Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss umpire Jim Joyce, the Nationals' decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the Hamilton Ticats' coaching staff.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is up to umpire Jim Joyce, who once seemed destined to be remembered for one bad mistake. In 2010 Joyce, a highly respected 24-year veteran, made the wrong call with two outs in the ninth that cost Detroit's Armando Galarraga a perfect game. Joyce received criticism, even death threats, but kept umpiring. This week, while walking to the field for a game in Arizona, Joyce saw a female stadium employee having a seizure and used his high school CPR to keep her breathing until, and even after, paramedics arrived. She survived, he worked home plate that night, and when he visited her in hospital, she said she remembered his voice yelling at her to come back. Maybe a man can be remembered for more than one thing.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is down to the Washington Nationals for the contradictory manner in which they have handled star pitcher Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals say they will shut young Strasburg down when he hits somewhere between 150 and 160 innings pitched; all this to protect his elbow for the future. Which basically means he has two starts left in what could be a World Series season for Washington. The shutting down part I understand; sort of. What I can't understand is how the Nationals behave: they won't let Strasburg throw into September but allowed him to pitch after a 51-minute rain delay the other night. If you want to baby him, baby him. But you can't, as the Nationals tried in this strange bit of strategy, have it both ways.
Dave Naylor, TSN: My thumb is down to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman for insinuating this week that hockey is immune to potential backlash from an owner-imposed work stoppage because "we have the world's greatest fans." Hey, at least he didn't say suckers. But here's something for hockey fans to think about. The only time a league has actually suffered a backlash from fans over a work stoppage was 1994 in baseball. And what do you know; that sport hasn't had a work stoppage since. That's no coincidence. Just as it's no coincidence that hockey, with those world's greatest fans, is headed for another.
Dave Hodge, TSN: Thumbs down to the Hamilton Ticats' coaching staff for letting a problem that shouldn't be a problem be a problem. For at least the second time this season, the Ticats let an opponent's incomplete pass stand as a catch because they didn't consider, or couldn't execute, a challenge. Thursday in Montreal, the Ticats should have protested a 40-yard catch by Montreal's SJ Green and had they done so, it wouldn't have counted and Hamilton might have won the game. Those 40 yards led to a Montreal field goal and the Alouettes' margin of victory was two points. Coaches often waste challenges and that's not good, but it's far worse when they fail to employ them and wind up losing, in part, because they lack awareness, communication and decisiveness.