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.
My sister is a badass law student, and she just sent me a link to a law studenty blog called Above the Law. (I would make a poor lawyer because a) I’m already tired of using the word “law” and b) all I can think of right now is when Sly Stallone as Judge Dredd says “I am the law.” Law law law.)
Anywho, one enterprising Facebook person who has some knowledge of the law took it upon himself to conjure up a “solution” to the Armando Galarraga blown-call imperfect game scenario. Above the Law goes into mad detail about it in this post: Free Legal Advice for MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.
The basic idea is to amend the rule book to give the official scorekeeper the power to change an umpire’s call in the very specific circumstances of Galarraga’s game, ie. when it’s a blown call on the second to last batter of a perfect game when the temperature is between 74 and 76 degrees and the moon is in the fourth quadrant of Jupiter. Functionally, based on the laws of probability and whatnot, I’m guessing the circumstances wouldn’t occur again before the sun explodes, so bing-bang-boom, Galarraga gets his perfect game and baseball trundles forward none the worse for wear.
This strikes me as a very lawyerly way to attack the problem. Rule switches and 24-hour deadlines and (i) nd (ii) and AMEND this and that, etc. My impatience for such labyrinthine solutions only reinforces the stinging message that my LSAT scores already delivered.
So instead of cajoling the legalese and manipulating the rule book, here’s my solution: Bud Selig tapes a big triangular S to his chest, grabs an oversized novelty gavel, calls a press conference on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and brings the universe back into order with a simple declaration warbled through hillside. Jim Joyce, with that mustache, makes for a great villain. They could cart him off in a strait jacket for the theater of it.
Along with three friends, I am coaching a Little League team of seven, eight, and nine year olds. All four of us are in our early twenties. Needless to say, we are the only coaches in the league without kids of our own. Our goal? Utter domination. Throughout the season I will keep Pitchers & Poets readers updated on the goings on surrounding the team.
Our season is almost over. Before the final wrap-up post, I thought I’d post some interesting statistical notes sent by coach/statistician Kenneth:
- Young Roy Oswalt has come up to the plate 25 times this year and has walked or struck out 24 times. He gets a free pass in 60% of his trips to the plate, the best rate on the team.
- Young Shawn Green has 8 of our 18 extra base hits this year (you could probably write an entire post with his more impressive tidbits…*
- Young Joe Mauer and Young Craig Biggio both have 11 hits, but Biggio has 18 RBI while Mauer only has 4.
- Past two starts by Dottie Hinson: 4 IP, 10 K’s, 6 BB’s, 0 Runs, 49 total pitches.
*Young Shawn Green has a slash line of .700/.769/2.019. On Balls in Play, his batting average is an even more insane .870.