I was astonished to hear yesterday about David Stern’s decision to not just reprimand the Atlanta Hawks for a score keeping issue that resulted in Shaq fouling out a game, but to also make the teams replay the final 50-plus seconds after the infamous foul occurred.
Now this is not the first incident where a game will have a portion of it replayed. As a matter of fact, the last such replay had occurred in the NBA, in a game between the Spurs and Lakers in December of 1982, which the Lakers had originally won 137-132, but lost in the replay 117-114.
Now this isn’t unprecedented in baseball either, as anyone who considers themselves a true fan of the game knows all about the infamous Pine Tar Incident, where George Brett went absolutely ape dung after having his game-winning home run nullified by Tim McClelland for having too much pine tar on his bat. Brett was ruled out instead, ending the game. The Royals would appeal the game, and AL President Lee McPhail would later decide that the pine tar had nothing to do with the distance of the hit and overturned the ruling on the field, forcing the Yankees and Royals to resume the game from the time of the home run nearly one month later.
However, as a baseball fan, I’m completely happy that this isn’t an occurrence that could happen in MLB and it shouldn’t be happening in any sport. Sure, they are discussing instant replay in baseball now, but going this far is a tad bit extreme for my tastes.
First off, the travel would be a nightmare, especially for the sake of playing for less than 1 minute. You’ve already penalized the Hawks financially for the mistake. Now you are going to penalize the Heat both financially and healthwise by making them fly again for a 1-minute layover in Atlanta before moving on to their next stop.
Secondly, O’Neal’s presence on the floor for that last minute doesn’t seem to me as a driving force in why they would or would not have lost that game. The Hawks were winning the game at that stage, albeit by a smaller margin, but Shaq is not a go-to guy in the final minutes when his team is down. Having him on the floor at that stage just gives Atlanta the encouragement to send him to the foul line rather than allow someone more capable of taking more opportune shots.
This is just another example of David Stern trying to distinguish the league through some sort of side show rather than a showcase of its talents. Replaying this game is not a showcase, its just another circus.