Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The 2017 Brewskies: Take that for data (and the refs too).

The 2017 Brewskies
by rick olivares

It’s the end of 2017 as we know it and I feel fine.

Yes, thus sang Michael Stipe and 2017 but the quote of the year – for me – is former Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale’s post-game rant following a loss to the San Antonio Spurs last April.

Fizdale, who I had to the good fortune to interview on a couple of occasions prior to his appointment over at Memphis, took shots at the disparity of the calls and free throws that ultimately led to the loss. Fizdale concluded his post-game rant by saying, “Take that for data” then banging the table with his fist.

That quote has since become the stuff of memes and even folks doing their own version of it.

Yet, Fizdale spake the truth!

And our traditional year-end awards called “the Brewskies” for dubious achievements, quotes, or results in sports will all be for data in this 2017.

To wit:

Adalaide Byrd must have watched another fight.
The boxing match between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez saw a controversial draw not because it was such but the way judge Adalaide Byrd scored the fight, 118-110, for Alvarez. One judge had it 115-113 for Golovkin while the other submitted an even 11-114 score. Mysteriously, Byrd scored five rounds for Alvarez that the other two judges gave to Golovkin. Byrd was lambasted online while boxing officials and was asked to explain her scoring. She has since stepped down from officiating major boxing matches.

It’s déjà vu all over again for Manny Pacquiao.
Manny Pacquiao lost another fight. No, I am not surprised that his record in recent years has been less than stellar. The man has been stubborn trying to defeat Father Time while trying to multi-task when he is horrible at it. But make no mistake, I do not think he lost that fight to Jeff Horn that cost him the World Boxing Organization belt.

In a fight where Pacman was expected to walk all over his Australian foe, Manny left Brisbane having been snakebit for the second time in his career (the first was against Timothy Bradley in 2012 where the Filipino lost via split decision.

Manny threw 573 punches and landed 182 (32%) while Horn only landed 92 of 625 punches thrown for 15%. While volume isn’t indicative of a win (just look at football where dominance of possession and shots at the goal doesn’t guarantee a win), most if not practically all boxing analysts saw a Pacquiao win.

But all three judges gave the fight to Horn. Some decried this as a hometown decision. Whatever it is… take that for data!

What were you watching Ovidiu Hategan?
Speaking of football… this is proof positive of bad officiating and data – in a reversal sort of way of what Fizdale was ranting about.

During the first game of a two-legged World Cup qualification match (for the 2018 World Cup) between Switzerland and Northern Ireland, the Swiss pounded Northern Ireland’s goal with 33 attempts but were unable to find the back of the net. Shockingly, the Swiss were awarded a 34th attempt when Hategan, the match official, whistled a penalty (in the 58th minute) where he adjudged Correy Evans for a handball when he turned his back to a Xherdan Shaqiri volley. It was a phantom call. No one watching the match whether live in Belfast or on television saw a penalty.

Ricardo Rodriguez slotted home the spot kick for a controversial, 1-nil win. In the next leg, both figured in a scoreless draw. Switzerland advanced while Northern Ireland went home.

Yep. Thirty-three attempts and nothing to show for until that call?

Take that for data?

Hmm. Maybe it should be for the referees.

And on that note, I will leave you with Game 3 of the recently concluded UAAP Men’s Basketball finals where the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles emerged triumphant over arch rival De La Salle.

All season long, the UAAP referees blew so many contentious calls. Yet come Game Three, it was close to being perfect (well, they were still some bad calls but generally they zebras allowed the players to play). The common view was “kaya naman pala maayos yung tawag” in reference to the officiating.


So let me end by offering this year’s truckload of Brewskies – dubious sports achievements – to data and the refs.

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