The cult of the referee

Tissue Thin Pseudonym raises a very good point in the Group D 3rd game thread:

Watching these games I keep thinking that soccer badly needs a second referee on the pitch. There’s just too much space for one guy to cover and watch. There was all sorts of whining from traditionalists when hockey started using a second ref but it’s been a vast improvement and soccer has fewer issues with another body creating obstructions.

I agree, long term, the best way to improve the refereeing of the game at the highest level is to get away from the remnants of the cult of the all powerful and all knowing center referee.  The game is too fast, the players are too skilled and the field is too damn big for one guy to cover the entire field with some assistance from his assistant referees whose focus is pulled towards a dynamic line just at the moment of a hard offensive challenge.

At the highest levels, the center referee is running eight to ten miles during a regulation 90 minutes plus stoppage time game.  That is more than any single player on the field.  He is also engaged in as many full speed, hair on fire sprints as the hardest working forwards.  He is attempting to cover a field of two and half acres where it is not uncommon for a twenty second sequence of hard challenge, sixty yard displacement of play, hard challenge, thirty yard displacement, hard challenge, fifty yard displacement. 

Few other major sport asks as much from there referees.  NFL referees have to officiate the same number of players on a field 70% as large.  They use a seven man crew.  Baseball uses a six man crew to control ten to thirteen players.  Hockey uses four officials to control twelve players.  Only rugby asks as much of their officials as soccer does.

So why hasn’t the highest level of play seen a change to improve the officating? (By the way, so far, I think the officiating in this tournament is very good)

Futball, or soccer, or footie, still has the legacy of a single man officiating where that official is the lord of the pitch.  Thankfully, this attitude is slowly dying out as the role of the official now is seen as a means of facilitating a safe and fair match instead of being the cop, judge, jury, executioner and appeals court of a match. For most of the history of the game, there was a single referee or a single referee and two flags.  the assistant referee as a distinctive and skilled profession is a recent phenonoman.  FIFA only engaged  in the creation of a dedicated assistant referee track in the past generation.  Before that, an official at the World Cup could have the whistle in game 1 and a flag in the final. 

The referee as lord has some rational basis due to the nature of the rules and the culture around the enforcement of the rules.  In soccer, there is the concept of advantage where a referee recognizes a foul but s/he has the obligation to consider whether or not the fouled team is in a better position to continue an attack or if they are better off to bring the play to a stop for a free kick.  Additionally, referees at the highest level are making the following decision path on any challenge:

Is it fair:  if yes, continue play, if no, next question:

Is the challenge trifling unfair; if yes, continue play, if no, next question:

Is the fouled team at an advantage with the ball still moving; if yes, continue play and signal that you saw the foul but are applying advantage.  If the fouled team is disadvantaged, stop play.

Was the foul careless; if yes simple free kick unless there is a persistant pattern of fouling.  If persistant pattern, start thinking about a caution for persistant infringement on the laws.

Was the foul reckless — if yes, at least ass-chew and put people on notice that this behavior will not be tolerated or just go straight yellow.

Was the foul excessively violent or having no legitimate tactical reason for the contact — send the offender off.

That decision tree is cycled every single challenge.  Soccer currently has a problem with inter-game consistency (the ref last week let us do X… problem) so most assessors and evaluators grade referees on their intra-game consistancy (are the challenges that got a foul in the 3rd minute getting a foul in the 87th minute, is a clean challenge in the 17th a clean challenge in the 66th?)  Adding a second official who has the ability and authority to stop play at their own discretion instead of just being able to “ask” for a stoppage as the current assistant referees can do will produce some very ugly games in the first two years of adaption.

I think over the long term, referees will adapt.  Some of the old guard referees won’t be able to handle working a four man, two whistle game.  They will retire or be placed on lower level games.  Some of the up and comers will crash and burn as finding an effective and efficient mind meld with another official who also has a whistle is a different skill than what they have been selected for.  However, new officials who are used to working multi-whistle games will be trained and selected for that skill set. 

I would anticipate better average and median quality officiated games with two World Cup cycles if FIFA adapted a two whistle system in the next two years. 

None of the analysis above is particulary relevant to Saturday morning kiddy ball.  There, we just want a referee with a pulse and a willingness to make a decision even if it is the wrong one.

116 replies
  1. 1
    BGinCHI says:

    I can only assume that the answer to your question of why this hasn’t been done is that FIFA, or the national leagues, see a 100% increase in referee salary and shy away.

    They are fine with slave labor building stadiums, but we can’t go improving how the game is run, can we? Look how long goal-line review took. These are not progressive folks.

    Ps. England sucks donkey balls. In football.

  2. 2
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @BGinCHI: Cost is definately a part of it, however, staying with a 3 man system for everything BUT World Cup/Confederation Cup/UEFA Champions League level of play would be entirely feasible. Different levels of play get different number of referees as it is in most sports. For instance, Major League Baseball uses 4 umpires during the regular season but go to 6 during the play-offs/World Series.

    Adding an extra 20 whistles to the World Cup roster for this year would cost FIFA a direct $800,000 outlay in referee salary and probably $3 to $5 million in identification, selection, qualification and training expenses for the exta 100 guys who might be under consideration at the start of the World Cup selection cycle. For the World Cup, $5 milllion dollars is not even worth getting corrupt for.

    I think money is decent part of it, but I think the cult of the omniscient center is a bigger driver of the status quo.

  3. 3
    raven says:

    I was officiating basketball when we went from 2 to 3 in high school ball. The ability to rotate with three made it much more possible to keep up with the game and see what was happening. Officials still get screened and have bad angles but it is so much better. Two would make so much difference in soccer.

  4. 4
    MattR says:

    I always assumed the increased power of the assistant referees was related to their improved ability to communicate with and advise the referee during the course of the game. You don’t want to stop the game so the ref can consult with an assistant on the other side of the field, but now it is done with the push of a button.

    Based on that, what about adding another official while maintaining a head – assistant relationship. Leave the head referee in charge of the whistle (and bookings) but allow the new assistant to roam the field and provide another set of eyes? Might work better with two additional assistants, one in each end, with the head ref in between them.

    (EDIT: I would also add that hockey adapted to a 2 ref system pretty quickly)

  5. 5
    Gorgon Zola says:

    the center referee is running eight to ten miles during a regulation 90 minutes plus stoppage time game

    Wow. That’s more than players (a little over 7 mi )

  6. 6
    gene108 says:

    Few other major sport asks as much from there referees. NFL referees have to officiate the same number of players on a field 70% as large. They use a seven man crew. Baseball uses a six man crew to control ten to thirteen players. Hockey uses four officials to control twelve players. Only rugby asks as much of their officials as soccer does.

    Sports that originated in America seem designed to have built in stoppages, with referees and umpires being an additional method of stoppage.

    Basketball, the one American sport that seems to be played across the globe, has far more places to stop play than soccer.

  7. 7
    Robert Sneddon says:

    What happens if the two or more referees disagree on a decision? Unlike all the other “major” sports you mention (which are all in fact American-centric and very much minor sports on the rest of the planet) soccer is a continuous game with no stopping until an event like a called foul or the ball goes out of play. With all the other American-centric games you mention there are short bursts of activity with long intervals, timeouts, changes of teams and players, advertising breaks etc. which allow the multitudinous refs to huddle and make considered judgements. Soccer games with multiple referees would have to stop and start in the same way US games do which would destroy the sport.

    Linesmen (what you called “flags”) are not assistant referees, they have no power to award fouls, penalise players or otherwise control the game, they are only there to indicate what has happened with the ball, such as an offside or which side has the throw-in or corner when the ball goes out of play. Sometimes the referee will confer with them in a deadball situation when a foul has been committed and they may have seen something but the referee is the final arbiter of the game, right or wrong.

    As for the referee having to be an athlete comparable to the players, well yes. It’s part of the job, like ice hockey refs have to be able to skate.

  8. 8
    Darkrose says:

    Baseball typically has 4 umpires for 18 players on the field at a given time (20 if you’re playing clownball AL ball). I don’t count the replay umpires in New York. And as someone who as recently as last night was screaming, “ROBOT FUCKING UMPIRES!!” at the TV, I’m not sure I’d hold baseball up as any kind of ideal. Baseball does have rules, but the umpires are allowed a ridiculous amount of latitude in how those rules are applied. I really believe that if the umpires are being listed and I, a fan, say, “Oh shit” because I know that a guy is known for having inconsistent and arbitrary strike zone, or for blowing calls, or for making a big show out of tossing a manager, that’s a problem.

  9. 9
    dedc79 says:

    The more referees in a game, the harder it is to buy a result. And that sure looks like that’s a problem FIFA should want to address.

  10. 10
    richard mayhew says:

    @Robert Sneddon: assistant referees can “ask” for fouls, cautions and send offs. Good referees who trust their ARs will accede to the requests the vast majority of the time as the AR knows or should know to only ask if they are 100% sure they saw what they want a stoppage and that action is consistent with how the ref is calling a game. Pedantically; you are right an ar can not directly send someone off. However at a high level if an AR wants red, they get red 99% of the time

  11. 11
    scav says:

    The changes in communication technology could very well allow some interesting developments / modifications in refereeing, while maintaining the general ethos of the game. The adaptations might be different than those in sports with different parameters, ethos, preferences. Similarly Isn’t there something new at the goal-line that is new and tech-based, shaking out some bugs in an earlier game when it — amid bless sequential computers — first reported the no-goal and then the goal as the ball hit the post first and then made it in?

  12. 12
    Brad says:

    Last European championship there were two additional officials stationed on the end line. The reasoning was to better determine if the ball crossed the goal line (goal line tech fixes that), and to clean-up play on set pieces (still a problem). I never witness such an official make any call whatsoever. Probably because of an instinctive deference to the center ref.

    By the way, 10 miles? Not possible. That’s and average speed of 7.5 mph.

  13. 13
    JPL says:

    OT.. please like me on Amazon. I’ve written my first book review and wrote about “Blood Feud”. Since I haven’t written a book review for amazon before, it’s important to me, to be recognize. This is my review..

    I’ve taken a star off for every story that Klein missed. Facebook has told me that Hillary and Barack held policy meeting in the Lincoln bedroom. There is a possibility that her concussion was caused from a lover’s spat with the current President. Did you know that Michelle admires Bill’s vegetarian diet, not that there’s anything wrong with that, A friend also mentioned that several greens, that can’t be mentioned, are growing in the White House garden.

    Since I only gave the book one star, I wanted to explain why.

  14. 14
    cmorenc says:

    A second ref on the field with a whistle would NOT have prevented the egregious error by referee Yuichi Nishimura in awarding Brazil a PK on an obvious dive in the opening game with Croatia. Those among us who have worked the dual system (used in NHFS rules governing high school, jayvee, middle school soccer) know that a guiding principle is that you do NOT attempt to overrule judgment decisions by your partner on fouls, cards etc – unless what they are attempting to do is blatantly contrary to the rules (e.g. giving a PK for a passback violation by a GK using his hands to pick up a pass from a teammate). It would only give an extra pair of eyes to (hopefully) have a better chance to be in position to see angles on play (and at closer distances) to make judgments.

    Soccer officiating does *not* improve by adding more whistles – the three-whistle system adopted by some state high school athletic associations (where the ARs are themselves given whistles instead of flags and can call fouls and stop play just like the CR) – is a clusterfuck disaster which the North Carolina High School Athletic Association thankfully abandoned after a two-year experiment with it. WHAT WOULD WORK is a better version of the AAR (i.e. third and fourth assistant referees stationed along the goal line) – the problem there is that in its current incarnation, they’ve hobbled the usefulness of the AARs (give them flags, put them on the opposite side of the goal on the “coffin corner side” of the goal that gives CRs the most trouble to adequately cover instead of the curious current practice of posting them on the same side, and – they apparently haven’t been given much encouragement to signal to the CR that a foul should be called – but are apparently only used to consult if the CR wants on such matters.)

    Soccer is (and should only be) a one-whistle game. I can work compatibly on middle school and jv games in dual (two-whistle) mode, and when the rare need arises (because three refs, CR + 2 ARs is the expected standard in N.C. varsity games) in a varsity game where one of the ARs fails to show – but the infrequent situations where I get a clueless or headstrong wrong-headed partner can be miserable, mitigated only by the fact that the overwhelming majority of games that are two-whislte are relatively milder jv or middle-school games, with relatively low stakes and relatively few difficult decisions.

  15. 15
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Need some help here. My DH has a workshop that he has to go to in Fairfax, VA at the end of July. Providing that I can swing it with my work schedule I want to go with him. His school is covering the mileage and motel rooms so it seems like a really good time for me to check out DC (which I have never done). He will be driving a BOE car so I will not have access to that, how easy is it for me to get from Fairfax to DC using public transportation on a daily basis? We will be there Wednesday, Thursday and Friday during the day. We will drive home on the Friday after his last workshop.

    I am very familiar with cruising London using the tube and other forms of public transport so I am quite confident that once I get to DC I can navigate my way around the place. Can anyone give me some advice as to how I can plan my trip?

  16. 16
    Cacti says:

    Sure as the sun rises in the east, any time the World Cup rolls around, the Americans will be there with solutions on how to “fix” everything.

  17. 17
    cmorenc says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    He will be driving a BOE car so I will not have access to that, how easy is it for me to get from Fairfax to DC using public transportation on a daily basis? We will be there Wednesday, Thursday and Friday during the day. We will drive home on the Friday after his last workshop.

    Provided the motel you’re staying in is near a DC metro station, VERY easy. Just buy yourself a plastic metro fare card (available at all metro stations), put about $10 on it to start, and you can get to most of the locations in D.C. itself that might interest you – in fact more great places than you could visit given that you only have three days. Trains run regularly (every 5 to 15 mins) from early morning up through 11 or 12 at night.

    The free! museums along the national mall (between the Washington monument and national capital building) are well-worthwhile, especially the Air&Space Museum, Natural History Museum, Art Museums and American History museum (where you can e.g. see Dorothy’s red ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz)

  18. 18
    KG says:

    in water polo, they use to have only one ref (and occasionally still do at the lower levels). now they have two, each controls half the tank, more or less (if the ball is on the right side of the pool, the ref on that side has control; unless there is a foul up top that the other ref has a better view of). at the highest levels, they also have goal line judges for goals and when the ball is knocked out (in high school and college you’ll see those for championship games but not much else). soccer could set itself up similar to water polo with two refs – each controls one half of the pitch with the other assists when the play in on the other side of midfield.

  19. 19
    Baud says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    Google WMATA for info about the public transportation system.

  20. 20
    dmsilev says:

    @Darkrose: 18 players on the field at any given time? 9 men on the fielding team, and at most 4 for the batting team. Everyone else is in the dugout and not of immediate concern to the umpires (bench-clearing brawls and so forth aside, of course).

  21. 21
    Baud says:

    @Cacti:

    It’s what we do best.

  22. 22
    beltane says:

    Slightly OT, but my husband’s great-grandfather was one of the first professional soccer referees in Europe back in the early 1900s. This thread moved me to dust off the silver cigar box he received in gratitude for his officiating at a series of pre-World Cup Denmark-Sweden games in 1917, the height of WWI. He later became a well-regarded sports’ journalist in the Netherlands and was known to be extremely sharp-tongued. I wonder what he would think of the game today.

  23. 23
    scav says:

    @beltane: “Get off of my pitch!”

  24. 24
    Heliopause says:

    These are good ideas. I would add, major revision to the penalty kick is called for. It provides too much incentive for faking, and a bad, marginal, or “touch” call is almost tantamount to handing the game to one team. Atrios suggested moving back the penalty kick spot, which is one good idea. Mine is that penalty goals count for one point, while goals scored in the course of regular play count for two points. I suggest combining the two: move back the spot and award two kicks worth one point each for a penalty. Yeah, kind of like basketball. I realize that purists will be aghast because they find gross unfairness preferable to change.

    Taking the ref out of the game as much as possible has been a hobbyhorse of mine in regard to American football for a long time. The prime example is the NFL’s ridiculous pass interference penalty at the spot of the foul. Since an NFL back judge is only about 50-50 to get pass interference calls correct this means that refs essentially being the difference in the game happens disturbingly often. That’s bad. The NFL should adopt the college rule. It won’t improve the calling of the foul, but the enforcement of a bad call will be less likely to turn the game. Same should go for association football. Realizing, of course, that my suggestions above won’t happen.

  25. 25
    dedc79 says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: If you’re gonna be there on the weekend, note that DC Metro has been doing lots of track maintenance work on the weekends, which has meant significant delays on basically every single line.

    There are orange line stops in Fairfax. The Silver Line will add additional stops in Fairfax but probably won’t be opening until end of July http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....story.html

  26. 26
    MattR says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: The Vienna metro stop is in Fairfax (Your hotel may offer free shuttle service). It is $5 or 6 each way and 30-45 min into DC. Buy a reloadable plastic card to avoid extra fees for using the paper ones (I think you may even be able to pre-purchase and/or add money to them online). Not sure if this still applies, but DC used to have variable fares depending on your trip so you have to swipe your card upon both entrance and exit. I know this used to trip up tourists who would crumple up, misplace or toss the card once they were on the train.

  27. 27
    Cacti says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    The DC metro goes to Fairfax, so seeing most of the sights shouldn’t be a problem at all.

    The Smithsonian is actually several museums, so depending on how much time you have, prioritize which ones you most want to see. The Vietnam and Korea memorials are at the Lincoln Memorial end of the Mall. The WWII is in the middle, in the shadow of the Washington monument. The Capitol is at the opposite end from the Lincoln. The SCOTUS and Library of Congress are in the Capitol Hill area, the Smithsonian museums are on either side of the Mall. The Old Post Office tower is on Pennsylvania Ave, and probably gives you the best panoramic view of the entire mall. You also get to take a cool, scenic elevator ride to the top.

    Metro also goes to Arlington, and a visit to the national cemetery is also worth a trip.

  28. 28
    pete says:

    @Brad: Er, no. 10 miles in 90 minutes is a lot but it’s well under 7 mi/hr. And lots of amateur athletes can do a half-marathon (13.1 miles) in less than 90 minutes. Refs are in good shape, physically. Except that some of them need glasses. [g]

  29. 29
    dollared says:

    @cmorenc: I’m afraid I disagree. The examples I would use are the missed hand balls in Croatia/Mexico and the Suarez bite. Those are exactly the kinds of calls that the NBA’s multi-official setup catches, since narrowing the vision field and having multiple angles for the refs makes it easier for them to catch off ball stuff or be closer to visually difficult to perceive action.

    I like being the one whistle (although these days I am mainly the stern terror of U-11 Girls games). But at the World Cup, there is no excuse for the two examples I cited above.

  30. 30
    beejeez says:

    I’m surprised that even an enlightened readership like that of BJ seems disinclined to consider the possibility that the most popular sport in the world doesn’t need the advice of people who watch a handful of soccer games every four years or so. In the dozen or so WC matches I’ve seen so far, I haven’t seen so much as one disgraceful miscarriage of justice. If a game is close enough that one or two questionable calls by a ref are enough to swing it, then a team has not dominated a game enough to insist it clearly deserved to win. Maybe the billions of people who’ve been following the game for generations like it the way it is.

  31. 31
    iLarynx says:

    A dumb and silly “solution” to a non-existent problem. The structure works well as-is, which those who watch fütbol more frequently than one month every four years already know (not to mention those who actually play the game). Perfect? No. Missed calls? Occasionally. But I am constantly amazed at how good the average ref is. I see “questionable” calls replayed in slo-mo to discover the refs get it right probably 95% of the time.

    More is not always better even though, as someone has already mentioned, the American penchant is to over-do things. One ref can already be an obstacle to the ball in play, but you want two obstacles now? If two refs are better than one, then why not 4 or 8? Hell, why not have the dozens of security guards turn around to watch the game and, whenever there’s a questionable call, gather together in committee to debate and vote on the correct call? That would be a very Americanized approach to this sport. If that’s the kind of game you want, just tune in the NFL. You’ll be happy you did. But leave real fütbol alone.

  32. 32
    Randy P says:

    I’m in Northern Italy right now. I was already back in my room last night by the time the game ended (about 8 pm local time), so I didn’t hear any reaction from the crowds in the bars. Today’s conversation on the streets (it’s 2 am here) will probably be interesting, though I doubt I’ll understand much of it.

    Here are some sad Italian faces and some discussion, as you might expect, of the refereeing.

    I didn’t see the game, but he’s talking about an “unjust expulsion” that I gather was critical to the loss. He also says he didn’t see whatever happened with Suarez.

  33. 33

    I think so long as we’re changing soccer we ought to get rid of the goalie. Turns out people get upset when you suggest that. :-)

  34. 34
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    I am very excited about this. We have a brief and joint appendix due in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on July 25 but if I can convince my boss to get it out a few days early I can swing this thing. I really don’t want to pass up a free trip to DC because I have never been there and I would really love to visit the museums and the zoo.

  35. 35
    Cacti says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    Also too, depending on how long you’re there, you might want to buy a SmarTrip pass, that allows you unlimited metro rides for a flat fee.

  36. 36
    dollared says:

    @Cacti: There was a New Yorker article in ’98 where a European explained that Americans are so obsessed with fairness that they ruin all their games, and that’s why the SuperBowl is usually a blowout for the better team. The European argued that soccer is much more like real life, where you get completely fucked at times by random events completely out of your control.

    Ask the Ivorians about that last part.

  37. 37
    Cervantes says:

    I have not been reading these World Cup threads. Has FIFA’s utter and total corruption been discussed (e. g., have the merits of a boycott been weighed)?

  38. 38
    Cacti says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    Also also too, Ford’s Theatre (site of Lincoln assassination) is about 1.6 miles from the White House, and worth a trip if you have the time.

  39. 39
    Roger Moore says:

    @Richard Mayhew:

    I think money is decent part of it, but I think the cult of the omniscient center is a bigger driver of the status quo.

    I suspect a bigger part of it is that going from one on-field official to two is a much bigger change than expanding beyond that. Under the current system, the assistants have a narrow, technical task, and everything else is left up to the one referee. Having more than one guy on the field introduces all kinds of questions about dividing the effort. Are they both given the same general job but asked to look at different areas of the field, or are they each specialized for one part of the game? What happens when they both look at the same event on the field but have a disagreement about what happened? Once you’ve expanded to two or more officials, you can extend the same logic to a larger team, but going from one to more than one is a very big cultural change.

  40. 40
    MattR says:

    @dollared: That sounds about right. Americans are constantly complaining about and trying to improve the officiating in every sport.

  41. 41
    Baud says:

    @dollared:

    Americans are so obsessed with fairness that they ruin all their games, and that’s why the SuperBowl is usually a blowout for the better team

    Fairness causes blowouts?

  42. 42
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @dedc79: @MattR: @Cacti: Thank you all for your help, it appears to me that I will be able to easily hop on the Metro from Fairfax and get to DC to see what I want to see. If I can swing the schedule I will have three days to look around and check out the majority of things that I want to see. The Zoo is priority one, Smithsonian is priority two, everything else is just icing on the cake.

  43. 43

    @Cacti: Ford’s Theatre is a working theater and is very much not worth the time it takes to see it– particularly if you have to listen to the park ranger speak, who literally puts a third of his audience to sleep every time I see him. The museum in the basement is OK but is not actually part of the theater.

    The Peterson House, on the other hand, which is directly across the street, is worth a visit.

    (Ah, hell, while I”m linking my blog posts: http://infinitefreetime.com/20.....ve-a-word/)

  44. 44
    encephalopath says:

    Wouldn’t the 2 referee system also reduce the chances of match fixing through referee manipulation?

    Right now you just have to get to one guy. With 2 referees you need a conspiracy to get away with it.

  45. 45
    beltane says:

    @dollared: I’m not sure that Americans value fairness itself more than other people, so much as that Americans have more faith in due process than other people. Extravagantly unjust outcomes are tolerated so long as those outcomes were arrived at by following proper procedure. The meek, docile reaction to the Bush v. Gore decision is a good example of this way of thinking.

  46. 46
    scav says:

    @dollared: Has a nice élan to it, but I’m not sure I get the Superbowl being won by better team thing though. There is certainly a greater fidelity to obsessive rule-following and precise measurement (the clock watching and stopping plays into both). Those have been privileged to the detriment of other preferences / objectives — that’s just a choice. Running games that way might bias things towards that are statistically measured in building comparative stats, but I’m not sure stats capture everything about better. The going with the flow and not interrupting except for really egregious things does have a certain similarity to messy life all the same, and that does grate on some people.

  47. 47
    Cervantes says:

    @infinitefreetime:

    Ford’s Theatre is a working theater and is very much not worth the time it takes to see it

    Yes, especially if there happens to be an event or show going on when you arrive, in which case you will see approximately nothing.

    The [Petersen] House, on the other hand, which is directly across the street, is worth a visit.

    Yes. It’s where the President died the morning after he was shot.

  48. 48
    Kylroy says:

    @Cacti: Yeah. I’ve basically accepted that soccer involves a level of shrug-and-accept-bad-calls that I will never be able to stomach.

    Richard, haven’t you learned by now that an American saying anything bad about soccer is just revealing what a small minded (and probably Republican) fool they are?

  49. 49
    Geeno says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Why do you have a designated hitter? Are you in the AL?

  50. 50
    Roger Moore says:

    @Robert Sneddon:

    (which are all in fact American-centric and very much minor sports on the rest of the planet)

    I think you’re exaggerating a bit about the American-centric nature of those other sports. Hockey is technically a Canadian sport rather than an American one, and it’s popular in most of Northern Europe as well as North America. Basketball is not as popular as soccer on the world stage, but it may well be the second most popular team sport worldwide, especially given its popularity in China. Baseball is very popular in East Asia (Japan, Korea, Taiwan) and in the Caribbean. All of those sports can put together a decent, exciting world championship that involves plenty of countries where people care about the outcome. The only one that’s completely dominated by the USA is American football.

  51. 51
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @Geeno: Huh?

  52. 52
    Anoniminous says:

    O/T

    Is there going to be a elections thread? Interesting dog fight for the Mississippi GOP nomination between SleazeBall (Cochran) and LooneyTune (McDaniel.)

  53. 53
    scav says:

    @Kylroy: I wouldn’t go so far — it’s sometimes just an unusual local variant on flopping, jumping up and waving one’s arms at the ref on the pitch, with added essence of Monday Morning quarterbacking.

  54. 54
    Origuy says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: You’ll be too late to see part of the zoo.

    In a decision described as a cost-cutting move, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in the District of Columbia has announced it will be permanently closing its Invertebrate Exhibit tomorrow. The exhibit, which opened in 1987, has introduced two generations of visitors to the vast majority of animal species that don’t possess backbones, from octopi to dragonflies to corals. There are no plans to reopen the exhibit, though the Zoo has mentioned a vague Biodiversity exhibit plan to be built sometime in the next 20 years that will include invertebrates.

  55. 55
    beltane says:

    @Anoniminous: That’s a good wake up call for anyone tempted to chest-thump over American superiority.

  56. 56
    Cacti says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Basketball is not as popular as soccer on the world stage, but it may well be the second most popular team sport worldwide, especially given its popularity in China.

    If I had to guess, I’d think that cricket was more popular than basketball, and possibly rugby also.

  57. 57
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Cervantes: Maybe FIFA should be replaced by the NFL owners association as they are American and hence not corrupt at all.

  58. 58
    beltane says:

    I always liked tennis refs and the way they issue edicts from actual thrones like kings and queens.

  59. 59
    Darkrose says:

    @dmsilev: I was counting everyone in the lineup as being “on the field”.

  60. 60
    Cervantes says:

    @Cacti: Measured how? By size of TV audience?

  61. 61
    Geeno says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: You said DH.A long running argument in baseball circles is the “Designated Hitter Rule” which allows another player to bat in place of the pitcher – a position listed as DH in the line up. Between the two major leagues, the American League uses it, but the National League does not.

  62. 62
    Anoniminous says:

    @beltane:

    Cochran has been running around begging the AA community to save his sorry ass. Personally I’d like to see McDaniel get the nom and throw the seat in doubt.

  63. 63
    scav says:

    @Cervantes: Measurement is always the tricky step. It’s also interesting that it’s immediately oriented toward consumption / watching rather than physically play. Because that’s another factor.

  64. 64
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Completely O/T (not sure whether it’s worth a separate thread), but is anyone paying attention to the primaries/primary runoffs in MS, OK, NY, CO and wherever else? Mississippi has been such a fustercluck from start to finish that I’m kind of interested in following it as the results come in, but I guess I can do that without Balloon Juice commentary if I have to. If I must.

    ETA: Completely missed anoninimous asking the same thing. Okay, that’s two of us.

  65. 65
    Baud says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    If you can’t comment in the thread you want, comment in the thread you’re with.

  66. 66
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Roger Moore: When you say hockey, you actually mean the minority-interest sport of ice hockey, of course. Field hockey aka hockey, an Olympic sport is big in India and Pakistan, that’s about 1.5 billion people as well as being a minor sport in many other countries. Heck, internationally even cricket outranks most American sports in popularity with India being the 800-lb gorilla in terms of players, teams and spectators.

    Soccer is still the king internationally though. Even in my home country of Scotland with a population of about 5 million people there are over thirty professional soccer teams and several hundred full-time professional players. Most of them don’t earn the big bucks but they make a decent living from the sport. Same with many other countries like Germany, Italy, France, Spain as well as places like Russia, Japan and, yes, China too. Brazil has 200 million people and they are famously soccer-crazy.

  67. 67
    Cervantes says:

    @Robert Sneddon:

    Maybe FIFA should be replaced by the NFL owners association as they are American and hence not corrupt at all.

    If you’d like to discuss how corrupt or harmful the NFL is, please feel free.

    Whereas given, e. g., the harm that results from the corrupt way in which FIFA selects host countries for the World Cup, I was curious if the soccer audience here had discussed a boycott.

  68. 68

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Find out how far the hotel is from the Fairfax metro station. I believe it is on the Orange line. The best bet is getting to L’Enfant Plaza or Gallery Place in the center of DC and then you could also explore the city on foot if you like. DC is a diamond shape city with a grid that is fairly easy to understand.

    If you tell me what you are interested in and how many days you have I can give you better suggestions.

  69. 69
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Baud:

    Oh thanks a lot. Now I’m going to have the OCA of Finian’s Rainbow going through my head all night.

  70. 70
    Cervantes says:

    @scav:

    It’s also interesting that it’s immediately oriented toward consumption / watching rather than physically play.

    Yes, that’s why I asked.

  71. 71
  72. 72
    Cervantes says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Yes, if you can do it, on foot is the best way to see DC.

    Except in the summer, when the humidity is unbearable.

  73. 73
    raven says:

    @Anoniminous: I don’t know what the big rush is, the polls don’t close until 9pm EST and it’s going to take a good bit of town for those goobers to count.

  74. 74
    muddy says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: @Baud: I voted in my town today for the 3rd time, budget hasn’t passed yet. I really hope it does this time, I have voted Yes 3 times. People keep voting no on various spending, but then re-voting costs as much as what they want to cut. So for the same amount of money we got more hassle, less services. Might as well set the $ on fire.

  75. 75
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @cmorenc: I listened to hockey executives, officials, players, and fan purists make the exact same arguments with the exact same rationales for many years before and during the transition from one ref to two in hockey games. EXACTLY. And what has happened is that in less than ten years from when the change was made, pretty much everyone agrees that what we have now is a big improvement on what we had then.

    So pardon me if I treat your arguments with a good deal of skepticism because I’ve heard them before and they were wrong. And they were wrong in a game that is played on a smaller playing surface, where one set of eyes could see more of what was going on and on which the additional interference caused by adding another body (to the three officials that were already on the ice) consequently greater. It was worth it.

    And I have seen a number of really bad calls in this tournament, starting with more than one in the very first game. It’s not, I think, because the refs are incompetent. It’s because the job asks too much of them. There is no way than anyone can move from one end of the pitch to the other quickly enough to be close enough to the action to really be able to see whether some things are a foul.

    If world football fans are so sensitive that they squeal when someone offers an observation about their game, fuck them. I’m not saying I don’t like watching it, because I do. I’m saying that having gone through this exact same process with a sport that I love, that my experience says that moving to a second referee isn’t nearly the problem that you’re making it out to be.

  76. 76
    Gvg says:

    when we visited Washington this past March, We stayed on the outskirts closest to Baltimore where my sister’s conference was. the Holiday inn shuttle took us to the metro each day and picked us up when we called. further when asked what restraints were close to the hotel, the driver detoured and dropped us off for dinner and picked us up. no charge, just tips. I was really impressed. the mall had very few choices of food beyond museum cafeterias and hot dog stands. the Native American cafeteria is supposed to serve a variety of authentic foods but I am not adventurous about food even though it was recommended to me. You may be different.

  77. 77
    Baud says:

    @muddy:

    Might as well set the $ on fire.

    Some cold homeless guy might benefit from the heat, which would make the whole thing a waste.

  78. 78
    Anoniminous says:

    @raven:

    I’m being annoying. :-)

    ETA: Although AP has started reporting results. Strangely.

  79. 79
  80. 80
    muddy says:

    @Cervantes: My son and I had a 6 hour layover from Amtrak in DC 20 years ago. We walked all over the place. It was so great to go inside the museums etc and enjoy the A/C.

  81. 81
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @raven:

    According to what I saw, they closed at 8:00 PM EDT in MS (not sure about other states).

  82. 82
    muddy says:

    @Baud: There are no homeless people in this town that I’m aware of. Well, no, I know people who don’t have a permanent place. But there is no one on the street.

    The same idiots in the paper bitching about spending money on the school are the ones who want to be sure we save the big bucks for fireworks etc. I didn’t think children were allowed to vote…

  83. 83
    Schlemizel says:

    I don’t know. I learned in a thread last night that everything in soccer is perfect as it is and if you don’t agree you’ll never get the game for fucks sake.

    Heaven forefend anyone want to discuss the value of the game as currently played.

  84. 84
    MattR says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: The important thing is to pay attention to the quadrants when looking at addresses. 20th and Kst NE is not three blocks from 21st and Mst NW.

    Litlebritdifrnt – The Capitol is the center of the grid. As you go north or south away from the Capitol the letters for the east-west running streets increase (A,B,C, etc except no J). As you go east or west, the north-south running streets increase (1st, 2nd, etc). For the most part the states run diagonally (which creates some fun traffic intersections).

  85. 85
    Baud says:

    @muddy:

    Actual children are too reasonable to be allowed to vote.

  86. 86
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Robert Sneddon:

    Heck, internationally even cricket outranks most American sports in popularity with India being the 800-lb gorilla in terms of players, teams and spectators.

    You’re forgetting the 1200-lb. gorilla in which basketball is very popular, baseball is gaining some interest, and cricket is just about non-existent. When I was in Xi’an last year, LeBron James’ face was plastered on billboards everywhere. I didn’t see Michael Clarke once.

  87. 87
    Cervantes says:

    @Gvg:

    the Native American cafeteria is supposed to serve a variety of authentic foods

    It does.

  88. 88
    Roger Moore says:

    @Cacti:

    If I had to guess, I’d think that cricket was more popular than basketball, and possibly rugby also.

    I think it depends somewhat on how you measure popularity. Cricket has the kind of narrow but deep fan base that people accuse American sports of having. There are only ten countries that play test cricket, but it’s a very important sport in those countries and some of them are very big. Basketball has wider but shallower support. It’s popular in enough countries that the FIBA World Cup has 24 teams and they have to make it through qualifiers to play there. Basketball isn’t the absolute most popular sport in many countries, but it’s one of the top few in a lot more places than cricket is.

  89. 89
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Basketball isn’t the absolute most popular sport in many countries, but it’s one of the top few in a lot more places than cricket is.

    And, as I said, one of those places is China, which has a few people of its own.

  90. 90
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Heliopause:

    Mine is that penalty goals count for one point, while goals scored in the course of regular play count for two points.

    You might as well ask for penalties to be taken with beachballs instead of footballs, because that has more of a chance of being adopted than introducing a “points” system.

    Richard did a good job of describing the decision-making process, but I’m honestly not comfortable with the idea of multiple referees, especially if it’s only for major tournaments. Suppose you have a stricter ref covering the end you’re defending in the first half? You might be down to ten players before half-time.

    I spent a lot of time watching Serie A matches when Pierluigi Collina was officiating, and I wish they could clone him. Collina was one of the advocates of behind-the-goal officials, and there was a programme on British television back in May where he talked about that, and which played audio of the discussions between the different officials.

  91. 91
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): India and Pakistan are both cricket-crazy in the same way Brazil is obsessed with soccer and they together (1.5 billion) have a larger population than China (1.35 billion).

  92. 92
    Roger Moore says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    And, as I said, one of those places is China, which has a few people of its own.

    My understanding is that soccer is still more popular as a spectator sport in China than basketball is, though basketball is still very popular. Basketball is also obviously pretty damn popular in the USA- though second or third in popularity behind American football and maybe baseball. It’s also very popular in some other big countries like Brazil and Russia, and is probably the second or third most popular sport in most of Europe. I don’t know of any country where it’s the absolute top sport, but it seems to be number two or number three just about everywhere.

    ETA: In case it’s not clear, I think this makes it more of a legitimate world sport than one like cricket that is staggeringly popular in a few countries and barely heard of elsewhere. It’s exactly the same complaint that’s leveled against American football.

  93. 93

    @Roger Moore: When I was India last month. I had dinner at the CCI (Cricket Club of India)’s bar Sticky Wicket. There was to be an IPL match at the Brabourne Stadium the next day and I got the opportunity to watch the two teams practice at the nets. Unfortunately, since I have not followed cricket all that closely off late, I am unfamiliar with most of the current players.

  94. 94
    MattR says:

    @Roger Moore:

    It’s popular in enough countries that the FIBA World Cup has 24 teams and they have to make it through qualifiers to play there.

    Only 24? The lacrosse World Championships in Denver next month will have 38. And yes, I know that the basketball world cup narrows things down from 200+ countries to those 24 while the lax tournament will take a team of just about any quality since they want the exposure to grow the sport :) I’m actually excited to see the Iroquois team play and think they should make the semis and have a decent chance to make the finals over the US or Canada this year (with Australia being my 4th semifinalist over Japan and England. I don’t think anyone from the other groups will be competitive with the top group of 6).

  95. 95

    @Robert Sneddon: You forgot to add Sri Lanka to that list.

  96. 96
    cmorenc says:

    @beejeez:

    I’m surprised that even an enlightened readership like that of BJ seems disinclined to consider the possibility that the most popular sport in the world doesn’t need the advice of people who watch a handful of soccer games every four years or so.

    Some of us referee soccer ourselves – I was center referee or assistant referee for 150 matches over the last year, and coached teams for six years. But no, FIFA doesn’t listen to us either. I have also chatted with some key figures at USSF at referee clinics, but I seriously doubt my .02 worth was enough to purchase even a microscopic pip of influence over the direction of the rules and the game.

  97. 97
    Heliopause says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    You might as well ask for penalties to be taken with beachballs instead of footballs, because that has more of a chance of being adopted than introducing a “points” system.

    As I said. But I’m curious what you think of the idea on the merits.

    Suppose you have a stricter ref covering the end you’re defending in the first half?

    That already happens. What if one linesman enforces offside differently than the other?

  98. 98
    Turgid Jacobian says:

    @beejeez:

    Dear Fvckface,

    The rules change, usually for the better, because people agitate for improvement. The old guard b|tches and moans and justifies their pathetic appeals with authority/authenticity.

    Plenty of long-time spectators, players, and referees agree that too many games are unduly swayed by bad or no calls.

    Fvck you very much,
    TJ

  99. 99
    lol says:

    @beejeez:

    Which “generations” are you talking about? There’s been a big change every few decades. Penalty cards introduced in the 70s, substitutions in the 50s, offside going from 3 to 2 defenders in the 20s, penalty kicks added in the 1890s. (Not to mention the goal line tech added a couple years ago.) Now they’re features of the game you take for granted as part of the authentic real soccer experience.

    I fail to see how adding a second ref is a bigger change than any of those. The problems people keep bringing up are *solved* ones.

  100. 100
    Jeffro says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Omg totally easy, just take the Orange Line in from Vienna to DC (and all points in between)

  101. 101
    Kylroy says:

    @lol: So, based on your history of rule changes, there haven’t been any significant ones in over 30 years. That means an entire generation *has* indeed passed without any major rule changes. Combine the innate human resistance to change with an attitude that altering rules is such a crudely *American* response to problems, and you have a recipe for no changes ever.

  102. 102
    zzcool says:

    Why do other countries always seem to struggle with this? Australian rules football has had a handle on this, according to Wikipedia, since 1993.

    In the highest level of play, the Australian Football League (AFL), there are three central umpires, four boundary umpires, an emergency umpire (off-field but can still call blood rule or free-kicks for behind-the play incidents), and two goal umpires.

    The average running distance for a central umpire per game is 12km. The boundary umpires, depending on whether there is 2 or 4 can cover anywhere between 10 and 20km per game.

    I imagine two referees for soccer would be trivial to implement and they would simply need to rely on ‘passing-the-baton’ to maintain who has referee control at any point. That being said, if one referee spots a penalty that another has missed then there would be leeway for the first referee to call it.

  103. 103
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: Regarding stricter refs —

    Sure that is a problem, but as others have noted, it is already an issue as ARs will support their centers in slightly different ways/see offsides slightly differently (at the FIFA panel level, the inter-rater reliability of US ARs is ridiculously high, at A-league pro level, the offside decision is 99% accurate or better but there is wiggle room) The way it balances is TeamA gets the asshole in the 1st half and Team B gets him in the second.

    I would imagine that a 4 man crew for a FIFA level tournament would be a long term crew that has a demonstrated history of in-game and inter-game inter-rater reliability (Ref A sees challenge X and produces the same exact call or no call as Ref B with a similar approach to discipline escalation.) Crew 1 might be fast on the cautions as a crew while Crew 2 might be willing to man-manage and run a 90 minute cognitive behavioral therapy session for players, but as long as the crews are consistent within each game, it can work. I would imagine that since in-crew consistency is already heavily rewarded for FIFA panel referees and ARs, an even greater emphasis on in-crew consistency on how they see a game will produce quads that work very nicely as a team on the World Stage. The quads that can’t won’t be invited.

    As a side note, a colleague of mine made an attempt for a past World Cup as an official. In the run-up year, he was with his triad for 212 nights. He was on the field with his crew either training, prepping, or reffing for more hours than he was awake his wife that year. That type of together time is not uncommon for World Cup crews. It builds a unified vision of a game. Quads could do the same things as the triads.

  104. 104
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @Kylroy: The two big changes in my refereeing career have been (at a professional level) the virtual elimination of hideous tackles on defenseless opponents (mainly from behind) and a significant loosening of offside. Now the interpretation on offside is the player in an offside position must be intimately involved in play (usually by touching the ball/defender) while when I started to referee, offside was much looser and would be called if the player in an offside position was in the vague area of the ball or a defender or if his shadow could be seen by a defender.

  105. 105
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @Richard Mayhew: We still see too many really dumb tackles at the Beer League level where the out of shape 28 year old still thinks he is 19 and can just thread the needle and poke the balll away but at the competitive youth development, scholarship college, and professional levels, the number of “you’re heading for surgery” tackles has declined massively.

  106. 106
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Kylroy:

    So, based on your history of rule changes, there haven’t been any significant ones in over 30 years.

    The backpass rule (1992); the increased number of substitutes and the broader bench, including a mandatory sub goalie; the automatic red card for a second bookable offence; the punishment of tackles from behind; the professional foul rules for denial of goalscoring opportunities; the “level is onside” [and “interfering with play”] rules for offside. Some of these are more significant than others, but they all reward attacking play.

    For contrast’s sake, I’d argue that the rule changes in both rugby codes over the same period have made them less attractive to non-devotees. Union still hasn’t worked out a scrum protocol, and every player now has the physique of a number 8. League is interminable.

    @zzcool:

    Australian rules football has had a handle on this, according to Wikipedia, since 1993.

    Australian rules football is played on a cricket oval that averages ~150m long and ~130m wide, has 18 players per side, and the ball can easily be kicked 50m at a time. An association football pitch is around 105x68m.

    @Heliopause:

    I’m curious what you think of the idea on the merits.

    I think it’s a silly idea on the merits.

  107. 107
    Kylroy says:

    @Richard Mayhew: The question is, did those changes include the top – level international game? Were players in World Cup matches getting tackled in ways in 1998 that don’t fly in 2014? I assure you that any changes only made domestically to the referee guidelines matter not one whit to foreign audiences.

    I just think any rules change that is perceived as coming from Americans will be shrugged off as ignorant Yanquis trying to deface the Beautiful Game.

  108. 108
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Richard Mayhew:

    The way it balances is TeamA gets the asshole in the 1st half and Team B gets him in the second.

    That’s levelling to some extent with the linesmen/assistants (sorry, can’t do ‘AR’, blame Lalas) and the players are pretty quick to learn, but less so with referees. If you lose a player to Referee Cardhappy in the first half then you’re at a greater disadvantage than the other team when he sends one of theirs off in the second half. I take your point about building consistent teams, but I still don’t see how you get there from here.

    (Here’s a clip from the Collina programme that Sky showed this May.)

  109. 109
    MattR says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: IIRC, the traditionalists complained about changing that backpass rule, even though most people realized it had become completely necessary. I don’t think anyone could honestly say the game is worse off because of it. In fact it is almost ridiculous to conceive of a game played under the old rule.

    @Kylroy:

    Were players in World Cup matches getting tackled in ways in 1998 that don’t fly in 2014?

    Yes. There have been numerous tackles in this World Cup that result in bookings where the commentators have mentioned it wouldn’t even have been called a foul 15-20 years ago. Getting the ball first used to be enough to avoid a foul, now you are responsible for damage done by your follow through.

  110. 110
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Kylroy:

    Were players in World Cup matches getting tackled in ways in 1998 that don’t fly in 2014?

    I’m not Richard, but I can assure you of that. In part, I think, that’s because the quality of teams from certain federations has improved substantially — African and Asian teams, in particular, had a reputation for tackles that you’d see on a pub pitch — but also because you can’t get away with persistent fouling.

    And if you look at matches in the 1970s…. well, look out of the corner of your eye.

  111. 111
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @MattR:

    IIRC, the traditionalists complained about changing that backpass rule, even though most people realized it had become completely necessary

    I was not a traditionalist. And it was clear that the backpass was being used as a way to kill time. If you look at the modern interpretation of the backpass rule, it’s a bit more liberally enforced than it first was in terms of deflections and inadvertent passes.

    Oh, another rule change: no more “three steps with the ball” for the keeper; instead you have the six second rule which is rarely enforced, but got the US women their winner against Canada in the 2012 Olympics because Abby Wambach kept moaning to the ref about it.

  112. 112
    MattR says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    If you look at the modern interpretation of the backpass rule, it’s a bit more liberally enforced than it first was in terms of deflections and inadvertent passes.

    It makes sense that they started off overly harsh initially while players were trying to test its limits and find loopholes (FIFA had to declare that you can be booked for unsporting behavior if you flip the ball up to your thigh, or other body part, just so you can pass it back to your goalie when the players found that loophole). Now that everyone has accepted it and are trying to play around it, the players get the benefit of the doubt.

    I think the next minor adjustment with a major impact on the game will be changing the definition of “level” for offside purposes so that you are only offside if the entirety of your head, body and feet are nearer the opponent’s goal line than the entirety of the head, body and feet of the second last defender and the ball. (Right now it is offside if any part of your head, body or feet is nearer the goal line than any part of the head, body and feet of the second to last defender) I am not enough of an expert to try and pretend my prediction is anything but a guess, but I’ll say the number of goals would double (or) the first year after they made that change.

  113. 113
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: Yeah, 1998 things were improving, but there were tackles in 1994 and 1990 which are still clinic tape for “AUTOMATIC RED CARD SFP” which back then, were either simple fouls or nothing and teams accepted the low call or no call.

  114. 114
    nota bene says:

    @dollared:

    There was a New Yorker article in ’98 where a European explained that Americans are so obsessed with fairness that they ruin all their games, and that’s why the SuperBowl is usually a blowout for the better team. The European argued that soccer is much more like real life, where you get completely fucked at times by random events completely out of your control.

    Counterpoint: Don Denkinger.

  115. 115
    rea says:

    @Darkrose: Baseball typically has 4 umpires for 18 players on the field at a given time (20 if you’re playing clownball AL ball).

    No. The defensive team has 9 players on the field. The team at bat has one batter, plus 0-3 baserunners. Everyone else is in the dugout or bullpen.

    And yeah, the game is soooo much more entertaining if you get to see the pitcher bat.

  116. 116
    Heliopause says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    I think it’s a silly idea on the merits.

    Why?

Comments are closed.