Saturday, September 08, 2001

MORE TENNIS, I'm afraid, for starters. Then some tennis rage, then just rage. Typo-ridden rage, no doubt.

The night after the Sampras-Agassi epic, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick came about as close as anyone could have expected to equaling it. The ending was tainted a bit, though, as Roddick lost his composure after chair umpire Jorge Diaz piped up and overruled a call for the first time in the match -- and on the sideline farthest away from him. It was a close call (Diaz might even have been right), but the linesman who called Roddick's ball good in the first place was in the best position to call it. Overrules by the umpire are for clear, egregious errors.

What followed was the most justifiable, well-reasoned tantrum I've ever seen on a tennis court. Roddick banged his racket, swore and called Diaz a moron, but the best line was the simply eloquent "What is wrong with you?" Good question, Andy. Roddick pulled himself together enough to shake the moron's hand and leave the incident out of his on-court interview, but in the press room he made it clear he stood behind everything he said. As he should have.

As for Diaz, he should be suspended at the very least, just as fellow Rudi Berger should have been suspended after an overrule of his that replays showed to be clearly wrong helped to decide the outcome of a Sampras-Agassi match at the year-end ATP championships a few years ago. Overrules should be "I bet my life" kinds of things, and Diaz and Berger should face the consequences of at least betting their careers.

BUT ENOUGH ANDY RAGE. Friday saw some Bill rage, on a familiar front. Once again I went to Mangialardo's, the excellent sub shop on the outskirts of my neighborhood, and once again I had to risk fender and limb to get to a metered parking space as I maneuvered around cars whose drivers decided to use the traffic lanes of Pennsylvania Avenue as a parking lot. Also once again, a cop came to get his lunch and left without shooting, arresting or even ticketing the fuckheads who flouted the law right in front of him.

The D.C. police department recently started using cameras to catch those scofflaws who, say, drive 26 mph in a 25 zone. I'll deal with just how ridiculous that is in another post sometime, but can anybody argue that it's less dangerous to go zero in a 25 zone? As I've said before, double parking is an unfortunate euphemism for what is really blocking the street. The D.C. police are legendary for descending on expired meters, but for some reason they don't bother to police a truly dangerous crime such as blocking the street. Think of all the money that could be made with the $100 or $200 tickets such an offense deserves!

Occasionally I'll try to get one of our hypocrites in blue to write such a ticket, but I'm usually ignored. If I had said something in this case I might have been arrested, I was so consumed with rage. The cops ignore my pleas anyway, and, hell, they're often the worst offenders when it comes to this law. Until I see the D.C. cops doing something about crimes they see with their eyes, I refuse to believe there is any public-safety motive behind this scheme of using cameras to find people to harass.

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