Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Triple play

My reading gave me three odd articles to ponder, and I'm going to do it here in front of all y'all, in ascending order of "hmmmm." I'm going to pull them into three separate posts, too - just keep going after this.

First, Dan Graziano's front-of-the-section lead article on Lou Piniella. Anyone familiar with Piniella's work knows that he's an irascible fellow. His Saturday matinee got him a four-day vacation from Major League Baseball, which led Graziano to wonder "why Piniella's kind of behavior is tolerated in baseball."

Ejection, fine, four day suspension. None of these things says tolerance to me. He cites other examples of non-tolerance from other sports:

"It's not tolerated in basketball, where you can be suspended simply for leaving the bench or for accumulating too many technical fouls."

Baseball, of course, lacks technical fouls; in fact, just looking at an ump cross-eyed on a ball/strike call can get you the ol' heave-ho, so I would argue that basketball is more tolerant in some ways - techs are a warning, and only a second such foul will get you ejected. As for the suspension for leaving the bench...

"It's not tolerated in hockey, where recent rules changes penalize the third man into a fight."

Graziano is in error. The "third man in" rule was introduced in October 1971; it's the basketball version that's new. (Perhaps he's thinking of the rule that got Washington Capitals coach Glenn Hanlon suspended for a game this season - he sent players onto the ice at the end of a game to deliberately fight opponents.)

"And you don't see football coaches running onto the field and holding up play while they pick up clumps of grass and throw them on the officials' shoes..."

No. Granted that you don't see this - but you do see football coaches flipping a nut all the time. I've seen Gruden, Cowher, Coughlin, and others stray five or more yards into the field yelling while the refs announce the call. Then they'll often pour their abuse on the nearest linesman (who just as often had nothing to do with the call). This rarely draws a flag for misconduct.

The rest of the article, to be fair, is pretty good, so I move on...

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