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Morning Java: Which part of ‘final’ score was confusing?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

ORLANDO, Fla. — Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Tuesday video will have to wait another week to make its debut, partially due to McKechnie Field getting pounded by rain all day, partially due to the change in travel plans. Which is fine. The feature really should start in Pittsburgh. And for that matter, its second episode really should come in another very special place.

>> I’m going to preface this rant by saying the subject doesn’t matter in the slightest. At least not singularly.

Last night in St. Louis, the Blues beat the Jets, 4-1. That was the score put out to the world, anyway, including the official Twitter accounts of St. Louis and Winnipeg. The players left the ice, the fans left the ScottTrade Center, even the officials were gone. But between 18-20 minutes later, the following appeared on the Jets’ account:

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 12.23.29 AM

See anything wrong there?

What you can’t see are the time stamps, but I can tell you it’s an 18-minute gap between the one on the bottom and the later one on the top. The Blues’ timeline looked no different, same time stamps.

What the heck?

The short version is this: St. Louis was awarded a goal with 0.1 seconds left, while at the other end all manner of mayhem ensued. On the ice, the call was an awarded goal. On the ice and even after everyone was off the ice, the score of the game was 4-1.

Until someone — ‘the NHL,’ according to Winnipeg’s Twitter account — ‘changed the score.’

Sorry, man, but that just can’t happen. And if someone in New York or Toronto has decided that it can, that sets one monstrously ugly precedent for the sport going forward.

They call it the final score for a reason.

It isn’t just the participants and the athletes who deserve to know that the score is final once they’ve left the competition. It’s the fans and the TV viewers and, yeah, though no one with any league will discuss this, the bettors. When the game is over, it’s over. I don’t care if it’s last night’s mostly meaningless game in St. Louis with an outcome that wasn’t affected, or if it’s Brett Hull’s skate in the crease, or if it’s Santonio Holmes staying inbounds, or even what might have been a welcome reversal with Armando Galarrago’s imperfect game, the final score must be the final score.

I challenged Twitter followers late last night to come up with other examples they could recall of scores being changed after the fact, and the only that was produced concretely came in college football. It’s an odd case, as you’ll see on that link, the 2011 USC victory over Utah, in that a miscommunication between the on-field officials and the scorers in the press box was blamed. But it still looks hideous in that it took two hours to change the score from 17-14 to 23-14. Here, too, the winner wasn’t determined, but one can only imagine if it had.

Several readers noted the Steelers-Chargers fiasco from 2008. That one, most of you will recall, was a huge mess, as the link will remind. But the key difference between that and the two above is that, per all accounts, the officials on the field ruminated for a more reasonable 10-minute delay before the outcome was initially determined. Again, not sure that’s in the same class. I could be wrong. It’s not totally clear who made the final ruling on that final score, whether it was the officials or the NFL.

Other readers cited a NASCAR controversy, as well as some in the Olympics and other individual sports that rely on order of finish and have that order changed when someone is discovered later — even decades later — to have cheated. Those seem fair to bring up.

But this one was the best: Harvey Haddix’s 1959 masterpiece, a performance which should never need elaboration for proper context, had a change of score, too. And it took a full day for the National League to rule that the man who hit the apparent two-run homer to win it in the 13th, Joe Adcock, had passed Hank Aaron on the bases. Adcock was given a double, and the score went from 2-0 to 1-0.

As evidence, Pittsburgh’s morning newspaper had the former score, the evening paper the latter.

That, too, of course, didn’t affect the outcome, a common thread here. Woe unto whichever league tries that one first. Best to just not do it at all.

>> Kris Letang looked and felt great in his return to practice, Josh Yohe reports from Consol.

In light of some of the spirited debate in the comments section of this blog yesterday, I might call special attention to the point made in the article that doctors remain uncertain if the stroke was or wasn’t caused by the hole in the heart. It’s not known.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page, with more on tonight’s matchup with visiting Dallas.

Here are official game highlights on NHL.com.

Here’s Stars news from the Dallas Morning News.

>> Down goes Chris Stewart, the Pirates’ backup catcher, to likely knee surgery, Travis Sawchik reports.

And in Stewart’s place goes … Tony Sanchez?

Don’t be so sure.

One of the many unfortunate things about Twitter is that its immediacy tempts you to put out opinion right on the spot when, almost always, it’s better to wait and find out more. I tweeted yesterday that Sanchez ‘deserved’ the spot, but I later heard on my drive over here from Bradenton that there’s deep concern about his throwing. If that holds, it’s hardly a given he’ll come north.

Meanwhile, the local head football coach gave a speech to the Pirates, then an interview to Sawchik

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page.

Here’s Chris Horner’s updated-daily spring training photo gallery.

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

>> Jamie Dixon is playing down Pitt as an underdog to Colorado, Kevin Gorman reports.

That might get some guffaws for those who look at the Buffs being without their best player, Spencer Dinwiddie, and being generally lousy on the road, but hey, who’s to say Dixon isn’t painting the Panthers as underdogs because they just aren’t very good at this NCAA Tournament thing?

No?

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pitt page.

Here’s Colorado news from the Boulder Daily Camera.

>> Guy Whimper, aka Abdullah the Butcher — if you don’t know, don’t ask — is back with the Steelers’ O-line. Abdullah Robinson reports.

Also, if you missed it late last night, James Starks canceled his visit with the Steelers to stay with the Pack, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Wide receiver or running back? The panel of WPXI–TV’s Subway Final Word debated that Sunday …

>> I’ll call in to TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

 
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