Gang, remember Friday's mailbag and how about this sunshine, huh? Was that a whistle? Did Joey 'Bats' Crawford just call an illegal screen on LeBron for trying to get some grapefruit for breakfast?
From the "Talks too much" studios, let's spread the joy.
You called what?
The Miami Heat lost Game 4, the Pacers winning 99-92 to even the series. The overall outcome in the end had less to do with officiating compared to the hundreds of plays and dozens of great moves and costly mistakes made by both teams.
We continue to believe, however, that the officiating has gotten worse in recent years, in the NBA and the MLB especially. We understand that in some ways that claim is made more clear because the modern technology that offers multiple views for couch coaches everywhere of every play shows us the missed calls better now than ever before. We can also see a point that the NBA officials are no longer kowtowing to the league's elite superstars — the old-school Jordan rules where if someone sneezed around MJ it was a flagrant 2 and two shots plus the ball — and that's a good thing.
But it's a good thing only to a point because when officials are the topic of conversation it's rarely a positive.
In fact, we say the officiating is as bad as ever in the NBA and the MLB because the officials and the umps far too often appear to believe the show is about them. No one pays high-dollar ticket prices or schedules TV time to watch an officials clinic or umpire school. And even if that's not the case, quit acting like it is.
From the missed 24-second violation to the phantom illegal screen to the first called walk in recent NBA history, the storyline from Game 4 between the Heat and the Pacers was as much about the officials as much as it was Roy Hibbert's continued ascension into a bona fide star center or the Pacers lockdown defensive presence late. And that's way wrong, especially when it's correct.
The one thing that makes great officials? Consistency. If you're going to call the outside strike, fine, do it both ways and make everyone adjust. If you are not going to call traveling, OK, but a late-game walk then sticks out — and worse, seems forced or purposeful — when there are 15 missed walking calls earlier.
(Side note: Imagine the meltdown if Michael Jordan had been whistled for a sixth and final foul on an illegal screen in the final minutes of a playoff game back in the day like LeBron James was Tuesday night. Nevermind the fact James got T-ed up earlier in the game. So it goes.)
At the SEC meetings, the powers that be — i.e. Nick Saban — support the nine-game SEC schedule. Most of the league seems against playing nine SEC games, however, but most of the league is not Nick Saban, who is arguably the most powerful coach in all of sports.
We can see both sides since nine conference games will make for tougher sledding for bowl and BCS opportunities. It also could really hurt the growing — and good — new/old tradition of these early season, neutral-field games between big-boy programs because nine conference games will mean five road conference games every other year, and if you already have five for sure road games every other year, you are going to need almost all of the nonconference games to be home games.
Saban also said he supports the nine-game conference schedule because of the fans and giving them better games to come see. He's right about that, too.
What say you? Nine-game SEC schedule or keep it how it is?
Either way, the fallout will send ripples throughout college football. Because if the SEC starts making tougher scheduling demands and starts frowning on scheduling FCS schools, well, that could be a huge hit to mid-majors' bottom lines nationwide.
Also in SEC ace David Paschall's SEC meeting story was the tidbit that the league may find a permanent location for the SEC basketball tournament.
Most lucrative song ever (pass the salt)
Bloomberg Businessweek reported that Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville is the most lucrative song ever. Popular belief has Happy Birthday as the most lucrative song, but Margatiaville has multiple facets of value.
And in fact, Margaritaville may be on par with movie scripts such as Star Wars or even works of fiction like Winnie the Pooh or Charlie Brown as being among the most profitable piece of writing ever. Wow. Read that again.
To put into context, there is the Margaritaville song, and then there is the Margaritaville empire, which sells everything from branded liquor to blenders to T-shirts to deck furniture. It also has 27 Margaritaville resorts around the world, including the $35 million, 40,000-square foot palace with restaurants, bars and a beach-themed casino on the newly re-opened Jersey Shore.
Wow, Jimmy Buffett, the former Auburn dropout is going to end up more like Warren Buffett. Except he'll be wasted away.
In fact, we'll put out there that, not unlike Happy Birthday, almost everyone over the age of 21 knows at least the chorus to Buffett's party anthem, regardless of the type of music you prefer. So it goes.
Side note: Everyone has their liquor Kryptonite, right? Be it gin or wine or what have you, we all have that 'ONE' that made us sicker than we imagined possible. Tequila is our one. Ugggghhhhh.
This and that
— Hockey alert: Hey, we don't do much on hockey. We don't do much on French films, either. The reasoning is the same — we don't know much about Them. We do know that Game 7 hockey playoff drama translates well and makes for fun viewing, as was the Kings' Game 7 win over San Jose on Tuesday. Good times. Wheeeee... Oui.
— Political tangent alert: Congress has decided the Washington Redskins need a new name. OK, great, and they probably do. You know what we need? We need Congress to pay attention to the mounting problems in this great country and forget about steroids or NFL nicknames or college football playoffs. Be better than that and get to work gentlemen and ladies. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.
— We're likely going to give "The Lone Ranger" a shot this summer. We like Johnny Depp's work and hey we're a sucker for pop-action westerns. That said, is the guy playing the Lone Ranger really named Armie Hammer? If this is stage name, well, OK. Was Bake N. Soda already on the roles of Screen Actors Guild? And if this is parental-given, well, maybe Mr. and Mrs. Hammer — Tack and Sledge, to their friends — have their reasons.
As always feel free to fire away.
If you need a talking point, here are a few:
— A beaver killed a fisherman. This side of being trapped in a fire or a slow drowning, death by beaver is on the short list of bad ways to go, right? (And keep it clean gang.)
And here are some of the items we kicked around on The Twitter (@jgreesontfp) last night during the Eastern Conference finals:
— Who ranks higher on Kiper's draft board of TV high school football stars Al Bundy or Hank Hill?
— LeBron James is better leading the fastbreak than Magic Johnson. Yep, we said it and we believe it. (And before you answer, Magic was dishing to an all-star cast; LeBron is putting Mario Superintendent Chalmers and Chris Andersen in position to finish.)
— Rushmore of NBA stars who skipped college: LeBron, Kobe, Garnett and Moses Malone. Anyone got any others?
— If you had a pet turtle, which is a better name: Chris Bosh or Tippy Turtle?
Discuss. (And yes, we got into some heavy Twitter-ing last night; the Mrs. 5-at-10 was catching up on the "Downtown Abby" or whatever it is.)
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...