Lines in the Sand

Bryce Harper got ejected from a JUCO World Series game recently, and for me what was more interesting than the delicate personality traits of a 17-year-old kid is the taboo that he put in the spotlight: drawing a line in the sand. Jonathan has the story on his B3 blog.

Harper was ticked about a bad call on a pitch off the plate that got called for a third strike. In the course of his griping about the call to the umpire, he swiped at a spot in the dirt with his bat, presumably where he thought the pitch crossed–or in this case failed to cross–the plate. The swipe (which for my money kicked a bit of dirt at the ump as well, which is unacceptable at the college level) ticked off the ump, who tossed Harper post haste.

An astute commenter, astrostl, on Mayo’s blog pointed out that, in fact, making a mark in the dirt to show where you thought the pitch was is an instantly toss-worthy offense, even at the highest levels. To very resoundingly argue his point, the commenter pointed to a video of Ichiro Suzuki’s first ever ejection from an MLB game. Hard to argue the speed with which he was heaved.

I hadn’t ever heard this unwritten-type rule before, and it was enlightening to have an online reading experience start with the slightly bratty ejection of a kid who in a few days will be The Business, and end with a new piece of knowledge that I will look for in MLB11: The Show.

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