Every-Thing Sports

To review or not to review, that is the question

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Officials have been at the heart of way too many decisions in all major sports. Whether it's a blown call, a call not overturned when reviewed, or a call being apologized for after it has ruined a game, things are getting more out of hand as opposed to them getting any better. I wrote about this earlier this year, but it's time to revisit the issue. There are so many varying factors as to why officiating needs to be addressed, but here are some of the things I think are most critical:

Challenges

Now that all major pro sports have some sort of challenge system, they all need to be fine tuned. What can/can't be challenged, the time in which a challenge can be issued, and how many times a team can challenge a call all need to be fine tuned. I believe the number of timeouts should be tied to the number of challenges. Challenges need to be made in a decisive fashion, which means...

Who makes the final ruling?

Whoever makes the final ruling on challenges needs to be held just as, if not more, accountable as the officials making the calls on the field of play. There needs to be an assigned replay official for every game with a team ready and already reviewing every call to ensure accuracy. They can also serve as feedback for officials' grading process, which factors into which officials and/or crews are allowed to preside over postseason games/series. These people need to be former and/or current officials, along with former players to ensure a balance is there. I say former players because the officials have a way of protecting their own. Prime example: the way NFL refs piss all over the pass interference challenges. There needs to be a more definitive, concise, and efficient way to rule on challenges instead of watching officials look at a monitor with an earpiece in until they're ready to tell the crowd what they've found out.

Postgame press availability

Coaches and players have been made to answer the media's questions pre and postgame for as long as I can remember. While there are specific times in which the media has access to coaches and players, officials have never been called to the carpet when it comes to media availability. The NBA refs has an official Twitter account that answers questions and puts out info from their perspective. Other leagues tend to leave it to the league's official Twitter accounts, or more specifically, the media that covers those sports to put out such info. How much of a game changer would it be to see and hear from the officials themselves? Officials in most sports try to make themselves apart of the action anyway. Why not give them the spotlight so many of them crave anyway? After all, some of them are failed athletes in the sport they're officiating in anyway.

Is there anything I left out? Am I off-base here? What do you guys think? Some that know me will assume this is a reactionary piece to my Saints losing to the 49ers, and they'd be dead ass wrong. This is about the kid who was so fascinated by the September 20, 1993 Monday Night Football matchup of Joe Montana's Chiefs vs John Elway's Broncos on that his parents got a portable TV set that could plug into a cigarette lighter so he could watch the game while we were on a road trip back home. This is about the grown man who's sick of hearing the fans and media alike complain, make excuses, and banter about poor officiating. It's about games that I, and most of you, love to watch that are getting ruined far too often because of what most consider "human error." While technology has made several improvements on officiating, there's still some room for improvement. Let's make this happen dammit! I'm sick of writing about this! it's time for action!

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Boston's two grand slams in the first two innings were too much for Houston to overcome in ALCS Game 2. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a win in ALCS Game 1 that had the prototypical fingerprints of this Astros team all over it, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, hoping to take a dominant 2-0 series lead if they could grab another victory. The Red Sox dashed those hopes very early, though, scoring eight runs across the first two innings to build the lead they would hold on to even the series.

Final Score: Boston 9, Astros 5

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 1-1

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Houston met with disaster to start Game 2

You couldn't have drawn up a much better start for the Red Sox or a worse one for the Astros in Saturday's ALCS Game 2. Luis Garcia met early disaster in the top of the first inning, allowing a leadoff double, then got two outs while issuing two walks to load the bases. That brought up Boston's designated hitter, J.D. Martinez, to the plate, and he delivered a crushing blow to Houston, launching a grand slam to put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Houston could even get to the plate.

After a scoreless bottom of the inning by his offense, things got worse for Garcia in the top of the second, as after issuing a four-pitch walk to start the frame, he would become the center of a meeting at the mound with trainers, ultimately leaving the game with an injury. Houston opted to bring in Jake Odorizzi for the emergency call to the bullpen, but things did not start well for him either. He would put two of his own batters on base with two singles, then gave up the second grand slam in as many innings, this one to Rafael Devers to double Boston's lead to 8-0, doubling down on Houston's disastrous start to the game.

Odorizzi rebounded with a 1-2-3 third, but with one out in the top of the fourth allowed a solo homer to Kiké Hernández, his third homer of the series so far. He would still get the job done of eating up a few innings, finishing the fourth, and retiring Boston in order in the fifth, giving Houston just four more innings to cover with the rest of their relievers.

Astros get a few runs back

Over that span, Houston did trim the lead by three runs, getting an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth, making it a six-run game at 9-3. Their next reliever was Blake Taylor in the top of the sixth, and he would keep the score where it stood by sitting down the three batters he faced that frame.

The Astros threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, getting two singles to put two aboard, but would come out empty, sending the game on to the seventh, where Taylor would remain on the mound. He faced three more batters, getting two out while allowing a single before Yimi Garcia would come in to get the third out.

Red Sox even the series as it shifts to Boston

Garcia returned in the top of the eighth, getting through that inning despite a walk and hit by pitch, stranding both runners. Boston's bullpen kept Houston from getting any closer in the bottom of the eighth, then Ryne Stanek came in for the Astros in the top of the ninth. Stanek allowed a leadoff double, but with a groundout and double play, held the score at 9-3. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro did their part to keep the Astros alive in the bottom of the ninth, each hitting solo homers to make it 9-5, but that's as close as they'd come, dropping Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: The ALCS now moves to Boston for the next three games after a day off on Sunday, with Game 3 on Monday at 7:08 PM Central. While the Astros have named Jose Urquidy as their starter, the Red Sox have not yet determined theirs.

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