Rules Made to Be Broken

by | July 28, 2010 at 5:17 PM | General, MLB, NFL, NHL, Sports

It’s an outrage. A debacle. A travesty. I’m fired up. And I’m talking about men’s slow-pitch softball. Who knew I could care so much about  a sport that Artie Lange “realistically” pretends to play? But it happened. I’ll explain.

It was a slow sports weekend. So I was flipping through the channels desperate for something to watch, and I came upon The Border Battle. USA vs. Canada in slow-pitch softball. On a normal weekend, I’d fly right by the BB, no matter how much the World Wide Leader hyped it up. But I had already cycled through all of my 800 channels – twice – and, as I said, I was desperate.

Plus, it was the bottom of the seventh inning (the last in softball) and USA was rallying. Uncle Sam’s boys had cut a five-run lead to one, and had runners on first and second with no outs.

Up stepped mighty Scott Kirby of Destin, Florida. Kirby rocked a 1-2 pitch the opposite way over the right field fence. USA wins! A walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh! That was exciting. I’m glad I tuned in.

Except the home run counted as an out.

I know. I was confused too. How can a home run be an out? Turns out a team is only “allowed” to hit 10 home runs per game in men’s slow pitch softball. Every home run after the 10th counts as an out.

Who made up these rules, Bud Selig?

USA followed up with another home run for another out and a grounder to end the game. Canada wins 30-29. And I will never watch another slow-pitch softball game again

A home run is an out? Really? I have an idea: Why don’t you move the fences back? Or better yet, why don’t you let these guys actually pitch to each other?

Instead, you made your sport an absolute joke. I could have walked away from that game a slow-pitch softball fan. Now, there is no “sport” I despise more … thanks to the dumbest rule in the sports world.

The ridiculousness of that rule got me thinking of some of the other dumb rules in sports. And since I was already riled up, why not tee off on all of the idiocy that surrounds us?

The Blown Save/Win rule

Here’s the scenario: A closer comes into a game in the top of the ninth with a three-run cushion. He gives up three runs and blows the save. But in the bottom of the frame, the home team comes back and wins on a walk-off homer.

Baseball gives the W to the closer. Are you kidding? The guy who didn’t do his job gets a W? The guy who just gave up three runs in the top of the inning is rewarded for what? For being the last man to record an out?

It’s idiotic. It’s ludicrous. And I have the solution: Give the win back to the guy who would have gotten it had the closer not blown the save. He was in line for it. He deserves it and he is certainly a hell of a lot more worthy than the closer who just blew the game.

This can be changed tomorrow, and we’d live in a more just world. Bud, I know you’re reading this. Make it the last thing you do. Make it your legacy. Change this scoring decision, and I’m sure everyone will forget about your blatant ignorance during the Steroid Era, your bumbling of the tied All-Star game and your pigheadedness when it comes to replay. “Fair Play Bud.”

Give the pitcher back his win and that will be your legacy … maybe (maybe not).

The Game-Check Fine

When a player is suspended, he loses a game check. The fine hurts all players equally in terms of what they make. A-Rod losing 1/162 of his paycheck hurts him exactly as much as Cody Ransom losing 1/162 of his.

So why aren’t all fines slotted this way? Illegal hits, uniform violations, lateness to practice. All these violations are finable, yet sports teams and organizations impose arbitrary numbers on the fines that disproportionately affect players.

If you’re Brett Favre, the $10,000 fine you got for the crack back block on Eugene Wilson is just a drop in the bucket, but if you’re an undrafted rookie like Jacob Lacey, that $10K hurts a lot more.

Let’s even the playing field. Let’s allot all fines in units of game checks, so that the fine actually does what is intended to do: deter the player from repeating the infraction.

Shooting Down the Shootout

I get that sports leagues think very little of their fans. But whether it’s hockey or soccer, the shootout is a patronizing, arbitrary and ridiculously stupid way to end a game.

Both the hockey shootout and soccer shootout have the same inherent problem: Neither has anything to do with the sport the two teams just spent the entire regulation and overtime playing. Why not decide the winner with a game of Double Dutch orChess Boxing?

Each would have exactly the same correlation to the game the two teams just played that the shootout does. Zero.

Give fans credit. Our ADHD hasn’t consumed us yet. Play the games you started until there is a winner. Otherwise, you’re just calling a home run an out to end the game.

Email me at russakoffrules@comcast.net; follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/leerussakoff.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.