Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The US Open: Run by slobs, for slobs

These Union guys and the other assorted low-lifes, criminals, and street urchins who work behind the scenes at the US Open treat this place like the slum in which it is located.

Can you say "pay off the Fire Marshall"? These are photos of THE MAIN RING OF ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM, THREE DAYS INTO THE MAIN DRAW.

Revolting. Disgusting. Outrageous. I don't think the workmen at Wimbledon leave a table saw out in the middle of the main hallway at the All-England Club in the middle of the Wimbledon Tournament.

More Evidence As To Why the US Open Is Disgusting

Monday, August 21, 2006

Tissot SUCKS. The Swatch Group SUCKS.

Can I just vent for a minute about how much The Swatch Group SUCKS?

For years, I have lost dozens of contracts to those Swiss motherfuckers because they GIVE their Timing & Scoring services away (as "Swiss Timing") for free in order to promote their wristwatches. NOBODY ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET would EVER actually BUY Swiss Timing's shitty Timing & Scoring services, because they generally suck at it, and their "value in kind" for their services are 3x or 4x the going price of the COMPETENT vendors out in the marketplace. Swiss Timing's software blows, their hardware was all designed in the 1960's and their "staff" are mostly gnomes. One of the happiest days in my life was when four of their gnomes showed up for a World Cup ski race in Altenmarkt in 2004, and the Austrian team told them to get right back in their cars, drive outa town, and FUCK OFF because Austria had found somebody better (my group) and they were sick of dealing with Swiss Timing's lies, blackmail, and sharp elbows.

In short, Swiss Timing cheats. They engage in systematic business fraud, unfair restraint of trade, and blackmail. Says who? The Swiss courts. When I was with TAG Heuer, TAG sued Swiss Timing's parent (the Swatch Group) TWICE on these very grounds, and in both lawsuits, TAG Heuer won. Swatch Group was guilty, and paid large penalties.

For three years (2003-2005), my colleague Fred Patton at Phoenix Sports did the Timing & Scoring for the UCI Track Cycling World Cup, using my software and TV graphics. This was a bit of revenge on The Swatch Group, because Swatch was paying the UCI for a timing sponsorship, and the UCI had the balls to tell Swatch they were using the money to hire Fred instead of trading out the sponsorship for Swatch's services. The UCI basically told Swatch that they suck, and they're too expensive, and Fred provides a better service. Which is, of course, all true, but as a sponsor, Swatch seldom has people tell them that so bluntly. Toward the end of that deal, I needed a new watch, so I bought a Tissot T-Touch. I figured Tissot was, indirectly, paying me, so I might as well give their watches a try. Andrew McCord, a UCI commissaire, was wearing one at the UCI event in Manchester UK, and one morning during the event, I checked it out over breakfast. It seemed like a pretty cool timepiece.

Well that Tissot T-Touch has been back to the factory for a rebuild 5 times in 18 months. It has never run for more than two months in a row. Tissot keep repairing it under warranty, but repeatedly sending it back is just a major pain in the ass. I guess The Swatch Group's watches are as hopeless as Swiss Timing, the company's Timing & Scoring division.

When I arrived in NY the other day for the US Open, I noticed that my Tissot watch had died. Again. Aaaargh. I can't possibly get through this tournament without a good watch with an alarm and a chronograph, so I shipped that Tissot piece of shit back to the factory repair center in Secaucus, and I took the subway over to Jct Blvd and bought a Citizen Skyhawk. Citizen is the time sponsor here at the US Hopeless, so it's the least I can do. It's a pretty cool watch, it has the features I need, it's not terribly expensive, and it's NOT Swiss. (NOTE: both of my TAG Heuer watches are currently broken as well). Hopefully I won't suffer the same fate as the last time I bought a watch in consideration of sponsorship.


Yesterday's WTA final in Montreal was delayed a day due to rain. Some genius scheduled the Monday final at 2PM Eastern, despite the fact that no matter what time they scheduled it for, NOBODY will show up on a Monday. Duh.

As a result of the lateness of the hour, the WTA rankings could not be run in time for the US Open womens quali draw to be made at 4. So the WTA ran a partial ranking around noon, which was cool of them, but the rankings weren't available in DB format or any format useful to an IT department. All they provided was a text file, sorted by rank. So the poor Referee's Dept here had to look up the rankings of about 200 players in order to make the womens quali draw.

Montreal should have scheduled their final for 11AM. The players want to get it over with and get the hell outa there, and nobody is going to show up to watch on a Monday, no matter what time the damn match is played.


P.S. - Ivanovic killed Hingis in about 50 minutes. For this, they waited all day. DUH.


Greetings from the US Hopeless, The World's Worst Tennis Tournament. I've said, at times, that I spend 24 weeks a year dreading the US Open, 24 weeks recovering from the US Open, and 4 weeks at the US Open. This still rings pretty much true. As I get older and get kicked upstairs to more and more exotic technical problems at better and better events, the US Hopeless remains the biggest train wreck I can think of in the sports world.

People think the biggest by-product of the US Open is tennis. They are wrong. The biggest by-product of the US Hopeless is chaos. This place is pure, unadulterated chaos. The people who (supposedly) "manage" this place are, by and large, all incompetent fools. The only thing separating this barely-controlled crash from an all-out flaming explosion is our scoring & scheduling systems, a few technical people over in TV world who actually know what they're doing, and a select few "tennis" people down in Referee's and Umpire's who know what they are doing. Everyone else here is, by and large, an amateur.