The Blown Call Sports Blog examines the issues in modern day sports. It is meant to be a commentary about what is wrong and right in sports. For fantasy junkies, there will be plenty of juice here for you as well.

Friday, October 24, 2008

NHL Saturday Proline Picks (Winners in Bold)

New Jersey vs Philadelphia - Brodeur was peppered for 6 goals last night, so expect Kevin Weekes to get his first start and Philly putting up another 6 goals. Plus the Flyers didn't move up their game for the World Series to lose.

Atlanta vs Boston - Thrashers are on the back end of a back to back and Boston will be better after giving up a 2 goal lead to the Leafs.

Ottawa vs Toronto - This is a close one to call. But the Leafs suck, so take the Sens in a shootout.

Anaheim vs Montreal - Could be the game of the night. Take Montreal on every ticket until they lose.

Carolina vs NY Islanders - I don't like anything about the Isles, so take the Canes.

Pittsburgh vs NY Rangers - Coin flip. The Pens look like they are playing better hockey, though.

San Jose vs Tampa Bay - Even though San Jose lost last night, there is no way you can't take them here.

Los Angeles vs Nashville - The Preds are at home and Arnott is back.

Columbus vs Minnesota - The Wild are hot and the Jackets are not.. good on the road.

Washington vs Dallas - The Stars are playing better hockey mainly because Turco is closing his legs more. When is Ovechkin going to start playing?

Florida vs St Louis - Despite the Panthers' win over San Jose, St Louis is still a better option.

Detroit vs Chicago - Upset pick of the night. Take the Hawks to catch the Wings flat footed on their back end of a back to back. Tonight both teams will also unveil their Outdoor Hockey Classic jerseys.

Buffalo vs Colorado - Thomas Vanek is leading the world in goals, stick with the Sabres until they cool down.

Edmonton vs Vancouver - None of these teams are playing up to their potential, but the Canucks are playing worse.

Calgary vs Phoenix - I like Yotes and I don't trust the Flames.

Jays Sign Loewen, Claim Bullington!

According to, the Toronto Blue Jays have signed Canadian pitcher turned outfielder, Adam Loewen and claimed formed first overall pick, Bryan Bullington from the Cleveland Indians.

Loewen, drafted 4th overall in 2002, is well known around these parts (southern Ontario and the rest of Canada) for being the highest Canadian ever drafted in the MLB draft. After failing as a pitcher in the Baltimore Orioles' organization, he made a career move this past summer by attempting to transform himself into a position player. Hitting is not a new thing to Loewen. When he played for the Canadian National Junior team, when he was not pitching, he was playing outfield or used as the designated hitter.

Joining Loewen as the newest Blue Jay is
Bryan Bullington, who was drafted first overall in the same 2002 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was given a short stint with the big club this past summer, but failed to win a game.

Both players were very highly touted coming out of the draft; however, since then, they have not come close to their potential. Both these moves have a low risk and medium reward, nonetheless are great moves by the Jays based on the players' talent level. Despite these two good signings from the 2002 draft, this does not hide the Blown Call that they made when they selected Russ Adams, when Tulowitzki and Hamels were still on the board.

Blown Call of the Week

Since this is my first entry, I thought it would be appropriate to start with the theme of this blog: The Blown Call. Once in a while, I will return to this theme because it is an aspect in all sports that has not changed. Whether it be a blown call by an umpire, referee, coach, player, aunt, uncle or financial consultant - we are all human, we make mistakes all the time. Because of this fact, amidst the various rule changes throughout sports history, one common theme remains: The Blown Call.

Blown Call Entry #1: October 23, 2008 - Philadelphia Phillies vs Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays, World Series Game 2
Guilty: Kerwin Danley, Home Plate Umpire
Casualty: Brett Myers, Starting Pitcher

Kerwin Danley is one of the great umpires in the majors today. He is a twelve year veteran and does not shy away from sticking his neck in the line of fire. This is best exemplified when he took a 96 mph heater from Brad Penny this year in the mask. He controls the strike zone, the game, and his emotions. However, last night was his first attempt in his career at home plate in the World Series. Broadcasters go on about how the World Series (or the Super Bowl or Stanley Cup, etc.) are the biggest stage in sports and naturally nerves will affect performance. Danley's blown call last night directly correlates to the affect nerves had on his own performance.

It was the bottom of the second inning. One out, one on and a full count to Rocco Baldelli. Myers winds, fires, and Baldelli offers. Danley's right arm goes up to what is supposed to symbolize strike three, but Baldelli jogs to first. Danley then appeals to the first base umpire, who proceeds to justify Baldelli's ball four.

Did this botched call potentially change the outcome of the game? Probably not, but it would have made the game much closer and less controversial. The next batter, Jason Bartlett, had a swinging bunt single to load the bases. Knowing Brett Myers' short temper, it is amazing that he did not blow a gasket and allow the Rays to blow the game open. (Kudos to Phillies' pitching coach, Rich Dubee, went out to the mound and assured Myers that waffles, not hoagies will be the post game meal). Two batters later, BJ Upton singled home Navarro (who was on third) and Baldelli was thrown out at the plate on the same play (so Baldelli was 2 outs in the same inning).

After the game, Danley said the quick right arm vertical movement was to ask to the first base umpire for an appeal. This explanation is very possible, but unconvincing. Judging by the immediateness of the call, Baldelli's offer to the pitch and the location of what could have been a called strike anyway, Kerwin Danley is awarded our very first "Blown Call of the Week" award. Coming in at a close second place for this award was whoever decided to let the Los Lonely Boys (really?) to sing the Star Spangled Banner in the same game.