Cheating?  [Scoring without a hit in the bottom of the 1st]

Okay, I think, it’s great that stealing is part of baseball.  Even stealing the other team’s signs is

not considered cheating.  In fact, Looie is out there at second trying to see how many fingers the

Detroit catcher is wagging for the first pitch to Jim Landis, the Sox third man up.  Before the

game Looie has told Landis to take a couple pitches if Looie is on second so Looie gets a

chance to observe the catcher’s signs, then if Luis hollers “Come On Jimmy” it’s a

curve coming while “Come on Jim” means fastball.  Batters who correctly guess (or learn)

what kind of pitch is coming have a much easier time hitting it.


Now that my Dad has explained it to me, I guess I am okay with groundskeepers who make

the base paths like quick sand if the other team has lots of speed demons or make the infield hard

as a rock if your team has a lot of chop hitters, but these ethical questions in baseball are a bit

knotty and not fully charted.


Playing with friends everybody knows “Tie goes to the runner,” and we never needed an

umpire, but playing professionally for a livelihood changes things.  Gaylord Perry, a Hall of

Famer who won over 300 major league games, was having trouble getting outs in his first major

league appearance.  Thinking of his very poor, dirt-farming parents back home, who were

counting on him to make some money, he reared back and threw his first spitball (of many) to

get the side out.  (A “spitball” is putting an illegal substance on the ball.  With more weight on

one side, the spinning ball arrives in a tailing trajectory.)  Spitballs are only frowned upon if you

get caught.  What kind of ethics is that?  Is cheating on your wife the proverbial tree falling

in the forest that only makes a noise if somebody hears it?  What would you think about hiding

your groundskeeper in the scoreboard with a set of binoculars to see what pitch the

Me and Murph at Fenway Pk

With my sister and the Fenway Park Scoreboard

catcher was signaling for?  What about that former President’s “it’s only a sin if you stick it in”?


Back at the game, Lopez signaled for the Hit & Run but Landis hit a grounder too close to first

and was an easy out, the first baseman fielding the ball and beating Jim to the bag.  Nevertheless a successful play because he has advanced the runners to second and third with only one out.   Sherm Lollar then lofts a deep fly to Center, which the Centerfielder catches on the fly

for the second out, but Luis has tagged-up on third and scores the game’s first run.  One to

nothing without a hit.  “Tagging-up” is when you stay on the base until after the fly ball is caught

and then run to the next base before the throw arrives and a tag applied.  If you run before the

ball is caught, the fielder throws to the vacated base and it’s a double play – two outs on one

pitch.  (On grounders you can run right away.)


Tomorrow:  A Broken Heart


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