Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rick Pitino Blames Officials, Opposing Fans: A Case Play of Scapegoating in Sports

There is a tendency in today's society to blame others rather than accept responsibility and admit one's own shortcomings. It is a trait exhibited by toddlers who throw tantrums and decision-makers everywhere who admonish others rather than admit wrongdoing.

Pitino in the 2007 Big East Tournament
Blaming others, or scapegoating, has become such a prevalent phenomenon, books have been written and associations formed to study the issue.

For the blamer, the act of passing the buck is often more pleasant than acknowledging fault. According to the Scapegoat Society, the discrediting routine known as scapegoating involves distortion of truth, vilification and separated from the incident at hand, the blamer sometimes resembles a conspiracy theorist.

Chris Allen Carter additionally has postulated that blamers are "insecure people driven to raise their own status by lowering the status of their target," while in 1953, Kraupl-Taylor concluded that scapegoating "leads to the satisfaction of unconscious scoptophilia and aggression and gives narcissistic satisfaction to the ego."

In other words, scapegoating and blaming others may temporarily make one feel better about him or herself, but in the end, it's just a psychological defense mechanism meant to shield oneself from responsibility and truth.

But this is a sports website... You get where I'm headed with this.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Umpire Ejection Fantasy League: Introducing the UEFL Portal on our Sixth Anniversary

Close Call Sports and The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League are pleased to introduce our latest venture: The UEFL Portal. February 24, 2012 is the sixth anniversary of the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League and we couldn't think of a better birthday present than the new UEFL Portal.

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League presents the UEFL Portal
The UEFL Portal website is a one-stop source for MLB umpire ejection statistics, with a database that extends back to 2005 with detailed ejection data posted for the 2008-2011 seasons.

For a virtual tour, feel free to consult the following video. High Definition and/or full screen viewing are recommended.
The UEFL Portal houses several key Umpire Ejection Fantasy League pages, while the Portal home page contains important UEFL information, such as upcoming pre-season dates and deadlines and miscellaneous 2011 statistics:
  • Member Roster: A sortable list of UEFL members, which will contain specific draft order information upon the conclusion of the registration period. The Member Roster also contains the draft board, which will fill as the draft progresses.
  • Appeals Board: UEFL members recently voted to create an Appeals Board that will routinely rule on issues of challenged Qualities of Correctness. This page contains information for prospective Appeals Board candidates, such as position requirements and deadlines. During the season, the Appeals Board page will contain a sortable linked list detailing each and every action taken and decision rendered by the Board.
  • MLB Ejection List: This sortable list will display every ejection that occurs during the 2012 season: the Ejection number, ejecting umpire, ejected person, etc. The ejection number will be linked to the ejection blog post on the CCS website, while the umpire entry will be linked to the appropriate umpire's profile page (see Umpire Roster/Stats).
  • Ejections Feed: This page lists recent MLB ejections, as reported by the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League blog at CCS. All entries are linked.
  • Umpire Roster / Stats: Every MLB and AAA fill-in umpire is listed on the Umpire Roster/Stats page, along with their 2011 ejection and UEFL points totals and +/- figure (see the page for more details). Clicking on any umpire's name takes you to his UEFL profile: a page that includes ejection history since 2005, detailed information about the umpire's 2011 ejections, a biography, post-season and special event appearances and recent activity, which links back to the UEFL blog at CCS.
  • Historical Data: This page includes summary ejection statistics since the 2005 season and comprehensive ejection information for every official regular or post-season ejection since 2008. Detailed fields include ejected person, position and team, whether the ejected person's team was winning pre-ejection and how that team fared post-ejection (runs scored and allowed), inning of ejection (offense or defense), reason for ejection, play result, umpire classification (calling or secondary) and of course, Quality of Correctness.
  • UEFL Rules Book: As approved by the UEFL membership at the conclusion of the 2011 season, the 2012 Official Rules of the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League appear in their entirety.
Though not listed on the UEFL Portal, we always welcome feedback and suggestions, either via e-mail, the UEFL blog on the CCS website or the CCS general forum.

Thank you and we hope you enjoy the UEFL Portal, accessible at

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

MLB Institutes Pace-of-Game Pitcher Warmup Rule to Prevent Stalling

Q: What do MLB manager Joes Girardi, Maddon and Torre all have in common?

A: They have all employed a strategy that, in 2012, will be illegal in baseball.

Earlier this offseason, MLB's Playing Rules Committee had proposed a modification to OBR 3.05, which governs pitchers and their substitutes. The tweak was recently approved by MLB, the players' and umpires' unions, meaning the new rule will take effect in 2012.

Under MLB's newest rule, managers will be prohibited from "sending his current pitcher out to warm up with no intention of having him pitch because a relief pitcher is not ready to enter the game."

MLB has recently taken a significant interest in finding ways to speed up the pace of the average baseball game, which currently runs about three hours. This Rule 3.05 modification is expected to limit managers' ability to stall in order to allow a cold reliever an opportunity to warm in the bullpen, before entering the game and receiving even more warmup pitches.

In other words, "last minute bullpen managing" will be a thing of the past and skippers will be forced to return to a time during which they had to plan ahead.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Referee Ejects Former Basketball Players Attending Game as Team Guests: About Ejecting Fans

NCAA basketball official Karl Hess has quite the legacy, both as an official and as a player at Liberty University—in 2006, Hess' number 11 jersey was retired by the Flames during a halftime ceremony that included Hess, his wife and Liberty Director of Athletics Jeff Barber.

Official Karl Hess at the NCAA Tournament
Hess is Liberty's all-time career top scorer with 2,373 points and is also the program's leader in field goals (951), free throws (471), free throw percentage (89.9%), assists (648) and is tied for first in games played (120). His 1980 Flames team won the NCCAA National Championship, as Hess earned All-Tournament and MVP Awards for his efforts.

As an official, Hess. He was crew chief for the 2007 NCAA Men's National Championship game between Florida and Ohio State and worked the Final Four in 2008 and 2009, with a Sweet Sixteen matchup in 2010. He has been invited to work the NCAA Tournament annually since 1996.

With such success comes a bounty of naysayers and hecklers; taunting and harassment.

On Saturday, Hess had finally had enough and used the powers vested in him by the NCAA Rules Book to take care of a problem situation.

In Raleigh, North Carolina to work the Florida State vs. N.C. State, Hess began receiving the traditional heckles that fans often bestow upon officials, only the source of this verbal barrage wasn't quite what one might expect.

Former N.C. State Wolfpack star players Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani—who, like Hess, have had their jerseys retired by their alma mater—had taken their seats behind the scorer's table and were allegedly hurling insult after insult toward the officiating crew and Hess in particular.

When traditional heckling gave way to petty insults and abuse that crossed the line, Hess called for the disrespectful fans' removal from the facility. Moments later, stadium security arrived and escorted Gugliotta and Corchiani out of the RBC Center.