Referees – A Necessary Evil
Posted by admin on June 26, 2007
Over the past couple weeks, I have been absolutely captivated by the College World Series. Watching these youngsters play their hearts out for a chance to win the coveted national championship was truly a memorable experience. From epic, extra-inning battles to the traditional victory dogpile at the pitcher’s mound, the College World Series had everything to offer a sports fan. However, over the course of the tournament, one particular moment left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton were deadlocked in extra innings during one the tournament’s numerous elimination games. Everything thatÂ the players had doneÂ during the season boiled down to this one moment. Then, in the bottom of the 13th inning, it all came crashing down – a UC Irvine player blatantly stepped into an inside pitch, putting him on base and eventually creating the winning run. TheÂ CalÂ State Fullerton players must have been experiencing aÂ combination of heartbreak and complete outrage. The umpire had a perfect view of the Irvine player as he leaned into the inside pitch. But, instead of penalizingÂ UC Irvine for the infraction, the player wasÂ allowed to take first base. Even in the face of a furious complaint from the Fullerton coach, which evetually resulted in his ejection, the umpire refused to reverse the call.Â
ThisÂ instance reminds me of all theÂ absolutely horrific calls over the years.Â It seems as if referees make critical mistakes on a consistent basisÂ year in and year out.Â Remember Diego Maradona’s infamous “Hand of God” goal against England that eventually led to an Argentine World Cup victory? Or, I don’t think anyone can forgetÂ when George Brett was called out for having too much tar on his bat, when the rule clearly states that the bat can be removed from the game but the player cannot be called out.Â There have been so many crucial blunders over the years that a question inevitably rises toÂ surface of sports fans’ minds – What can be done about the problem? Can we simply say that the players will police the game themselves? No, that would never work.Â Referees are a necessary evil without which there would be even more controversy.
So,Â how can theÂ the various sports commissioners ensure that these types ofÂ occurrences do not continue happening? In my opinion, the only way toÂ resolve the issue is to treat referees and umpires like players. When a player doesÂ something outrageous, he or she if fined, andÂ if the situation warrants it, suspended. The same thing should happen to referees. If they make an absolutely ridiculous call, they should be fined and/or suspended.Â Maybe then,Â inÂ the faceÂ economicÂ punishment, referees would begin to wise up and start limiting the number of ghastly calls they make.
This is one sports fan who cannot take any more lackadaisical outings by referees. I think that implementing some kind of newÂ regulatory regime, devoted toÂ scrutinizing and punishing referees who make mistakes will go along way towards correcting the current problem. If you think I am wrong, just ask Joe Crawford. Do you think he would have given Tim Duncan those ridiculous technical foulsÂ had he known he was going to be suspended indefinitely? IÂ think not. Putting referees on such a short leash would definitely improve the quality of their decision makeing and, in turn,Â improve the quality of sports.