As a long-time Red Sox fan, I love the sport of baseball. Being in Boston in 2004 and celebrating in the streets when they came back to beat the Yankees and then again when they beat the Cardinals in the World Series ranks among my favorite moments. Still, I sometimes can not help but cringe at some of the stranger rules and regulations embraced by the sport.
Take last night’s Dodgers game, in which Don Mattingly, filling in as manager for the ejected Joe Torre, may have cost his team the game by stepping back on the dirt of the mound after speaking with closer Jonathan Broxton. An obscure baseball rule dictates that a manager’s visit to the mound ends when he steps of the mound, even though it begins when he crosses the foul line on to the field of play. So, by stepping back on the mound, Mattingly was visiting the mound for the “2nd” time, and as a result, Broxton had to be removed from the game. The Giants went on to win the game and Mattingly’s gaffe became fodder for this post.
Here is my problem with all of this; baseball is a sport, and it should be about competition between the players, not obscure, silly rulings. While there is no guarantee that the Dodgers would have held on and beaten the Giants if Broxton had not been removed, it seems silly that they were denied his further services over something seemingly so trivial. Major League Baseball would do well to eliminate these sorts of issues, because I’m going to bet that a lot of people want to see the games won by the players rather than influenced by rules arcana. Only in baseball . . .