Thursday, June 3, 2010

Epiphanies come at the strangest of times...

The online dictionary that I resourced defines an epiphany as "the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. The term is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify that the claimant has 'found the last piece of the puzzle and now sees the whole picture,' or has new information or experience, often insignificant by itself, that illuminates a deeper or numinous foundational frame of reference.'" Big words, I know -- bear with me.

I had an epiphany last night. My wife and mother had a monopoly on the television and with a replay of The Bacholerette being their show of choice, my choice was easy -- go to bed and watch Sportsnet Connected!

The studio host threw to Jamie Campbell at the Rogers Centre where he was joined by Jeff Blair of The Globe And Mail. Upon asking the columnist about his thoughts on the blown call in the Armando Galarraga perfect game, Blair, without mixing words, said that umpire Jim Joyce "blew the call" and elaborated that last night's was another of many recent blown calls by MLB umpires and that the league needed to take a proactive approach to ending the recent wave of incompetence. He said the fans deserved better, as did the participants and the game in general. Later in the conversation, one of the two made mention that Joyce had actually contacted Galarraga and the Tigers after the game and apologized for making a mistake. He apologized to the fans as well.

(Here's the epiphany part) Our sport has none of this! There are no post-race interviews (of any substance, anyway) with anyone -- officials or participants -- and straight talk similar to that which Jeff Blair offered is actually frowned upon! (I do it anyway and both the handle and purses were up at Western Fair this year, as was the product's popularity. Interesting, isn't it?) Why aren't our players and umpires subjected to a few questions before heading home? Our fans (gamblers) spend their monies on our product, just as those that buy a ticket, hot dog and a pretzel at a baseball game do. Why shouldn't questions from our fans be answered?

Everyone in our industry seems to be able to identify that our sport has perception issues, but few seem interested in taking the necessary, real steps toward managing them. I thought the new "From The Stand" feature was a step in the right direction, but it's obvious just a few months in that it doesn't do the job because it doesn't address the real issues. Few fans are ever left in wonderment about why a horse is placed back for a lapped-on break at the wire and they have similar disinterest for the many other blatantly obvious, indisputable examples that have been provided in the segment since its inception. There have been and will continue to be incidents of much more controversy and interest that are conveniently excluded from discussion even though they would inspire much more interest and do much more for bettering public perception. Talk about stacking the deck. What a wasted opportunity.

Am I the only one that reads the comments made by our fans on In the last two weeks, there are pages and pages worth of complaints about Seer Of Patmos and no one has said a word or done a thing to appease them. The horse was the odds on favourite in each of his last two races at Mohawk and he wasn't even involved in either of them until late in the mile. I'm able to recognize that such results have materialized because of trip circumstances and other unforeseen race eventualities of the past two weeks, but the majority of our customers figure that Chris Christoforou's been "stiffing" him and that the races are "fixed"! Instead of having Chris Hickey ask Corey Giles the typically robotic two questions before wishing him good luck with 439-1 shot Toystar, send him over to Christoforou and ask him what the hell happened? If you want to give him a race or two so that the questions aren't taken to be accusations of wrongdoing, that's fine, but at some point before the card is over, make the driver explain what took place -- explain to the fans exactly why the horse was 20th by 28 lengths at the head of the stretch two weeks ago and then hopelessly trapped-in at the rail this week. Fans may not like the answers -- they might not even believe what Christoforou has to say -- but if just one of them that would have otherwise roared "shhtifffff" is enlightened as to what really took place, the purpose of the discussion is served.

Jim Leyland, the Tigers' Manager, was on the field (understandably) going bezerk last night after Jim Joyce made the errant call. After the game, though, upon hearing that Joyce admitted he was wrong, Leyland calmly commented that, "he made a mistake, he's human." I even read a story this morning that told of Leyland encouraging Tiger fans to cheer for, not boo, Joyce today when he takes the field for today's series finale against the Cleveland Indians. Do you think Leyland would have had the same response if Joyce hadn't admitted his mistake? Do you think the mistake would be the relatively dead issue that it is today had such not taken place? No and no. The manner in which both sides handled the incident is proof of what is possible when parties with shared goals put their egos and agendas aside and put their heads together while working toward a common goal.

What's your opinion? Email feedback to or simply poste a comment on this blog.

Tonight's Mohawk version of THE PETE SHEETS will be available later this afternoon. If you're not already one of the 99 on the mailing list, send an email requesting your addition to

Have a good day...

1 comment:

  1. Nice post Pete.
    You are right.... where is the accountability in our game?
    Even when some of these owners lodge an appeal and win, do the judges ever come out and say ..look we are sorry that we missed this, or did this, and to you the bettors that threw your tickets on the ground because of our lack of judgement, we apologize.
    NEVER happens.
    As you eluded to the other day, its hard to even get them to do their job in the first place(see JR Plantes horse in race 7 GR), then to try and get them to apologize/be held accountable for their countless mistakes would be like moving mountains.
    Now onto Patmos. No doubt in my mind last week was a training trip.
    This week, while I wouldn't call it a training trip, I would call it a terrible drive with an assist to Allard really did mess up the flow.
    Patmos would have won by 20 if for any part of the mile he got to race...what do you take on him next week? 2/5?
    No thanks.

    best regards,