis Cespedes signing?  Considering all options, that may be his only chance for true success in 2016.



This fan is still waiting patiently to see what the team looks like when 2016 Spring Training rolls around once all the off season dust is settled.



Tim Musick
Copyright 2015
All Rights Reserved.  

  

Monday, December 21, 2015

Steve Sarkisian And The NCAA Athletics Quagmire: A Call to Action for Accountability and Transparency

Photo Courtesy of: Wikimedia and Bobak Ha'Eri under
CC BY-SA 3.0 License

The Steve Sarkisian saga continues to roll along as we head toward Christmas and New Years.  The latest chapter involves a lawsuit filed by Sarkisian and his legal team against USC asking for $30 million dollars in damages.  How much of that $30 million Sarkisian gets remains to be seen.  My guess is lawyers from both sides will get together and come to some sort of financial agreement that works out for both parties.  Oh and the last time I checked, having a problem with alcohol does not count as having a disability in my book.  This is coming from a person who has an actual disability, so give me a break please!



By now, we're probably all familiar with the speech from four months ago at a USC pep rally that caused trouble for Sarkisian.



The bigger issue I want to focus on here is that going forward, athletic departments at any academic institution, big or small need to do a better job at looking closer at the individuals they hire when conducting background checks.  I realize that having issues with acoholism isn't something that should not keep an individual from being hired for a certain job position, but common sense would probably tell us that it certainly wouldn't look good to prospective employers who no doubt want to hire the best candidates for any job openings.



Photo Courtesy of: Wikimedia and Bobak Ha'Eri under
CC BY-SA 3.0 License

In USC's situation, I really have no idea what USC Athletic Director Pat Haden considered as essential job requirements when he ultimately hired Sarkisian for the USC head coaching position two years ago, especially since it's been well publicized by now that Sarkisian's issues with alcohol date back to his time as head coach for the Huskies at the University of Washington.



From Sarkisian's perspective, he will most likely be given a second chance to coach at some other university or possibly the NFL because we've seen coaches come and go in both the College and Professional ranks over the years.  All I know is that if I were in charge of the hiring process, Sark would have to get his personal life in order first before I would even consider gim him that second chance.



Tim Musick
Copyright 2015
All Rights Reserved.  




Monday, December 14, 2015

Will Smith's "Concussion": What Will the NFL Have to Say About the Fresh Prince's Latest Film?



Will Smith's newest movie Concussion is slated to hit theaters on Christmas Day.  In it, the former Fresh Prince of Bel Air star plays Dr. Bennet Omalu.  Omalu's name is most likely not well known in many households across America, but what he discovered throughout years of painstaking research has no doubt had an effect on the way the National Football League does business today.






Dr. Omalu's groundbreaking discovery is what is known today as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE.  CTE affects those athletes who have had a history of repetitive brain trauma, such as concussions.  Junior Seau is perhaps among the most well-known former NFL greats who fell victim to the disease in 2012 by committing suicide.  It wasn't until sometime later that it was discovered that Seau had been suffering from CTE.



Photo Courtesy of:Wikimediaand
Angulo otimo under CC BY-SA 3.0 License


Other than the 2013 PBS Documentary entitled League of Denial, there aren't too many works of film or television that have been a real eye-opener to the story of CTE.  The League of Denial documentary was pretty groundbreaking itself in shedding light to years of the National Football League staying quiet on an issue that over the years, greatly effected the safety of its own players. Hopefully with the Christmas Day release of Concussion, the game of football can be even greater than it already is going forward.  Not to mention possible medical advancements for treatment in the field of CTE in the coming years.



Tim Musick
Copyright 2015
All Rights Reserved.  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Rule 9.0...Whatever: The Take-Out Slide Rule

Caution!-the runner's shoes contain spiky cleats!
Photo Courtesy of:
Wikimedia
and
Stu Steeger and Mattingly23 under CC BY 2.0 License

The Take-Out slide rule seems to be well on its way to becoming reality.  In comparison to my Check-Swing rule proposal that I wrote about in a previous post, the abolishment of the Take-Out slide is of greater importance at this time for the sake of player safety.

I'll admit that I don't even know all the rules in the official Major League Baseball rule book even though it is my favorite of the 4 major professional sports in North America.  There are times when I'll learn about a new rule (new to me), that I didn't know about either during a given game broadcast or on one of MLB Network's numerous programming choices.  For all I know this kind of rule or some other version of it is probably already in the rule book.

From my own viewpoint as a fan, I want to see the best players' each team has to offer throughout the entirety of the regular season with fewer and fewer days spent on the Disabled List each year.  Over the last few years, Major League Baseball has done a good job with implementing Instant Replay and expanding it and eliminating home plate collisions. Next on the rules to-do list-addressing the action of what happens in the second base area of a baseball diamond.

Tim Musick
Copyright 2015
All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

New Addition to the MLB Rule Book-Rule 8.0...Whatever: The Check-Swing Rule

Photo Courtesy of: Wikimedia and
jimcchou and Mattingly23 under CC BY 2.0 License

Under new Commissioner Rob Manfred's leadership, Major League Baseball has not been shy about tweaking the rules and procedures of the game to give it more of a modern-day feel and not be left in the dust by the other big three sports.  Instant Replay has been implemented and expanded upon and home plate collisions are seemingly no more.  Following in the Commissioner's overall goal of considering all areas to improve America's Pasttime, I bring forth two new rules for Major League Baseball to consider.


The first one as listed above is the Check-Swing rule.  The numbering of the rule is not important. You could give it any number designation to be included in MLB's Official Rulebook as long as it was implemented.  The new Check-Swing rule would be pretty simple to implement and follow in that this new rule would make it mandatory for the home plate umpire to appeal with the first or third base umpires on all check swings.  This new rule would hopefully further curb manager and player outbursts against home plate umpires who take it upon themselves to make a judgement call from a vantage point on a baseball field that isn't best suited to determine if a player made a full swing at a 95 mile per hour fastball or any other pitch a pitcher delivers to the batter from 60 feet 6 inches away.


Tim Musick
Copyright 2015
All Rights Reserved.