Five worst officiating calls of 2008

Ed HochuliYeah, officials have blown a lot this year. But here are just five incidents in 2008 when they blew big time:

1. Washington vs. BYU, Sept. 6: Granted, Washington lost every game this season, but they clearly had a shot to beat BYU in September. The Huskies’ quarterback Jake Locker scored a touchdown with two seconds left to bring his team within one. After diving into the end zone, Locker threw his hands — and the ball — into the air in, what appeared to be, a natural reaction of pure excitement. The ref, however, ruled the ball-flipping and jumping up and down to be “excessive celebration.” As a result, kicker Ryan Perkins was placed an extra 15 yards back, his game-tying extra point was blocked and the Huskies lost.

2. 2008 World Series, Game 3: An error by the first base umpire in Game 3 of the Fall Classic nearly gave the Tampa Bay Rays a series-turning win over the Phillies. It was the top of seventh, Rays at bat. Carl Crawford led off and tapped a well-placed bunt up the first-base line. The Phillies near-46-year-old Jamie Moyer dashed down the line, dove to field the ball and, in one graceful motion, tossed it to Ryan Howard at first, who snatched out of the air bare-handed with his foot on the bag. It looked as though Howard — with ball in hand — stood on the base awaiting Crawford’s arrival. The umpire thought otherwise. Safe! The Rays scored two subsequent runs to come back within one, but the Phillies managed to hang on to their lead for the win and, well, you know the rest.

3. Georgetown vs. Villanova, Feb. 11: Like Holmes’ catch, this one was all about the line. With the score tied at 53 apiece and only a second left on the clock, Georgetown’s Jonathan Wallace sped up the floor, dodging Villanova defenders. Still 70-something feet from the basket, Wallace heard the ref blow the whistle and, thinking there was no way a foul would be called in such a tight situation, Wallace assumed he stepped out of bounds. And when you assume you … I won’t go there. In short, the ref did the unthinkable and called a foul on ‘Nova’s Corey Stokes, gave Wallace two freebies at the line and handed Georgetown a 55-53 win.

4. Heat vs. Clippers, Nov. 29: Sometimes a bad call is any call. With Miami trailing 97-96 and the clock reading 7.6 seconds, Los Angeles’ Baron Davis inbounded the ball after a Miami score. With none of his teammates open, he heaved the ball down court, hoping a Clipper would miraculously take control. Dwayne Wade got it instead. As he grabbed the ball out of mid-air and was falling onto the scorers’ table, Wade threw the ball toward the three lone Heat players near the basket. The ref thought Wade had stepped out of bounds but, after reviewing the play, the steal was upheld. Unfortunately, the breakaway play was cut off, and the Heat was forced to inbounds, which resulted in the Clippers fouling and, ultimately, the Heat losing.

5. Broncos vs. Chargers, Sept. 14: Here you go, Ravens fans. If you thought your call was bad, think about how the Chargers felt on this one. With less than two minutes remaining, the Broncos lined up on the Chargers 1-yard line with the chance to tie the game. As Jay Cutler dropped back, the ball slipped out of his hands and into those of San Diego linebacker Tim Dobbins. As soon as the ball touched the ground, referee Ed Hochuli quickly — too quickly — blew his whistle. Hochuli ruled an incomplete pass, though the replay clearly showed it was a fumble. So, Denver regrouped, scored a touchdown, followed with a two-point conversion and won 39-38. Hochuli later apologized for his error.

You’ll never get a Charger fan to say this but I still feel bad for Hochuli. That guy has been a great ref throughout his career but he’ll always be remembered for this one mistake. Albeit it was a massive mistake, but still…

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Phillies fans react to winning the World Series

Somebody actually dedicated a website to the fan aftermath following the Phillies winning the World Series.

The city of Philadelphia is probably praying the Phillies go at least another 28 years before winning anything ever again.

World Series Morning After

– Phil Sheridan writes that 28 years later, the Phillies are again baseball’s best. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

– J Posnanki says that even as winners, Philadelphians stay in character (and that’s not a compliment). (Kansas City Star)

– Kevin Blackistone writes that baseball needs a shorter season. (AOL Sports)

– Jim Caple calls for more suspended Series games. (ESPN)

– John Romano writes that in just one year, the Rays changed everything. (St. Petersburg Times)

– Marc Lancaster notes that just two days later, the Phillies finished the job. (Tampa Tribune)

– Tim Brown says that the Rays just can’t grasp losing. (Yahoo! Sports)

Take Five: Phillies win 2008 World Series

Philadelphia PhilliesThe 2008 World Series had a little of everything. It had a team that hadn’t played in the Fall Classic in over a decade, another that was making its first ever appearance and two starving sports cities dying for something to finally cheer about. Throw in not one, but three separate weather delays and baseball fans were treated to one of the more bizarre Series in some time. And thanks to their 4-3 Game 5 victory, the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays four games to one to win the 2008 World Series.

Below are five observations from the 2008 World Series.

1. The team with more momentum didn’t win. After beating the Boston Red Sox in a thrilling seven game ALDS, the Tampa Bay Rays steamrolled into the Fall Classic with all of the momentum. But maybe the ALDS took too much out of them, because the big “mo” didn’t play a factor in this Fall Classic. The Phillies disposed of the Dodgers rather easily in the NLDS and obviously had no issues getting back up for the Rays.

2. The AL didn’t dominate in the end. Baseball pundits liked to wax poetically throughout the season about how the American League has more dominant pitchers, better lineups and more complete teams. But the Rays, who arguably had the better pitching, the better lineup and more complete team, couldn’t measure up. While Philadelphia might not have had the better club according to all the so-called experts, they proved it all comes down to execution.

3. The Phillies had to deal with the weather too. Obviously the weather had an effect on the Rays’ performance. They weren’t used to playing that late in October and especially not in cold climates like the ones they faced in Philly. But it’s not like the Phillies played in that kind of weather year round. The rain and cold could have had an affect on both teams, but only one was in the end.

4. Cole Hamels is unbelievable. Hamels played the role of Josh Beckett in this year’s postseason in that he was absolutely un-hittable. He rebounded from a shaky 2007 postseason and shined like a true ace when the Phillies needed one the most.

5. Phillies-Rays killed the causal fan. The Phillies and Rays deserved to play in the Fall Classic because they earned it. They were the best teams in their respective leagues and nobody can take away their accomplishments. That said, this was a boring Series for the causal fan. While it was fun to root for the underdog Rays and a Phillies team that was going after their first title in 28 years, there wasn’t much to tune into. There was no team to root against like the Yankees or Red Sox. There was no crazy character to follow like Manny Ramirez. This Series flat out lacked some luster, but then again – too bad. The Red Sox didn’t deserve to be there; nor did the Yankees. The Phillies and Rays did and in the end, that’s all that matters.

Media Link Dump: Wednesday

Here’s what sports columnists are saying around the country on a variety of topics:

Bud Selig– Mike Celizic writes that Bud Selig is not cut out to be MLB’s commissioner. (NBC Sports)

– Joe Henderson wonders aloud if this year’s World Series could get any worse. (St. Petersburg Times)

– Hugh Falk lays out Part 1 of his blue print on how to fix the BCS. (

– Johnette Howard writes that Jerry Jones is running the Dallas Cowboys into the ground. (Newsday)

– Bill Simmons hands out his predictions for the 2008-09 NBA Season. (

– Cedric Golden says that the San Antonio Spurs’ title window has already closed. (Austin American-Statesman)

– Dave Kriger notes that a fixed site for future World Series would make more sense. (Rocky Mountain News)

– Drew Sharp says the Lions should start second-year quarterback Drew Stanton on Sunday. (Detroit Free Press)

– Peter King notes that we should expect the NFL Replay Rule to be tweaked. (Sports Illustrated)

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