Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Infield Fly Rule

Here's a great illustrated explanation of the infield fly rule, for anyone still confused by my answer. Thanks to Dan for the link!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Girls Guide: Infield Fly Rule Clarification

Dear Rita,

Why is the infield fly rule such a big deal when there only seems to be one scenario when the infield fly rule can be in effect, and then it seems like it's a totally subjective call - like if the umpire feels like it or not. So why do they have it anyway? Why not just get rid of it? It seem so arbitrary. And confusing. Like a throwaway rule or something, take it or leave it. Bizarre.

Perhaps I was not as clear as I had hoped to be. You're right in one way - the infield fly rule pretty much only applies in one scenario, but it is a scenario that happens often enough that it is an issue.

The reason why it exists is to stop a force play - if the infielder drops the ball and the bases are loaded (or there are runners on first and second) then the runners have to move to the next base creating an easy double play for the defensive team, ending the inning if there is one out already. Instead of one easy out - where, if the infielder had played it straight the other guys wouldn't have even tried to run - they force the offensive team to move when they otherwise wouldn't have and the defense gets two easy outs.

It's about trying to keep things fair. Because, if the batter had hit a fly ball out to center field, the ball would (usually) be caught and the runners already on base would have stayed put. (They can tag up and try to advance but the chances are slim). When the ball doesn't even leave the infield, then the runners don't really stand a chance.

The reason why it is a judgement call by the ump is because the someone has to have ultimate authority, and for this kind of rule, a lot of scenarios could be argued that really don't apply.

I hope that cleared things up. If not, just pretend it doesn't exist. But don't come complaining to me when your little leaguer is picked off at second when they should have been safe. ;)


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Girls' Guide to Baseball Fashion

Dear Rita,

I need a ruling - If I go to a Washington Nationals game when they are playing the Cubs IN DC, is it still bad form if I wear a White Sox hat there? Or is it only bad form if I wear a Sox hat to a Cubs game at Wrigley?

-Confused in DC

Dear Confused,

Personally, I wouldn't do it because the Sox are a Chicago team and people might mistakenly think you're rooting for Chicago - which, in this case, would be bad, because you'd be rooting for the cubs. Many people outside of the city don’t realize the inherent animosity between fans and think you were just rooting for your home team. You don’t want anyone making that mistake.

Your best bet would be to wear something for the Nationals or something completely neutral (and root for the Nationals – hey, someone has to). Watch out for team colors, because at a sporting event, the neutral genre is not limited to something with no logos.

In general, I think that you shouldn't wear anything having to do with any team not involved in the game you are watching. This would include wearing stuff from a different sport, but the same city - wearing Bears’ gear to a White Sox game, or Bulls’ stuff to a Bears’ game (or any other city you might live in). It’s great that you like a lot of sports, but it just doesn’t apply, you know?

Having said that; hats are sort of a different issue. Some people have deep relationships with their baseball caps, and rarely go anywhere without them. For example, I sat next to a guy at the Sox game last night who was wearing a Kane County Cougars hat – for those that don’t know, the Cougars are a minor-league tem. That’s sort of cool. It’s a little obscure, but it fit within the context of the game, plus he had other Sox stuff on and it was clear he wore that Cougars hat everywhere. If you have a Redskins hat that you wear everywhere, go ahead and wear it to the Nationals game.

In this specific case, I would leave the hat at home, due to the possible confusion of Chicago support. If it were a Dodgers or, God forbid, a Yankees hat, I’d say you were in the clear.



Friday, May 05, 2006

Girls' Guide: Infield Fly Rule & Icing

A couple questions for you, Rita:

A) What IS the infield fly rule. I played softball for 8 summers, and I don't know if we had that one. We did, however, have the Drop 3rd Strike Rule, which was can be very influential in the outcome of a game (see: Last season playoffs with the White Sox)

2) I am a hockey fan, without a doubt, yet am still confused by some of the rules. Can you explain what "icing" is? Not the cake kind, of course.


I Want To Know About Sports So I Can Be Pretty AND Smart

Dear Pretty & Smart,

I’m so glad my first question is a double-header. These are good things to know.

The infield fly rule is probably the least-understood rule in baseball, and is an ongoing source of confusion for players, coaches, and fans alike – especially in little league - and it is a good rule to know.

Basically, the purpose of the infield fly rule is to prevent a defensive team from purposely dropping or not catching an infield fly with the intention of trying to turn a double play.

Let’s say there are runners on first and second, with less than two outs (if there were two outs, the defensive team would just catch the fly ball and it would be the end of the inning). The batter pops up and hits a flyball to third base. The third base guy purposely drops the ball, picks it up, touches third base (which makes the runner on 2nd out) and then throws to second base for a double play. It’s an easy double play because both runners are tagging up, expecting the ball to be caught.

The main thing to remember is that the infield fly rule is a judgment call by the umpire. If the umpire determines that a player can make the catch with ordinary effort, then he/she can apply the rule. After the ball is hit in the air, the umpire will yell, "Infield fly, batter is out." Sometimes, the umpire yells this and then the batter isn’t out – why? – because the ball went foul. It’s a tricky play to call, but something that is frequently contested. As long as you know the basics, you can join in the fun and argue with the best of fans – no one understands this rule better than you now do. For more detailed explanation and several examples, check out this site.

Ok. Icing. The official definition: When both teams have an even number of players on the ice, and one player shoots the puck from behind the center line and it cross the opponent's goal line but does not go into the goal.
The key to this rule is that the puck crosses both the center line and the goal line without being touched and is then received by an opposing player. It is considered a delaying tactic and results in a stop in play and a faceoff in the offending team’s defensive zone.

The rule was modified prior to the start of the 2005–2006 NHL season to further discourage the offending team from "icing the puck". Players from a team which has iced the puck are not allowed to be substituted off the ice before the next faceoff. Teams often would ice the puck to gain a stoppage in play when the team is in need of a line change (substituting its players) due to fatigue. In an attempt to speed up game play, the NHL adopted this rule, hoping the added consequence would reduce the number of icing infractions.

I hope that helps clear things up a little bit.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Girls' Guide to Sports

What’s a first down? What’s the infield fly rule? Why is no score in tennis “love?”

You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers. Yes, that’s right. I am declaring myself the go-to-girl for all your sports needs. My qualifications? A love of baseball, access to Google, and enough friends who know enough stuff about lots of sports to answer any questions you can throw at me. I play on the company softball team, have run a ½ marathon, took tennis lessons in middle school (I grew up in the south, it’s what we do), and was on a swim team for one summer. So, I’ve got first hand experience there. Several of my brothers have wrestled, ran track, played lacrosse, roller hockey, water polo, soccer, and, of course, baseball. Oh, and back in the day I played a mean game of four-square – also a southern thing, I think. To top that off, I went through a big hockey phase and have been to the horse races more than once. I may not know a lot about football, but what I didn’t pick up watching the Fighting Irish play for four years, I can find out. So, lay it on me.

Send your questions to:

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Update Your Blog

Update your blog. So I have been commanded and so I shall.

I had many ideas recently of what I wanted to write about : Baseball etiquette, the DIY (do it yourself) network and their awesome show about making photo albums and hot gluing sparkly stuff to things, the genius of Tomato Nation, the annoying articles Stephen King writes in the back of Entertainment Weekly (which Tomato Nation beat me to and, quite frankly, did it better than I could).

But work, school and life in general has kept me away. I have ten million things to read, a paper to write and a really big paper to get started on. One of the things I have to read is Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby. It supposed to be a great novel about the "other America" those living in the slums/ghettos in the 1950's. The book is written with very little structure at all - I'm sure it's meant to be a reflection of the turbulent and chaotic world the characters live in - but it gives me a migraine. I mean, first of all the subject matter is naturally disturbing. These are "ethnic" people - Italians, Greeks, Jews - who have nothing to look forward to in life. Most of them are unemployed and trapped in a vicious cycle of crime and violence. There's a gay character who is harassed, raped, and eventually hit by a car, the first scene involves the horrendous beating of an army guy trying to return to the base (who, it must be noted, was not completely innocent, but also not deserving of the severe beating he got). It's hard to read. It isn't the life I've been exposed to. But it's also just hard to read. There is no punctuation save a few periods and commas - no apostrophe, no quotation marks no "Vinnie said:" so, it's hard to read. You don't know what's going on, just that you don't want to know about it. So, it's taking a while to get through. Mostly, I want to give up and say I can't - as my professor has admitted his wife and children have done. But I feel obliged to read it.

I also am taking a class in the history of English prose style and am analyzing grammar and structure from various periods in history. This is tough because I am not good with grammar. I can read something and tell you if it is incorrect, but I can't identify absolute construction in a sentence. Because absolute construction requires knowing what a participle is and, quite frankly, I can't remember. Even looking it up doesn't help too much because, I don't identify parts of speech while I'm reading. I just read. So, that's a challenge. It's a challenge I have to overcome tonight because I have a paper due tomorrow.

So, I'm not going to write about all those things I thought about.

But, I will make a somewhat brief statement on Baseball Etiquette, though the season is already well underway. It should first be noted, for full disclosure, that I am a White Sox fan. My dad was a White Sox fan, and I was raised to love the Sox. Now, I was also raised to love baseball in general. In 1989, or thereabouts, my family moved from the suburbs of Chicago to the suburbs of Atlanta. My dad was very good about taking us to baseball games whenever possible. This was easy to do since, in 1989 the Braves were one of the worst teams in the major leagues. Fulton County Stadium was always empty and we took full advantage of that - buying cheap seats and moving down to the better ones in the third inning. Eventually, the Braves got good, my dad got season tickets and we still got to go to games. Only now it's in "The Ted," as Ted Turner would like you to call Turner Field, and Dad likes to hang out in the 755 club. So, there was a long time there when I wasn't really paying close attention to the White Sox. But I was still a fan. I went to Braves games because I could, and I rooted for the Braves because they were the home team. But I wasn't necessarily a Braves fan. I didn't have a crush on David Justice or Greg Maddux and certainly not Chipper Jones, who I hate. I don't know why, but I do.

Anyway, upon returning to Chicago after college, I rediscovered my love of the White Sox. I also discovered that, unbeknownst to me, my deep love of the Sox was countered by a deep and irrational hatred of the Cubs. I didn't know I hated the Cubs. I lived in Wrigleyville and my El stop was at Addison - Wrigley Field. It started with game days. I was trying to get home from work and I would be crushed by sweaty stupid cubs fans who came in from the burbs and didn't know how to ride the train or where to get off. But it was more than just the people in my way. It was Sammy Sosa and his big stupid face. It was Dusty Baker and his ardent belief that the media was out to get him. It was that jackass Moises Alou. Don't even get me started on the continued harassment of one Mr. Bartman. Regardless of what he did (which at least 100 other people were trying to do), he did not give up EIGHT MORE RUNS (they were up by 7 or 8 runs when Bartman caught that ball) and he did not lose the next game for them. THERE WAS ANOTHER GAME!

Sorry, I digress. The point is, I might use Cubs fans as an example from time-to-time, as they tend to break a lot of the...

Rules of Baseball Etiquette.

1. Root for your team. You love them, you want them to win, cheer for them, and wear a team shirt or a jersey or whatever. You can even wear an anti-whatever-team-they're-playing shirt. If the Cubs are playing the Cards and you want to wear a shirt proclaiming your firm belief that the Cards suck, go ahead. DO NOT show up to Wrigley Field, when the Cubs are playing any team except the White Sox, wearing a SUX shirt or anything else. It's bad form. Pay attention to the game at hand, people. When the red line series is in full swing and the Sox are kicking your ass, feel free to express your discontent, but unless we're actually playing each other, leave us out of it. This goes double for Sox fans. Do not stoop to their level. If you show up the Comiskey -excuse me - "The Cell" wearing a Cork shirt (funny though it may be), you're an asshole.
2. Watch your mouth. Baseball is a family game. I spent a good part of my childhood in a ballpark, and lots of people bring their kids to the park. If you're unhappy with a call or a play and you want to yell at the field, I guess that's your perogative. But call the guy a bum or come up with something more creative. No one is impressed that you called that guy a shithead, but somebody else just learned a new word.
3. Watch your beer. Sometimes, I bring a purse, sometimes I put my purse under my seat. If you spill your beer, it is going to flow according to the laws of gravity and get all over my purse, someone's nachos and who knows what else. Just give the people in the rows ahead of you a heads up. Or, better yet, don't spill your beer.
4. Watch your kids. Bring your kids to the park. Explain the game, buy them a polish, take them to the bathroom, whatever, it's a fun place. Don't let them explore on their own, for several reasons: A). No one likes your kids like you do. B). There are bad people out there. C). Your kids are annoying. D). I worry. I worry unnecessarily, and if I see your kid wandering around unsupervised, I will worry about him/her. Keep an eye on them. Do the fun stuff WITH THEM.
5. Take your hat off during the national anthem and shut the F up. This should be self-explanitory.

That's about it. Be nice. Think about someone other than yourself, and things will be hunky-dory.