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Tom Jones' Two Cents: The biggest losers

Upon further review

Well, umpire Bob Davidson admitted after Sunday night's Mets-Yankees game on ESPN what everyone knew during the game: He blew a call that cost the Mets a homer. Carlos Delgado sliced a ball down the leftfield line that hit the foul pole and was ruled fair by third-base ump Mike Reilly. But after objections from the Yankees, home-plate umpire Davidson gathered with the umps and the call was reversed.

After the game, Davidson told reporters, "I (expletive) it up. I'm the one who thought it was a (expletive) foul ball. I saw it on the replay. I'm the one who (expletive) it up, so you can put that in your paper. Bolts and nuts, I (expletive) up. You've just got to move on. No one feels worse about it than I do."

First off, why such vulgarity? Nice way to represent Major League Baseball there, Bob.

Next, baseball needs to consider instant replay. Not to call close plays on the bases or balls and strikes but on cases such as whether a ball is fair or foul and whether there is fan interference.

By the way, the blown call did not cost the Mets. They went on to win 11-2.

Charity event of the weekend, babeeee

Times staff writer Dave Scheiber attended Friday night's Dick Vitale Gala at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota. What he wrote:

Dick Vitale is on a mission when it comes to raising money for cancer research.

Friday, more than 750 attendees, including some of the biggest coaching names in college basketball, turned out to help the ESPN analyst and new Hall of Fame inductee surpass his $1-million goal at the third annual Dick Vitale Gala at the Ritz-Carlton.

The money was raised for pediatric cancer research in the name of Payton Wright, a girl from his Lakewood Ranch neighborhood who died in May 2007 at age 5 from brain cancer. Her mother, Holly Wright, spoke to the gathering, and a video montage of Payton's short life was shown. "There wasn't a dry eye in the whole place," Vitale said.

One highlight: Miami Heat president Pat Riley bid $100,000 for a private, catered-dinner party for 50 that Vitale offered to throw at his house. Riley later called Vitale to say he didn't want a party for his $100,000 contribution, just for Vitale and wife Lorraine to go out for a nice, quiet dinner.

Funds go to the V Foundation, a cancer research organization named for late North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano. To make a donation, call 1-800-4-JimmyV.

Dave Scheiber,

Times staff writer

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James poured in 45 points Sunday afternoon, but it wasn't enough as his Cavs lost Game 7 to the Celtics. It was one of the best performances ever in a loss. Over the years, there have been hundreds of great performances ever in a loss, but these are the first 10 that come to mind.

Dominique Wilkins

This performance came up quite a bit Sunday because it was 20 years ago that the Atlanta Hawks star scored 47, including 16 in the fourth quarter, in a Game 7 loss at Boston. In that matchup, the Celtics' Larry Bird had 34, including 20 in the fourth quarter.

Chuck Howley

The Cowboys linebacker was the MVP of Super Bowl V after intercepting two passes and recovering a fumble in a 16-13 loss to the Colts. It was the first time a defensive player won Super Bowl MVP honors and remains the only time a player from a losing team has won the award.

Harvey Haddix

Possibly the greatest pitching performance in major-league history was turned in by the Pirates southpaw, who tossed a perfect game for 12 innings in 1959 against the Milwaukee Braves. Haddix retired 36 consecutive batters, but the game remained scoreless headed to the 13th. An error, a bunt, an intentional walk then a double resulted in a loss for Haddix and the Pirates.

Isiah Thomas

During the last 94 seconds of regulation in the fifth and deciding playoff game against the Knicks in 1984, the Pistons point guard scored 16 consecutive points on three jumpers, a 3-pointer, a driving three-point play and four free throws to send the game to overtime. And he drew three fouls on defender Rory Sparrow in a mere 30 seconds. Thomas fouled out in OT, and the Knicks won behind 44 points from Bernard King, who was playing with two dislocated fingers and severe dehydration as a result of the flu.

Johnny Unitas

This is remembered as one of the last great moments in the legendary career of Johnny U. In 1972, the Colts quarterback completed 26 of 45 passes for 376 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasn't enough to match the Jets' Joe Namath. What a day Broadway Joe had: 496 yards passing and six touchdowns, including TD passes of 65, 67, 79 and 80 yards in the Jets' 44-34 victory.

John McEnroe

In what might be the greatest tennis match ever, the brash 21-year-old reached the 1980 Wimbledon final against four-time defending champ Bjorn Borg. McEnroe trailed 2-1 in sets when the match went to a fourth-set tiebreaker. The incredibly intense tiebreaker lasted 20 minutes, and McEnroe saved five match points and won 18-16. Bjorg, however, would win the fifth set 8-6.

Bobby Richardson

The Yankees second baseman was a monster in the 1960 World Series, batting .367 with a grand slam, two doubles, two triples and 12 RBIs in seven games. But the Yanks lost to the Pirates on Bill Mazeroski's ninth-inning, Game 7 homer. Still, Richardson was named the MVP of the series and remains the only member of the losing team to win the World Series MVP.

Billy Conn

The tough Pittsburgh boxer met the great Joe Louis on June 18, 1941, for the heavyweight title. Conn fought a masterful fight and led Louis on the scorecard after 12 rounds. But Conn tried to go for a knockout in the 13th round and ended up getting knocked out himself. After the fight, Conn said, "I lost my head and a million bucks."

Ron Hextall

The 23-year-old Flyers goalie won the 1987 Conn Smythe award, given to the MVP of the playoffs. Hextall played in all of the Flyers' 26 postseason games, winning 15 with two shutouts and a 2.77 goals-against average. But the Flyers lost the final in seven games to the powerful Oilers and Wayne Gretzky. Hextall is one of five players on a losing team to be chosen as playoff MVP, along with Detroit's Roger Crozier (1966), St. Louis' Glenn Hall (1968), Philadelphia's Reggie Leach (1976) and Anaheim's Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2003).

Lenny Dykstra

The scrappy Phillies centerfielder batted .348 in the 1993 World Series with four homers, including two in a 15-14 loss in Game 4. The Phillies eventually lost the series in six games, but Dykstra was the best player and probably would've been named MVP had the Blue Jays, thanks to Joe Carter's Game 6 walkoff homer, not won the series.

Tom Jones' Two Cents: The biggest losers 05/19/08 [Last modified: Monday, May 19, 2008 10:38pm]
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