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View Full Version : Dick Bavetta and other "veteran refs" not working the finals



Unclebuck
06-05-2009, 08:43 AM
Seems as though the NBA is trying to bring along some of the younger refs - but I think it has hurt the officiating in these playoffs. I know many of you don't like Bavetta, but I still think he's one of the top 12 refs working today



http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/print.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nypost.com%2Fseven% 2F06052009%2Fsports%2Fmoresports%2Fofficial_ly__fi nals_a_joke_172692.htm


'OFFICIAL'-LY, FINALS A JOKE
By PETER VECSEY


June 5, 2009 --
LOS ANGELES -- With apologies to Pete Seeger, Where have all the veteran referees gone? Long time passing ... gone to graveyards, everyone.

Well, put out to pasture, anyway.

Add Dick Bavetta to this gradually enlarging list. Under-utilized in the first three playoff rounds, the 69-year-old legendary official had his candle blown out for The Finals, ending his streak at 23 straight.

In the suspect opinion of supervisor Bernie Fryer, a dozen refs are more qualified to wield a whistle under duress on the NBA's supreme court than Bavetta, who's called more games (I lost track a couple of years ago after 2,300 or so) than anyone else in league history.

Fryer's hand-picked 12 are Danny Crawford, Joe DeRosa, Ken Mauer (last night's Game 1 crew), Joe Crawford, Mike Callahan, Scott Foster, Steve Javie, Bennett Salvatore, Derrick Stafford, Tom Washington, Mark Wunderlich and Monty McCutchen.

I don't really want to harpoon the blubbery Wunderlich again, but his situation begs for elucidation by David Stern.

You mean to tell me a guy whose egregious non-call on Antoine Wright's attempt to foul Carmelo Anthony (a mortal mistake of such magnitude, league president Joel Litvin quickly proclaimed it wrong), which cost the Mavericks Game 3, ultimately gets rewarded?

You mean to tell me McCutchen, whose disorder on the court (Ray Allen's 3-point shot was really a two and botched 24-second violation, etc.) the league constantly couldn't explain, earns the bonus round?

You mean to tell me Wunderlich and McCutchen and "Nitro Joe" Crawford (to single out three of many who've offended thee) merit another chance to embarrass the NBA at the highest level?

Yet, Michael Henderson missed a 24-second violation earlier this decade in a Nuggets-Lakers regular season game, no less, and received outstanding demerits; got pulled off the road and lost three assignments.

For whatever reason -- negative publicity, guilty conscience, justice came into play -- Stern rescinded the suspension and Henderson got paid for not working. Still, the four-year vet wound up getting dumped.

And Bavetta doesn't get a whiff of The Finals. In Fryer's dubious opinion, he's not even good enough to be one of The Finals' four alternates -- James Capers, Marc Davis, Bill Kennedy, Bill Spooner were named.

Supposedly, the NBA Cares. So why am I willing to wager everything you owe that Fryer never gave Bavetta as much as a courtesy call?

("Hey, Dick, appreciate your commitment all these years and you know it hurts my heart that your streak has to end, but these guys are more competent, uh, well, less intimidated, uh, well, know the rules better, uh, well, you know, they're my guys and you're not.")

That'll teach Bavetta to disgrace the refereeing profession by losing an All-Star national TV foot race to the glacial-repositioning Charles Barkley.

Then again, as aforementioned, Bavetta is just the latest veteran ref evidently being encouraged to retire after 34 years of service by being discouraged. Others already have done exactly that.

Since the NBA goes out of its way, except in the rarest of disgraces, not to make the refs the story, the only way the public will discover Jack Nies (71; 31 years in the league), Luis Grillo (61; 21 years) and Jim Clark (66; 26, including five in the ABA) notified the union they've retired is by reading this column -- or if a college league hires them (see Violet Palmer) to run its officiating.

For the second straight year, Nies didn't work any playoff games, whereas Grillo got bumped from the postseason for the first time in my memory.

Clark was excised after one round where he was barely used; he rejected a last assignment as a cross-country alternate in Portland.

Joe Forte (65; 21 years) has not retired (nor has Bavetta), but he, too, chose to pass on his final task (alternate in Atlanta) during the opening cycle.

Is there any doubt their combined 133 years of savoir faire was somewhat missed during these flustered playoffs?

Smells like age discrimination to me! Who's next, anybody over 60? Are we talking lawsuit?

On second thought, maybe this dispiriting push out the door has nothing to do with age discrimination and everything to do with the refs' expiring Sept. 30 contract. Closing in on the end of a five-year deal, the league no doubt is looking to cut overhead; that might translate into making conditions intolerable for those making top dollar.

Timing couldn't be economically worse for the referee's union, represented by The Perennial Group, based in D.C. Negotiations figure to be completely one-sided. The best they can hope for is fairness from Stern, whose bona fide problem lies ahead with a new collective-bargaining agreement with the players.

At least free-agent players have a real option; they can go play in Europe without suffering financially. Where are the refs gonna work? They have no leagues to jump to, no legit options. Furthermore, the NBA has a farm system should a training-camp lockout occur.

Who's more specialized to recruit such scabs than Fryer, who came back into the league after being fired as a scab?

peter.vecsey@nypost.com

MyFavMartin
06-05-2009, 09:21 AM
Always thought the older refs gave more star-calls.

Kegboy
06-05-2009, 09:29 AM
Wish I'd read the author's name before I started reading the article. It's pretty sad that such a once well-respected writer has fallen to being worse than somebody who goes by the moniker Sports Guy.

ChicagoJ
06-05-2009, 11:35 AM
Not having Jim Clark is a big crime against basketball.

Frostwolf
06-05-2009, 11:42 AM
Nevertheless... NBA refs scare me. Some were born in the 20s... which would make them at least 70... and you want them running up and down a court and manage to catch things by 10 different players in the fastest tier of the sport? Refereeing is a very physically draining activity (even with three? of them working at the same time). I don't think the league has done a very good job in getting refereeing talent through the ranks so that they can be ready ASAP.

Think there should be a max age for refs?

grace
06-05-2009, 11:56 AM
Wish I'd read the author's name before I started reading the article.

Well, for me whenever UB posts an article I assume it's written by Vecsey until I see otherwise.

Unclebuck
06-05-2009, 01:11 PM
Well, for me whenever UB posts an article I assume it's written by Vecsey until I see otherwise.

LOL