SBD/Issue 28/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • MLB Umpires Under Fire For Three Missed Calls In ALCS Game Four

    Replay Reveals Napoli Tagged Both Posada
    And Cano, Should Have Been Double Play
    The umpires from last night's Yankees-Angels ALCS Game Four "need some friends today, not to mention possibly a replay booth," as the game "was an umpiring Titanic," according to Mike Lopresti of USA TODAY. Three calls from last night's game are being debated after replays revealed them to be incorrect. The Angels in the fourth inning attempted to pick-off Yankees RF Nick Swisher at second base, but umpire Dale Scott incorrectly ruled him safe. Umpire Tim McClelland later that inning ruled that Swisher left third base too early when attempting to tag up on a fly ball to centerfield, though replays determined that call to be incorrect as well. Lopresti writes, "So to review, Swisher should have been out when he was safe and should have been safe when he was out." Meanwhile, in the fifth inning, Angels C Mike Napoli tagged both Yankees C Jorge Posada and 2B Robinson Cano near third base. Neither player was "actually on the bag," so it should have been a double play. But McClelland only called Posada out, "thinking Cano is still on the bag." McClelland later said, "Obviously, or not obviously, there were two missed calls. I'm just out there trying to do my job and do it the best I can." Lopresti writes bad calls "became fine print," as the Yankees "took the variables out of Game 4, including the umpiring" by winning 10-1. Lopresti: "Good thing" (USA TODAY, 10/21).

    ONGOING TREND: In Boston, Nick Cafardo writes umpiring mistakes "even out over the regular season, but these guys have brought their worst performances for the playoffs when they need to have their best." Cafardo: "What bothers me the most is with six umpires on the field, why aren't there more conferences? Why doesn't an umpire who might have seen a play differently say, 'Let's talk about this so we can get it right?'" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/21). In Newark, Brian Costa writes while none of last night's calls "proved decisive" in the game, they were "nonetheless an embarrassment for Major League Baseball, which already has had its share of umpiring issues this postseason" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 10/21). In N.Y., Billy Witz writes the MLB Playoffs "have at times been one big slapstick routine" for the umpires, who have "executed some calls with all the clarity of Abbott and Costello." The umpires for last night's game "provided more head-slapping moments" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/21). Fox Business' Connell McShane: "The umpires have been brutal for the whole entire postseason" (Fox Business, 10/21). In N.Y., Bill Madden writes, "Once again, the umpires have reared their ugly heads with blown calls marring the postseason." A former MLB umpire said, "These guys are disgracing the profession" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/21). YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Kaduk wrote under the header, "Umpire Tim McClelland Makes The Worst Call Of All Time." Kaduk: "There are simply no words for the ruling, other to say that one of the five other umpires should've offered his assistance, McClelland shouldn't ump another game in this series and that it's time for Bud Selig to stop being stubborn and expand the use of instant replay in baseball past disputed home run calls" (, 10/20).

    CALLS FOR REPLAY RE-IGNITED: ESPN's Buster Olney said, "They should go to replay right now. … Major League Baseball has a choice -- do they get the calls right or do they just look the other way?” Olney: "They have the technology with high definition and multiple angles to get the calls right. Use it!” ESPN's Mike Greenberg: "No one could possibly explain in a way that makes sense to me why that is good, why it is better not to correct that mistake. ... These moments are glaring and they have happened repeatedly throughout this postseason." ESPN's Mike Golic: "They’re correctable mistakes. Baseball is choosing, at this point, not to correct them” ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN2, 10/21). In N.Y., Mike Puma writes under the header, "Umps Look Like Chumps, Again." Last night's calls further stoked the "fire for the implementation of instant replay in baseball beyond home-run calls" (N.Y. POST, 10/21). Also in N.Y., Richard Sandomir wrote the "case for some sort of expanded instant replay was made" in the two plays involving Swisher in the fourth inning last night (, 10/20). The N.Y. DAILY NEWS' Peter Botte writes, "Does anyone still think installing an instant-replay system in baseball is a bad idea?" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/21). ESPN's Olney added, "Baseball's in a much better place to have instant replay than in the past because of high definition and all the multiple angles. If they simply had access to those tools, we certainly could have very quick and decisive calls made correctly" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/21). But White Sox C A.J. Pierzynski said, "No, no replay. Please, we have enough replay as it is on home runs. It already takes forever if there’s a disputed home run call." Pierzynski: "It'd be nice to get it right, but then you're going to start wanting robots back there calling balls and strikes on every pitch. So you can't do that either" ("ESPN First Take," ESPN2, 10/21).

    McClelland Receiving Criticism
    For Missed Calls Last Night
    BEST OF THE BEST?'s Gregg Doyel writes under the header, "It's Safe To Say These Umpires Should Be Out Of A Job." Doyel: "What is so scary about the rash of ugly umpiring that has scarred the 2009 postseason: These guys might actually be the best umpires that baseball has to offer. And how awful an idea is that?" (, 10/21). But in L.A., Bill Shaikin writes MLB is "presenting these playoff games without the best umpires," as the CBA prevents MLB VP/Umpiring Mike Port "from assigning an umpire to work consecutive rounds in the playoffs, or working the World Series in consecutive years." Shaikin writes that is "patently ridiculous." Shaikin: "In what has become a painful daily ritual in this year's postseason, all of America tuned into a playoff game and watched replays of umpires blowing a call -- or, on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium, call after call after call." Port said after the game, "I don't know that I can explain it. I only know the effort and professionalism of the umpires. They don't make excuses when these things happen. They review plays. They try to be accurate at what they do. Sometimes, try as they might, things occur, like what happened tonight. It's not a lack of effort. It's a performance thing" (L.A. TIMES, 10/21).

    PUSH FOR PARITY: In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck writes, "If I remember correctly, the whole point of that 1994 labor war was to narrow the gap between the so-called large-market and small-market teams." But with three of the top four media markets represented in the LCS, MLB "has to make a new effort to achieve a greater degree of economic parity." It might be "convenient to look at the huge increase in overall revenue and say that the game isn't broke and it doesn't really need fixing, but the bottom line isn't the only bottom line in this case." Schmuck: "When you have one player making as much as a whole other team, something is seriously out of whack" (Baltimore SUN, 10/21).

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  • NBA On Verge Of New Agreement With Locked-Out Referees

    Locked-Out NBA Referees Expected To Return
    In Time For Start Of Regular Season Next Week
    The NBA's locked-out referees are "on the verge of a return to work next week after an unexpected meeting" yesterday led by NBA Commissioner David Stern and NBRA Exec Dir Lamell McMorris, according to Stein & Sheridan of Sources indicated that the refs are "scheduled to vote on the latest proposed agreement Friday after the sudden progress in negotiations, which comes weeks after both Stern and McMorris separately withdrew from the oft-contentious negotiations leading into the lockout." Sources said that the agreement reached in principle yesterday "has the support" of the NBRA Exec Board and is "expected to be ratified with scant resistance." Ratification then would be "followed by a weekend training camp for the refs to get them ready for the start of the regular season" next Tuesday. One source insisted it is "highly likely" the locked-out officials will return in time for opening night. Another source supported that assertion "as long as Friday's vote proceeds as expected." Stein & Sheridan note the developments are "likely to be widely applauded throughout the league, following the expected rash of complaints from coaches and players about how tightly games have been called in the preseason" with replacement officials (, 10/20). In N.Y., Howard Beck notes details of the new agreement are not yet available, but the two sides "have been wrestling with three major issues: severance, pension and a proposal to D-League referees for a small number of NBA games each season" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/21).

    WELCOME BACK: Jazz coach Jerry Sloan yesterday said that he "doesn't fear the league's referees will have trouble being ready without an exhibition season of their own." Sloan: "They'll do fine. You're talking about guys that have been around and know how to officiate, so I don't think it will be a problem." Sloan this preseason has had "little negative to say about the NBA's replacement referees." Sloan: "It's like having rookies -- what do you expect them to do? Not make any mistakes? ... Some of these guys are going to be good officials, I think" (DESERET NEWS, 10/21). Lakers coach Phil Jackson said of the locked-out officials returning, "I hope they're in shape. It takes a while for them to get their game back in order too. We always see them starting slow. ... But we'd be happy to see them back" (L.A. TIMES, 10/21). Spurs F Tim Duncan: "I'll be very happy to have them back, and I mean that from my heart." Spurs F Antonio McDyess added, "You don't appreciate what you've got until it's gone." Spurs G Roger Mason Jr.: "That's the best news I've heard today" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 10/21).

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  • NHLPA To Announce Results Of Player Vote On Investigation

    The NHLPA is expected to announce later today the results of a vote to authorize an investigation into union affairs, and while many hockey insiders expect the vote to pass, some player reps have been abstaining to prevent a quorum from being reached, according to two sources. There was a buzz in hockey circles yesterday that enough player reps had voted to authorize the investigation, but attempts to confirm whether those rumors were true were unsuccessful. Player reps have 72 hours from Sunday night's call to cast votes by e-mail or another form of communication to the union. Under the NHLPA constitution, a motion must get 20 yes votes to pass, but 25 votes must be cast overall in order to reach a quorum and make the vote official. Sources said that NHLPA player reps voted 19-3 during a conference call Sunday night in favor of forming a committee to investigate union affairs, including the events leading up to the firing of former Exec Dir Paul Kelly. But the motion for an investigation needed at least one more yes vote to pass and three more total votes to reach a quorum to make it official. NHLPA player reps have been criticized by some media outlets for being too apathetic to join or stay on the conference call Sunday night to participate in a critical union vote. But one source said there were players who wanted to abstain. “It was not apathy,” said this source. Another source said player reps in the past few days are “intentionally not cooperating” so that the vote will fail for a lack of a quorum. Meanwhile, there is a lot of politicking by groups supporting and opposing an investigation, sources said. It is unclear exactly what the deadline is or when the votes will be announced, but one source said the results may be announced at 5:00pm ET today.

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  • Jeffrey Pollack Withdraws As Candidate For LPGA Commissioner

    World Series of Poker Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack has withdrawn as a candidate to become the next commissioner of the LPGA, said a source close to the search. The loss of Pollack leaves at least two remaining candidates that have been publicly identified: USGA Chief Business Officer Pete Bevacqua and Kohlberg & Co. Senior Adviser Jon Ward. Dolphins Senior Adviser Arlen Kantarian was offered the job but turned it down, according to sources involved in the search (Jon Show, SportsBusiness Journal).'s Adam Schupak cited a source as saying that Kantarian "pulled out because the LPGA couldn't meet his salary demands." The source also said that Pollack "was considered a darkhorse among the finalists" (, 10/20).

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  • Patience, Please: Rory McIlroy Not Joining PGA Tour In '10

    McIlroy Not Joining
    PGA Tour In '10
    Rory McIlroy, the 20-year-old dubbed by the golf world as the next big international player, will not join the PGA Tour next season, refuting recent speculation that he would play the majority of his schedule in the U.S. in '10. “Rory has decided not to join the PGA Tour in 2010,” his agent, ISM’s Chubby Chandler, said in an e-mail. He did not provide any further explanation. The London Daily Mail reported late last week that McIlroy would officially announce his intention to join the PGA Tour in mid-November before the start of the European Tour’s Dubai World Championship. McIlroy revealed this summer that he turned down a special exemption to play on the PGA Tour in '09, saying he was concerned of playing in too many events. His finishes this year will qualify him to play in all four majors and World Golf Championships, and he is expected to receive sponsor exemptions to play in up to seven more events on the PGA Tour. McIlroy is second in the European Tour money rankings and ranks 17th in the world golf rankings. He played in six PGA Tour events in '09, including all four majors, carding a top 10 at the U.S. Open and finishing tied for third at the PGA Championship.

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  • League Notes

    IRL Exec Says Event In Australia Not Ruled
    Out, But Issues Still Need To Be Addressed
    IRL VP/PR John Griffin yesterday said that though the IRL "had not ruled out a return" to Australia, the "same issues which saw the organization pull out of Queensland last year still need to be addressed -- namely, money and scheduling." In Australia, Andrew MacDonald noted it costs about $18.5M (all figures U.S.) to stage an event in Australia compared to $2.8-4.6M to stage an event in the U.S. But Griffin said that the IRL is "more concerned about scheduling and the desire to end the IRL season in the US rather than on the Gold Coast, as was the case last year" (GOLD COAST BULLETIN, 10/21).

    QUIET SUNDAY: YAHOO SPORTS' Greg Wyshynski noted there were no NHL games played last Sunday, which marked the "second Sunday in October in which there hasn't been a single game played." This raises the "natural suspicion that the NHL didn't want to put early-season hockey" up against the NFL or MLB playoffs. But NHL Dir of Media Relations John Dellapina said there was "no League decision to avoid the NFL Sundays or MLB playoffs on these two days -- that really doesn't make sense given the difference in markets from country to country and city to city" (, 10/19).

    LEAVING THE FALL? SI's Alan Shipnuck wrote the PGA Tour has "done an excellent job Band-Aiding together a schedule for 2010, but 2011 is likely to see a lot more upheaval, with more sponsors dropping out and a handful of empty dates opening up." When this occurs, the Tour's current roster of Fall Series events "can slide right into the 'regular season' schedule after having had a few years to work out the kinks and establish fan bases." Shipnuck: "Once that happens the Fall Series will mercifully disappear forever" (, 10/20).

    SLOW GROWTH:'s James Martin wrote the ATP World Tour's fall season has "raised 10 key questions," including whether the tour's Asia strategy is working. Though for years "we've been told that tennis is booming in China," recent events in Beijing and Shanghai "suggest otherwise." While the semifinals and final of the Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 "drew strong crowds, the rest of the sessions were barren wastelands." Martin: "The truth? Tennis remains too expensive for most folks. Perhaps it's time for the tours to rethink their China strategy, because there's no worse advertisement for the sport than empty stands" (, 10/20).

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