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Bill Roper's Journal
Lessons in Sportsmanship 
16th-Sep-2017 11:09 pm
So last weekend, Katie's team lost to a team that we've played in the past in other incarnations of the league. They're a good team, but they tend to be, might I say, a little aggressive about the rules. Aggressive to the point where, on at least one occasion, the folks organizing a tournament had to tell them "No, you can't do that," after they had pushed the ump into allowing them to do a certain thing against our team. Of course, that didn't help us; only the teams they played subsequently.

Anyway, last weekend, we got caught by a rule that is supposed to allow teams that are trailing going to the last inning a chance to catch up by allowing an unlimited number of runs to be scored in a half inning instead of five. The problem was that we hadn't done something that is required by the letter of the rule, so the spirit of the rule could go to heck. Ok, our fault. I've talked with the manager and we're adding armor to our process so that this doesn't happen again.

As it happens, the other team from Des Plaines was playing this team this weekend. So both our manager and I had briefed them on what had happened to us.

This time around, it happened that the Des Plaines team had a big lead. They scored five runs in the top of a late inning and called their girls off the field. The manager of the team that we had played then came out to argue that this was the last inning and that the inning should continue so that they would have a chance to score unlimited runs in the bottom of the last inning and, thus, have a chance to win.

That is to say, they tried to talk the ump into doing exactly the opposite of what they'd asked to have done the previous week when they were playing us.

Properly briefed, the other Des Plaines team pulled out the rule sheet, pointed to the rule and said, "We don't think so."

And the team that had (admittedly correctly) had the rule enforced against us last week got it enforced against them this week.

Oh, darn.

The rule is actually fundamentally broken as written, because it requires both managers and the umpire to agree that the last inning is the last inning. If one team is ahead by more than five runs going to what would obviously be the last inning, then I cannot understand what -- other than a belief in sportsmanship that appears to not always be in evidence -- would cause them to agree that this is the last inning. I mean, the sixth inning is the theoretic last inning, but since there is a hard two-hour time limit on the games, none of the regular season games go six innings. Most go four.

Ah, well. In any case, justice was served today.

Cold. :)
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