Ripken or the Ref? – Sound and Fury


NBA official Dick Bavetta has now refereed as many consecutive games as Cal Ripken played. Who’s streak is more impressive? Ripken’s? Or the Ref’s?

Joe Bianchino: Cal Ripken’s iron man streak is incredibly impressive, and the long-time Oriole deserves every bit of the acclaim he’s received over the years.  He’s a legend of baseball and deserves to be remembered as such.

However, he’s a legend of baseball.  We’re not talking about hockey or football.  It’s baseball.  You spend 50% of your time on the field scratching your various naughty places, and another 25% going ham on some double bubble in the dugout.  I know there were double headers and he was hit by pitches and spiked while turning a double play, but give Bavetta some credit. Dude runs his ass up and down a court for 48 minutes night in and night out.

I’m sorry, but I think I lean the ref’s way.

Junior: You are an idiot.  He could ostensibly perform his ref duties from the prone position on the scorer’s table.  Hell, even I could NOT call travelling for 48 minutes from my couch at home.  Seriously, you’re asking me to heap praise on a dude who’s big bio entry now will be that he has been showing up to work for several days in a row.  Woo.  F*cking.  Hoo.  Basketball is stupid.

Joe Bianchino: And Cal Ripken could adjust his cup in a rascal scooter parked between second and third, but he didn’t.  Bavetta’s up and back on that court all night, working like a dog.

Pierce Brix: First of all, basketball is not stupid. At its best it is the most artistic display of athleticism that any sport offers anywhere on God’s green earth. That said, Dicky B isn’t really the embodiment of that.

I was watching the finale of the Nationals opening series sweep of the Mets yesterday, a game where Nats manager Matt Williams sat second baseman Anthony Rendon. Was Rendon hurt? No. Was there a match-up problem with Mets starter Zack Wheeler? No. Was he struggling out of the gate? Only if you consider batting .455 struggling. No, Matt Williams sat his red hot 23 year old two bagger for “general rest” three days into the season when the team already had a day off between games one and two. I certainly credit Cal for his streak, but I think Frank Robinson, Johnny Oates and the rest of the Skippers who let him play every day deserve a share of the glory too.

As far as Bavetta goes, its only really impressive given how old he looks. By my baseless calculations, he must have been halfway through his seventy seventh year when he started this streak, which certainly makes it noteworthy. They say you’ve gotta stay active…

Jeffrey Simpson Day: Have to say I think I’m with Joseph on this one. I mean, there’s just one fact you can’t escape: Refs get paid a crap ton more than elite athletes. Oh wait…

You see, Joseph, there’s a reason elite athletes make vastly more than refs (who have other jobs because…you know…being a ref doesn’t pay much): It’s a lot harder being an elite athlete than it is being a ref. This is a fact. And while that would make spending even one year as an elite athlete more impressive than spending one year as a ref…each year that divide in impressiveness goes up. Check the laws of probability. It’s in there.

So, there’s just no way a streak of consecutive days as a ref is more impressive than consecutive days as an elite athlete (and make no mistake, Cal was elite for being elite…check his stats). Especially when you factor in the point made by the esteemed Mr. Brix: Cal’s managers never felt he needed rest and never felt they should play without him over that stretch. That’s insane. Even Superman needed a Fortress of Solitude day ever now and then.

Joe Bianchino: While I would disagree with your thought that athletes make more money because their job is harder – A player’s salary has nothing to do with how hard their job is, it is has to do with their role in the franchise’s profitability. Players make more than refs because no one shows up to see a ref officiate a game – your final point, Mr. Day, is one with which I cannot argue.

At no point during a span of over 2,600 baseball games did a manager decide that Cal’s play had dipped to such a level, that he was in such a slump, that he needed a day off.  That’s damn, damn, impressive.

From a purely physical standpoint, I honestly think the point is debatable, but you’re right. Ripken’s streak was more than physical exertion, it was about high performance.  For that long

Well argued, sirs.

As told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. – William Shakespeare

Author: Staff

For complete staff bios go to