Sometimes, when we have exciting exhibition baseball games or tight NBA contests, we worry that we’re too focused on winning and losing or on a particular team. We fear we’re losing sight of the most important element of sports: the umpires and referees. Thankfully, two brave men reminded us that we care about the events on the field of play because of them.
First, NBA ref Bill Kennedy established his author-i-tah by ejecting Doc Rivers with less than a minute left in a two-possession game against the Bulls apparently because Rivers wouldn’t turn and face him like a man and actually walked away from confrontation.
We believe the first technical in the third quarter was for sneezing without covering his mouth, though we can’t verify. Tommy Heinsohn and Boston bloggers took it as well as they could.
Then Kenji Johjima was sent packing by the Tossin’ Wendelstedts (youngun’ edition) for leaving his bat at home plate mid-inning after a questionable strike three (and does Hunter know any other kind?). Hunter waited for Kenji to return to the dugout, pointed at the bat a few times like a disappointed paternal figure, and then tossed him casually. Midseason form.
Not to mention Shane Victorino’s beer league stunt. In Chicago 16-inch hand-gnarling softball, America’s favorite new Pierzynski would get the snot kicked out of him in the parking lot after the game. However, no WBC ump interceded. It was left alone, Carlos Delgado ‘accidentally’ pulled Victorino down at first the following inning, and the world moved on.
Wait, that’s an option? Umpires don’t have to inject themselves into the game to protect fragile pride or the false purity of the game? If Hunter Wendelstedt had been there, Victorino would still be pulling parts of Hunter’s thumbnail out of his prostate. And we’d love him for it because maybe Hunter will sign our authentic home plate jersey after the game!