November 02, 2003

Poor NFL officiating undermines the game

It's no wonder that Ravens coach Brian Billick exploded after the officiating charade last week. These buffoons are either complete incompetents or are operating upon a biased agenda fixated on determining the outcome of certain games.

It was bad enough when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were cheated out of a win this season by a bogus "leaping" call.

Then, in the Ravens' game against the Bengals, a crucial late Ravens drive was ground to a halt by a series of convenient holding calls and a nonexistent taunting call.

But the Denver game took the cake. If that catch by Todd Heap isn't an obvious touchdown, then I'm Bob Hope.

How long is the league going to tolerate this blatant malfeasance, which is undermining the integrity of the games?

Glen Lazzaro Timonium

Billick's bad language sets a poor example

For the second time this season, as I listened to the post-game interviews on the radio, Ravens coach Brian Billick has used off-color language, this time regarding the instant replay controversy from last Sunday's game.

You would think the radio station would be smart enough to use a delay around Billick.

Now, does the use of vulgarity make his point any stronger? No. Does it make him a better communicator? No.

Maybe Billick should read the "Fan Credo" that is read before each game. We should expect the best efforts of the Ravens' personnel, on and off the field.

Henry C. Preston Timonium

Sideline antics won't help Billick get calls

It's no surprise to me that some close calls went against Brian Billick and the Ravens against Denver last Sunday.

Have you ever observed Billick's behavior on the sideline any given Sunday? He unmercifully rides the officials the whole game about all kinds of petty matters.

If that's his idea of game day leadership, that's his prerogative, but if I were an NFL official, Billick would never get a close call, reviewable or otherwise, until he backs off.

I'm sure he thinks he's protecting his players and the team's interests. I think not.

Rick Isphording Lutherville

In manager search, O's take wrong route

It's apparent that the Orioles' general managers don't have their minds made up on whom they want as manager. It seems that they are interviewing anybody and everybody.

It's typical of a certain visionless management style seen in many lines of work. It's the "I don't know what I want, but I'll know it when I see it" approach.

New general managers come in and feel the need to validate their position by making a bold move: fire the manager.

Now for the Orioles, it's "We want someone with a fiery personality."

The last Orioles manager to win a World Series -- Joe Altobelli in 1983 -- was the epitome of the low-key approach.

A fiery manger can't make a pitcher get ahead in the count and throw strikes. A fiery manager can't make a batter be selective or better.

Is Joe Torre a fiery manager? How about Jack McKeon? Have these guys been successful? Was Mike Hargrove fiery when he was winning in Cleveland?

A message to Orioles vice presidents Mike Flanagan and Jim Beattie: Get the right (good) players first.

Robert Lloyd Mount Airy

Vecsey's columns on playoffs were gems

When Sun columnist Laura Vecsey appeared on the scene last year, I rediscovered what I had missed for so long -- a writer who doesn't take herself too seriously, who doesn't play favorites, who doesn't hesitate to speak her mind, and who conveys the joy, the despair, the noble and the ignominious of sports.

When she first arrived in town, a lot of readers wrote to complain that she was not a "homer" -- that she often writes about sporting events outside Baltimore.

Well, I read every column she wrote over the past month about the baseball playoffs, culminating in last Sunday's article about the Marlins' victory over the Yankees in Game 6 of the World Series.

Those columns had nothing to do with Baltimore sports, yet every one was beautifully written and conveyed a sense of the games not to be found in any game summary or interview.

Thank you, Laura Vecsey. You are a true gem.

Mark J. Brenner Lutherville

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