Thursday, May 25, 2006

Did I or didn't I swing?

The thing I love, and many youngsters nowadays hate, about the slow-moving game of baseball is that it gives you plenty of time to think. The game itself requires a lot of thought--where to position the defense for each hitter, which pitch to throw against which player, how to get that girl's phone number, should I punch the guy in the face or just push him away, lots and lots of questions and strategy. Yesterday's Sox-A's game got me thinking a bit. I forgot most of it, but here are three quick strikes.

Strike One
Sorry, it's kind of a crap photo (above), it's from the upper deck (from a couple of weeks ago) using a point-and-shoot digital camera with 6X optical zoom, but that's White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen.

What I've noticed at the last couple of games is that Ozzie doesn't seem to wear an actual baseball jersey. In the picture he's got on a Sox jacket and possibly a black mock turtle neck. At last night's game he was only wearing the black shirt.

So, a few questions:
  • Is a manager supposed to wear the full uniform?
  • If so, does Ozzie actually wear the uniform shirt? I don't care if he does or not; in fact, I wish he didn't because ...
  • Isn't the rule stupid? These guys aren't going to play. Why wear a uniform?
  • No other sports require coaches to wear uniforms. Imagine a basketball coach wearing shorts or a football coach wearing pads. Now tell me why baseball coaches have to, and don't tell me it's tradition.
Strike two
Walking up to the ballpark through one of the many endless parking lots last night, I saw the fireworks to signal the start the game. I think that's a cool, almost frightening way to start, and it never fails to get me to jump and start hustling to get to my seat for the first pitch.

The funny thing about last night was, as the shock waves from the fireworks reverberated throughout the parking lot, five, six, maybe ten car alarms started going off. In a way it sounded as if people were driving around celebrating a World Series victory. But that wasn't it. It was just a bunch of cars owned by idiots that activate their car alarms in a stadium parking lot, and it made me wonder ...
  • How many people still use car alarms? Are the alarms effective at anything other than aggravating others?
  • If you were inside the ballpark and actually heard your car alarm go off, could you go into the parking lot, turn off the damn thing, then return?
  • Did any of those cars' batteries die? Does that still happen? Did anyone come up to any of those cars and punch or shoot the damn thing for making all that noise?
Strike Three
This has nothing to do with last night's game, but it's one baseball rule I've never understood. A catcher can appeal a check swing to the first- or third-base umpire. Why can't the batter do the same thing? If the home plate ump says "strike," why can't the batter point down the base path and ask that ump, "Did I or didn't I swing?"


Anonymous Mr. Molitor said...

Manager Answer.....

Look at the late nineteenth century, and examine the beginnings of organized sport in the United States. Basketball was invented by a gym teacher, who promptly set the standard for a coach who didn't participate in the game. Hockey and football also tended to utilize this sort of arrangement. In baseball, on the other hand, the "captain" was almost uniformly a member of the team until after the turn of the century. Most teams may indeed have had men serving as "manager," but their job was not to guide the team on the field; rather, the manager took care of travel arrangements and served more as a team's traveling secretary than anything else.

After the turn of the century, those guys who had formerly been captains of their teams, unwilling to depart from the game entirely when they were no longer capable of playing it, began to be sought after to manage the teams on the field. This would seem sensible, as these folks had years of experience with the nuances of the game, and leaving the decision-making to someone in the dugout allowed the players to concentrate on ... well, playing.

Apparently, the habit of wearing a uniform wasn't something the new managers were too keen on abandoning - so they didn't. The notable exception was Connie Mack, legendary manager of the Philadelphia Athletics, who in his later years never left the dugout. Why? Because in their infinite wisdom, the Lords of Baseball had decided that if it was good enough to be a tradition, it was good enough to be a rule. Mack liked suits. Baseball didn't like anyone not in a uniform on the field.

This rule, however, appears to be more of a league edict than a "rule." The only reference to such things in the official rules of major league baseball is a 1957 rule requiring coaches to be in uniform, specifically referring to first- and third-base coaches. I suspect the rule has been interpreted to mean any person whose presence on the field fills a coaching capacity; think about what a manager is doing when he goes out there. Considering that the team trainer and the grounds crew aren't in uniform, this interpretation seems pretty clear.

Car alarm answer....

They apparently go off automatically after a certain amount of time (don't know what time)

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanx 4 the history lesson mr. molitor.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Jenska said...

Not too many people these days are so into a subject that they can pull this kind of information out in short notice. Thanks, Mr. Molitor, I learned something today.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Look, I know how to Google also said...

Yes, very informative, Mr Molitor.

3:33 PM  
Blogger art attack said...

Google can make you look smart up until you are caught using it and then you look like a fool. But I also found it interesting and would have never even bothered to google it so thank you Mr. Molitor for doing so. As for the car alarm, I agree, all cars are required to have a time limit on the alarm. So I guess if you are stealing the car, you just wait the 3-5 minutes and hope no one gets too annoyed to look and then you run off with the car or it's contents.

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Molitor said...

I hope people didn't think I wrote it. I guess I should have provided the source also sorry...........Never been much of a writer.

9:36 AM  
Blogger ap said...

mr molitor, for the crime of not providing your source, as punishment, you must from now on provide your real name (just like everyone else here)

3:01 PM  

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