Sunday, August 30, 2009
Mike Dean: Worst Sports Official On the Planet
I'm glad the Yankees have won their last 2 games with an extra-inning walkoff homer by Robinson Cano and a brilliant combined one-hitter by Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin, with 10 runs of support.
But I have to rant about soccer for a moment. Or, if you prefer, "football." Or "futbol."
It is just me, or does the bald head, the bare legs, the authoritarian manner and the just not giving a damn who gets hurt so long as he gets what he wants make anyone else think Mike Dean resembles Vladimir Putin?
Dean is a referee -- I'm being very, very loose with the language here -- in the English Premier League, the football league that is the most popular sports league on the planet. He's bald, he's blind, the worst official's kind.
And in a game between two of the Premiership's top four teams, Arsenal (for whom I root) and Manchester United (whom every Earthling with any taste loathes to an exceeding degree), at Old Trafford, Man U's ground where anyone in a home red shirt has never committed a foul, Dean handed the game to Man U in the most corrupt example of refereeing I've seen in my (admittedly brief) football-watching experience.
It was 1-0 to The Arsenal in the 2nd half, following a nice goal by the little Russian beast, Andrey Arshavin, when Wayne Rooney, a.k.a. Wooney, a.k.a. The Boy, a.k.a. Shrek, charged the box, and Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia reached for the ball to stop it.
It was a clean stop. And then Rooney made an obvious dive. And every Man U fan on the planet -- including those 12 or 14 who actually live in the City of Manchester -- knows it was a dive.
Dean called a foul on Almunia, and gave Rooney a penalty shot, which, of course, he converted. 1-1.
Abou Diaby literally made a boneheaded play, heading the ball into his own net to make it 2-1 ManUre. There's 3,519 miles between my perch here in Central Jersey and Arsenal's home ground at Ashburton Grove, and Diaby should be grateful for every one of them, because I wanted to end his life with my bare hands.
Having had 11 hours or so to calm down, I now only want to see him sold to another club. Any other club. Sell the bum to Tottenham if they'll take him. Preferably, a club far, far away. Melbourne Victory or something. (Just my luck, it'll end up being Red Bull New York. At least then, the distance between us will be only a few hundred feet, and I'll be able to tell the bum what I think of him in person.)
(UPDATE: Arsenal kept Diaby until 2015, ignoring his idiotic play and his constant injuries. He ended up at French club Olympique de Marseille.)
When Man U leads after 90 minutes, the refs will give about 12 seconds of injury time. When they are trailing, it's usually more like an hour and a half. In "honor" of their manager, Sir Alex Ferguson (knighted for having led Man U to a cheated-to Treble in 1999), this concept is known throughout the world as "Fergie Time."
But with Man U leading 2-1 at the end, 5 minutes were awarded. And Arsenal, who had so thoroughly dominated until the Rooney dive but had played like crap ever since, continued to play like crap in the added time.
But in the 95th minute, Robin van Persie, who has been total garbage so far this season despite being one of my favorite players last season, scored. 2-2, and Arsenal salvage a point they don't really deserve, but which Man U deserved even less, certainly not the 3 points they got for victory.
But Dean's seeing-eye dog barked, and, having been so properly signaled, Dean waved off the goal because William Gallas was offside. The hell he was.
(Ironically, on the subway on the way to the place where I watched the game, there was a blind man with a guide dog. But he wasn't a sports official. He would've been better at it than Dean.)
Arsene Wenger, like Joe Torre, hardly ever betrays emotion. He's not a Man of a Thousand Faces, he's a Man of One Face. Also like Torre, he tends to play hunches that usually work shockingly well, but sometimes blow up in his one face. And, also like Torre, he hardly ever argues with officials. This time, he told Dean off, and rightly so. About time his players see that he has their back when they've been stabbed therein by a lying bastard of a referee.
Those of you from England, who may have stumbled upon this blog by accident, thinking it is regularly about the game you call football, please forgive a baseball reference, but...
Mike Dean makes me think of Bruce Froemming. They don't look anything alike, but it doesn't matter. Thank God this blind lunkhead is now retired, but Froemming was the longest-serving and worst umpire in the game's history, 37 years.
In 1972, Milt Pappas of the Chicago Cubs was one out away from a perfect game -- no baserunners allowed. There was a three balls, two strikes count on the last batter, and Pappas put a pitch on the outside corner. Strike three, perfect game, immortality. Except Froemming said it was outside the strike zone, ball four, batter goes to first base. Pappas managed to get the next batter out to save the no-hitter, but the very rare and far greater accomplishment eluded him.
After the game, Pappas, a pretty good pitcher who won over 200 games in his career (but gets tarred as the man the Cincinnati Reds got in sending Hall-of-Famer Frank Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles) actually appealed to Froemming's ego. He said, "Bruce, do you know how many umpires have called a perfect game? You could have been one of them!"
Froemming: "Milt, if I'd called that pitch a strike, I never would have been able to live with myself."
Pappas: "How do you live with yourself with all the other lousy calls you make?"
This bum umpired for another 35 years. He even did a McDonald's commercial. If he were an English ref, we'd be telling him he ate all the pies.
Dean also officiated last year's match between Arsenal and arch-rival Tottenham Hotspur, sending off Emmanuel Eboue (which I understand based on Eboue's play and personality, but it was still a questionable call) and leaving an already injury-riddled Arsenal team to play 10 vs. 11 for what turned out to be, counting injury time, a full 60 minutes. Begging the question, how many Spurs does it take to beat 10 Arsenal? Answer: At least 13, because 12 wasn't enough: Final score, 0-0.
If there is a worse official on the planet, in any sport, than Mike Dean, I'll never believe it. Tim Tschida in baseball? Ed Hochuli in football? Any referee in a Devils-Rangers hockey game? Forget it: Dean is the worst, and I say this having only rooted for the team he screwed yesterday for a little more than a year.