Posted on: May 29, 2009 11:34 pm

Umpires, Hawkeye, and some NBA Playoffs

The first point I want to make tonight is about the hilarious ejections that happened in last night's Red Sox/Twins game. Now I understand when a call is pretty close or when the player touches the umpire you are going to get ejected. And I also understand that usually the calls the umpire makes are correct, so usually the player's argument is not justified anyway. The thing that I find so comical about the Varitek ejection is that the runner was absolutely out at the plate. He was out by a decent margin, and if you look at the replay it was blatantly obvious that Varitek tagged him out at the plate. This is one of the only cases where I've seen the player's argument justified. The guy throws out 4 players in a single inning. That must be some sort of record. He changed what was a pretty darn good ball game too. Varitek had two homers, and I think it was something like 11 hits in the ballgame total. Maybe it was just a bad day at the office, I'm not sure. But if you are going to start throwing players out, at least make your calls right before you do it.

In watching the French Open I've noticed that this is the only Grand Slam that doesn't use the Hawkeye system to challenge line calls. The premise behind this is good because you can actually see the ball spots in the clay, so the players can ask the Chair Umpire to come down and look at the ball mark for the official ruling. The problem with this is that I've already seen about 4 missed/wrong calls in the week that I have been watching. In the grand scheme this isn't really that big of a deal, but in a close match it could make all the difference.

For example, in the Safin/Ouanna match that I referenced in my last post, there was a point where Safin was on serve, down 1 game at a crucial point in the match where he served what looked like a good ball on the corner of the box. Ouanna challenged the call and the umpire came down and looked at the wrong spot, awarding the point to Safin. ESPN's ShotSpot showed that the ball was clearly out by a good 2 inches. Ouanna lost the next point and Safin tied the game up. Ouanna would go on to win the match, but lets say that the score was 30-30 and Ouanna was down a game, trying to break to stay in the match. This would have been crucial in the match to have this call right. the human element has been the way to go for years, but now there is technology which is better, so why not use it?

NBA Playoffs:
Why did the Nuggets not even show up tonight? They just layed down and gave the Lakers the series, which is very disappointing. Each game of the conference finals has come down to the wire and has been a real treat to watch. Normally NBA games lack enthusiasm and competition, and until this game they had proved me wrong. This one was, quite honestly, boring to watch. Don't take anything away from the Lakers, they came in and just turned it up a notch, but you would think that the Nuggets would put up more of a fight. As I type the Lakers are up 112-88 in the 4th. Come on. A 10-point game would have at least been watchable.

In Other News:
- The 76ers have offered Eddie Jordan a contract to be their next head coach. What I want to know is were the 76ers watching when Jordan and the Wizards were basement dwelling during his tenure there? I'm not sure. You can't judge a coach before he shows you what he's got the first couple of years, but I'm not really sure that this signing is going to excite the 76ers fans. It sure doesn't excite me. I hope he proves me wrong. We shall see.

- J.A. Happ went out tonight and pitched a beautiful game against the Nationals, giving up 1 run while he was on the mound and leaving the game with a 5-1 lead. It's ashame that the bullpen gave him 2 more earned runs and almost blew the game in the 6th inning there. A spot of good news for the Phillies though, Brad Lidge came out and shut down the Nats in the ninth, picking up his 10th save of the season. Granted, it is only the Nationals, but it's not exactly their lineup that is holding them back. They are definitely capable of producing runs, they just aren't that capable of holding teams to under 5.

Posted on: May 29, 2009 1:45 am

French Open

If you are not a tennis fan, now is probably a great time to get into the sport with the French Open.

Live coverage starts each morning at 5AM EST on the Tennis channel and moves over to ESPN2 at 12 PM EST, and any critical matches you missed during the morning hours, ESPN will show from aboutu 3-6 because by that time live play has concluded in France.

Here are men and women who don't get paid by the season, they get paid by their performance. This is why I think from a competitive level tennis is better than the four major sports (yes hockey is a major sport contrary to most people's beliefs). Here you have people fighting for every last point because if they don't they'll be bounced from the tournament. If you saw the match between 20 Marat Safin and Josselin Quanna you know what I'm talking about. Ouanna wins the match 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 3-6, 10-8 in a match lasting 4 hours and 30 minutes. The last set of this one was absolutely incredible, each player making these sick nasty shots from all angles of the court. Both players held on serve until the last game where Ouanna broke Safin on a double match point to finally take it after 79 minutes in the 5th set. There's no video replay like the other 4 majors and there's no teammates to blame or anything. Just straight up 1v1, where after 5 sets the best player will come out.

Comebacks happen pretty often too. Take the match between 3 Venus Williams and Lucie Safarova on the women's side today. Venus wins the match 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 7-5 after being down 5-3 in the 3rd and final set. She just took Safarova to town after saving match point.

Tell you what, even if my descriptions don't sound too appetizing, just watch the matches. I can almost guarantee you'll at least not flip the channel when you see tennis is on. It may not get the hype that the NBA playoffs are getting, but I'm telling you right now you'll see more competition in one match at the French Open than you'll see the whole NBA playoffs.

Quick Hits:

- I think the NBA is getting way too wrapped up in technical fouls. It's getting to the point of ridiculousness. Oh, and also: stop reviewing foul calls and crap after the game. If the referee deems the play a flagrant foul or a technical foul let the damn thing stand. It's like saying "oh well that wasn't actually a homerun, we're going to change that call and take away the run" after the game. Or something like that.

- Carlos Zambrano really made me laugh with his little tirade but you know what, I am glad he's manning up to what he did and coming out and saying "I'm not going to appeal this suspension because I know I was wrong." Too many athletes don't take responsibility for their actions, and most players would try to appeal a 6-game suspension, because they can't go 6 days without pay from their multi-million dollar contract as a penalty for doing something wrong. For example: how many times do you hear an athlete go "Yes, I took steroids, and yes it was wrong and now I am going to pay the penalty" BEFORE they deny it to reporters and get found out later? You just don't hear it anymore. Athletes are the biggest role models there are and I'm glad to see that one of them is finally owning up to what they did wrong.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com