Monday on NNR Doug Upstone and a replay of the Kelly Holcomb interview.

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Monday on the Radio version of NNR Doug Upstone of joins me at 6:15 to talk about the odds for the NBA and NHL Playoffs as well as the chances of the Indians and Browns in 2011.

Because of the great interview with Ken Becks of we did not get to the replay of the Holcomb interview. At 7:15 I will replay the interview with former Browns QB Kelly Holcomb. That plus your calls and the winner of the call of the week prize starts at 6 PM EDT on .

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on

and a non-fiction work at He edits . Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear his sports show Monday-Friday 6-8 PM EST on or .

Baseball needs to upgrade Umpires NOW!

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                       MLB Umpire Foster

MLB’s reputation has taken major hits from the steroid scandal, missing the playoffs because of a strike and leadership of the some times blind but always intellectually challenged Bud Selig. But there is a bigger problem with the game—the ineptness of some of its umpires.

Umpire Marty Foster covered 3rd base last night sort of. At least he was paid to do that. In the first inning he called Derek Jeter attempting to steal 3rd. The ball got there in time but Jeter was never tagged. Jeter complained to Foster and was reportedly told that he didn’t have to be tagged to be out. When Jeter told Yankee manager Joe Girardi what Foster had said, Girardi exploded and got thrown out of the game for arguing the call. Maybe someone should buy Foster a copy of the MLB rule book. Even if they did, I doubt he would read it.

The umpires were already under the gun for inaccurate ball and strike counts. New technology has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that umpires are not able to tell a strike from a ground hog. Baseball has always said that it can live with a wider than legal strike zone as long as the calls are consistent for both sides. But the only consistency is how inconsistent the calls are. The union is fighting any use of instant replay including the limited use now approved. They want to keep the ineptness of their members a secret. But we all know they are inept. The sport needs instant replay to correct the most egregious mistakes.

The umpires are above criticism by players, team managers, and owners. Baseball fines and can suspend those individuals for saying anything negative about the boys in blue. Fortunately, there is nothing that the union can do to me. Unfortunately, there is very little I can do to the union as well.

If baseball ever wants to convince people like me that the game is fair, it is going to have to use instant replay to eliminate the stupidity and bumbling calls of their umpires. Balls and strikes need to be called mechanically. The existing technology can do that as fast as the umpire behind the plate but with total accuracy. Errors in calls on the bases need to be corrected real time as well.

The game deserves better. The players that work so hard hopefully with out the assistance of steroids deserve better. Most of all, the fans that pay to see the travesty laughingly referred to as MLB and those that buy the products that support the game deserve it as well. Unfortunately for all those people, the Umpire Union is so strong that instant replay will never be used beyond those approved now. In fact, look for the union to negotiate that use out of their next contract.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

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Nibblets from around the Net

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Fryingpan Sports

Nibblets from around the Net

By Bill Smith

Update: Has Kurt Warner punched his HOF ticket?

Warner in his 3rd Super Bowl threw for 300+ yards for a third time. In his 3 appearances, he has thrown for more yards than Joe Montana did in 4 starts, and John Elway in his 5 starts. Does anyone question the credentials of Montana or Elway for the Hall—no. So what is the problem now with Warner?

Well, the critics say—he only won 1 of the three games. Yea, and does anyone think that if Matt Lienart was the QB for the Cards they would have even made it to the Super Bowl, let alone be leading with 2 minutes to go? No. Remember that Warner took 2 teams from the outhouse to…well you know the saying. If he comes back in 09 he has a good chance to get to the playoffs again out of the weak NFC West. My advice: The Cards should beg him to come back for at least one more year.

Update: The NFL needs to take out the clowns wearing the stripes.

The Super Bowl officiating crew did not improve the overall rating of their peers in 2008. They missed not one but two blocks in the back on the 99 yard pass interception return, missed a couple of calls that replay corrected, and let the Steelers pound on the the Cards in a way that is unacceptable. My advice: Get some guts and when a player slugs an opponent that is down, throw the bum out! If that crew is the best of the best as the NFL claims, they really need to upgrade. Maybe the NFL can steal some refs from the UFL or the Area League.

End zone celebrations in the NFL—No Fun League

NFL officials are struggling hard just to call the action on the field. I want to make it a little easier for the blind and physically infirmed. Wipe the end zone celebration penalties off the books that do not involve taunting an opponent directly. We are going through a lot economically. The government is giving our money away so fast that a drunken sailor would be embarrass and our 401K accounts have gone down so far that they are now 201b instead. My advice: Let the guys have a little fun after they score and let us enjoy it. It will make the game a little more entertaining. A lot of teams are so bad that end zone celebrations may be the only thing worth buying a ticket to see.

Manny Ramírez:

Manny has manny manny dollars and its a good thing because he can’t seem to find a contract that he likes. He was very productive last season for the Dodgers and had the all time best slugging percentage in the playoffs ever. Now, Manny wants a multi-year multi-million dollar contract.

The problem is that too many people saw him dog it in Boston at the end of his last multi-year agreement. He will also turn 37 early in the 09 season. He will not get a 3 or 4 year deal and it is his own fault. My advice: Manny, the Dodgers offered you a 2 year deal and you turned it down. Then they offered a 1 year 25 million dollar contract offer. Nobody else wants you. Take the 1 year deal and play well. You will get another contract for 2010.

Citibank and the Mets:

Citibank is being pressured by the government, stock holders, and the public to pull out of the reportedly 400 million dollar naming deal for the Mets new stadium. The problem is that they got a several billion dollars of tax payer money to bail them out. Now, they can either take the heat and maybe not get any more honey out of the public pot, or back out of the deal and face a cancellation charge. Neither choice is popular. The bank may face as much as 100 million dollar charge to withdraw their name. The stockholders were not happy about the deal in the first place and management could face their wrath at the next board meeting. My advice: dump the deal and let management pay for the cancellation fee out of their own pockets—but don’t hold your breath for that to happen.

The Raiders make it official:

Despite calling reports from ESPN and others inaccurate, the Raiders held a press conference on Wednesday that announced Tom Cable is their new head coach. Cable turned the team around and had a 4-8 record after taking over. My advice: Lock Al Davis in a closet and let Cable do his job. He is a good coach and the only one willing to work for you.

National Signing Day:

It is great that some kids get a chance to go to college to play football. However, WAY too much attention is paid to who goes where. The perennial bottom feeders of the NFL know that draft rankings of college players is at best a difficult art. Gaging high school players is 100 times more difficult. According to many “high school scouting experts” Notre Dame has had one of the top recruiting classes almost every year for the last decade. If that is the case why have they done so poorly? Some claim that ND for a high school All American is just like witness protection. No one knows you are there and no one will notice when you leave.

There is another more serious problem—filling the heads of high school athletes with delusions of grandeur. It puts a lot of pressure on them and also feeds their already overgrown ego. It contributes to their feeling that they are above the rules and the law. Being a BMOC (big man on campus) is enough of a head sweller. My advice: Forget 10 hours of play by play coverage of NSD on ESPN next year. Put the names in the paper and on Sporting News and let it go at that. Maybe the players will take their lives and college a little more seriously. Then they won’t have to be tasered when they get drunk and resist arrest like OT Alex Boone (Ohio State) did.


Yes, Soccer. David Beckham has told the L.A. Galaxy he does want to play for them anymore.

My advice: David, we couldn’t care less where you play. It doesn’t matter and you don’t either.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

My email is [email protected]

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

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