THE 'WORST CALL EVER' A GOOD CALL & A GOOD READ
And Dallas Stars fans do not want you to read it.
O'Neal, who in his role for FSN West and Prime Ticket routinely appears as a sideline reporter and host of pre and post-game shows for Los Angeles Kings telecasts, released his first book, “The Worst Call Ever! The Most Infamous Calls Ever Blown by Referees, Umpires and Other Blind Officials,” on May 1 of this year.
“We did a lot of research and dug up all of the old stories,” O’Neal said. “We go back 120 years to some old baseball calls. We were just looking for really egregious calls that affected the World Series, the Olympics, a lot of college football, the NBA, some auto racing…even curling.
“We tried to have some fun and make it funny. We are not bashing the refs, we just lay out the facts and set up the story, describe the play and detail the consequences of the call.”
One of the major hockey related calls that the book explores is the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals between the Buffalo Sabres and the Dallas Stars in which the controversial goal scored by Brett Hull at 14:51 of the third overtime gave the Stars a 2-1 win in the game and a 4-2 win in the series. The Sabres protested that Hull's left skate was in the crease.
“Everyone that saw it said it was a goal that should not have counted,” O’Neal recalls. “We explain in great detail the circumstances as to how the goal was scored, what they said after reviewing it and what happened afterward according to the rules.”
That was one of 94 calls that the book explores.
O’Neal had some help on the project, as Kyle Garlett, a freelance sportswriter who has written for ESPN The Magazine, FoxSports.com and has appeared on a variety of programs on Fox Sports Net, co-wrote the book with O’Neal.
One show that Garlett worked on was the "Ultimate Fantasy Football Show," where he met O’Neal, who hosted the program. The two discussed at great length an idea that O’Neal had been working on for a little while.
“Kyle and I did a tremendous amount of work on this, it was one of those ideas that I felt hadn’t been done,” O’Neal said. “I used to work as a radio host and this was a huge topic of discussion, it was one of the things that inspired me to start collecting this list.
“I have had this idea for a long time on taking the fan’s perspective of calls that were wrong. But there are always bad calls in games, we are not concentrating on a game in May that had a bad call on a double play. These are championship deciding calls.”
There is one Kings related call…but to find out which one that is you will have to check out the book.
“The Worst Call Ever! The Most Infamous Calls Ever Blown by Referees, Umpires and Other Blind Officials” is available now at Barnes and Noble, Borders or Amazon.com. Click here for more information.
“It is the perfect gift for dads and grads. This is a sports book that sports fans are going to like. Hopefully it will hang around for a while. It is a real fun read.”