A Vindication Sensation

June 14

What’s Left Of The Lake Show will be the Late Lake Show unless there’s a last-minute plot change.

I was pilloried on Facebook for saying the Lakers would struggle to win one game of three in Boston. Now, a little vindication. The Celtics are up 3-2 heading back to Los Angeles.

Paul Pierce yelled at L.A. fans last week “we’re not coming back to L.A.,” but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind coming back to get a trophy. He will if the Lakers continue to play like they did Sunday night. Their offense was dysfunctional outside of Kobe, their defense was softer than Charmin, and they missed several key free throws down the stretch.

For the Lakers, defending the Celtics is a game of whack-a-mole anyway. One game it’s Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen, the next it’s the bench, and the next it’s Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The Lakers’ strength under the basket has been sapped because of Andrew Bynum’s bum knee.

Look for Boston to win one of two in L.A. and hoist their 18th trophy.

***

A couple of weeks ago, I was about to write a blog called “Umpires Gone Wild” when the Armando Galarraga – Jim Joyce debacle happened. I felt badly for Joyce and thought an article ripping certain big league umpires would look like piling on. Fortunately, Galarraga and Joyce turned things around with their classy behavior.

In the past I’ve written that umpires such as Joe West need to go — they are too quick with the trigger, too capricious with their strike zones, and too egotistical. Now, some vidication, and a couple of interesting developments.

An ESPN the Magazine survey of 100 major league players rates Joyce the best umpire, edging out Tim McClellan, and West the second worst, just behind CB ( as in Can’t Believe ) Bucknor. Players generally don’t like expanded use of instant replay and applaud Commissioner Bud Selig for not overturning the Joyce call, so they’re not completely on the ball.

Now Selig has done something right. ( Whoa, did I just write that ? ) He hired Frank Robinson to keep tabs on umpires, replacing Jimmie Lee Solomon. Even Selig can see that umpiring has gone downhill since Sandy Alderson cracked down several years ago. It deteriorated so badly that even Selig supported the introduction of instant replay on a limited basis.

Now, maybe Robinson can crack heads and baseball can get rid of umpires who have forgotten that the game isn’t all about them — bring in some younger sets of eyes who are dedicated to doing the job right, and who DON”T have agents. Then, Selig can expand instant replay to give each team at least one challenge a game. I’d even support the eventual introduction of K-Zone technology if things don’t improve behind the plate.

***

Happily, 16-year-old Abby Sunderland of Thousand Oaks was rescued in the Indian Ocean by a French fishing boat over the weekend after a big wave broke the mast of her sailboat and ended her attempt to circumnavigate the globe.

Now, she is fending off waves of criticism.

To her credit, Abby made it as far as she did and is an experienced sailor who knew her boat. Her father Laurence teaches sailing and says Abby wanted to make the trip at age 14 but he stopped her. He says she is quite capable, had a good support team, and simply caught a bad wave, something that could have happened to any sailor at any age.

Unfortunately, other younger sailors might try play a game of one-upsmanship to become the youngest to make the complete trip around the world. Another odd note in this story is that Abby’s mom is about to give birth to a boy. Talk about adding stress to a pregnancy.

Abby should be free to sail where she wants — when she’s 18. A big wave might have nothing to do with age, but good parents understand reasonable and unreasonable risk in the effort to seek fame. Her father is understandably proud of her, but it sounds like he let pride get in the way of good judgement. That family almost lost a child as it was about to gain another.

Laurence Sunderland reasons that parents let their kids out on the road to drive a car when they are 16, so why not a skilled sailor? That might be the worst analogy I have ever heard, and believe me, I prayed every time my kids got into a car when they first got their licenses. We are talking about two completely different worlds.

Keep the kids off the waves until they’re adults, period.

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