Skip

Baseball Rules Quiz: Think you're smarter than the Ump? Prove it.
August 11, 2005 6:22 AM   Subscribe

"It isn't easy to be smart about baseball if you didn't grow up with the game, but Farish asked decent enough questions. It was the answers that came hard. We must have resembled three mathematicians so lost in their highly refined work that they haven't noticed how quaint and opaque the terminology is, how double-meaning'd. We argued the language and tried to unravel it for the outsider."
posted by .kobayashi. (24 comments total)

 
My in-laws had a debate about the whole pitcher's win-loss-save dynamic that involved copious book-citing. It was scary. I think I'm going to stick to American football.

What's the quote, from, anyhow? That's not immediately apparent.
posted by selfnoise at 6:35 AM on August 11, 2005


[this is good]

I'm gonna have to show this to my brother, who went to umpiring school and ostensibly learned more than proper positioning and how to scratch himself.
posted by sachinag at 7:04 AM on August 11, 2005


this is fun. Thanks!
posted by dig_duggler at 7:32 AM on August 11, 2005


Wow, great link. And I thought I knew baseball.
posted by xmutex at 7:39 AM on August 11, 2005


Great post. I'm a horrible umpire.
posted by schustafa at 7:39 AM on August 11, 2005


We must have resembled three mathematicians so lost in their highly refined work that they haven't noticed how quaint and opaque the terminology is, how double-meaning'd.

Ouch!! To be compared to a baseball enthusiast!
posted by Aknaton at 8:03 AM on August 11, 2005


I got this question:

3. No outs, runner on 1st. Grounder to short who throws the ball into the stands trying to retire R1 at 2nd. Place the runners.

F6 throws the ball into the stands trying to get the guy on second base? That's one hell of a throw, I'd say!
posted by clevershark at 8:08 AM on August 11, 2005


Those are some tough questions. I thought I knew baseball, but those obscure rules got me every time.

And yeah, clevershark, good catch!
posted by rocket88 at 8:13 AM on August 11, 2005


Yeah, I got busted on more than a few rules that apply only to the specific situation. This IS hard. And imagine trying to call a game without the benefit of eyesight (THAT WAS CLEARLY A BALL, YOU BLIND MOTHERFUCKER!)
posted by klangklangston at 9:43 AM on August 11, 2005


Because someone asked: The quote is from DeLillo's Underworld, in the early chapter where it's revealed that Nick owns the Bobby Thomson home run ball.
posted by .kobayashi. at 9:47 AM on August 11, 2005


Thanks, .kobayashi. .
posted by selfnoise at 10:08 AM on August 11, 2005


Wow. Those are tough questions and I crapped out on most of 'em. Baseball has so many permutations. (Though I think American football is extremely rule-heavy as well..."You Make the Call!")

An Aussie friend of mine recently joined a baseball team but had only a basic understanding of the rules. So I explained them to him, thinking it would be easy enough, but before long I realized an hour had passed and I was still trying to get across the basics.

This just strengthens my belief that baseball is the most strategic of all ball sports, and at least conceptually, the best game out there. Like chess, but at 90 mph!
posted by zardoz at 10:35 AM on August 11, 2005


My boyfriend is a baseball fanatic. I just sent him this link. There goes his productivity for the rest of the day! Come to think of it, there goes the better part of my weekend...

Thanks, kobayashi. I think.
posted by Corky at 10:56 AM on August 11, 2005


Like chess, but at 90 mph!

Combined with watching paint dry.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 10:58 AM on August 11, 2005


I got 4/5 correct on average. The big "obscure" rule to remember is 7.04(c)--that the ball is dead when it's caught and the guy who caught it goes in the stands, and the bases advance.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:33 AM on August 11, 2005


Woah, that was some totally fucked up sentence structure.

What I meant to say was, "If a fielder catches the ball, and goes into the stands, the ball is ruled dead, and the runners advance."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:34 AM on August 11, 2005


Comma, comma, comma. Baseball is all about commas.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:35 AM on August 11, 2005


Nice link. I wish my friend the official scorer (minor league) used computers, so I could send it to him.

My sister's friends from Scotland just showed up here for a few weeks, and the two boys and their father got quite interested in baseball. They knew almost nothing — typical question, "What does the E stand for on the scoreboard, after R for runs and H for hits?" — and it's amazingly complicated trying to describe the game, considering how many people think nothing is happening on the field.

Even if you did grow up with the game, there's always something you've never heard of before. (Like the quiz question about if a batted ball hits first base, and flies into the dugout, where does the batter go?)

The other night, in a crazy game where Cleveland got 11 runs in the 9th inning to beat hapless Kansas City, there was a play I still don't understand:
The Royals got an unearned run in the third when Berroa was allowed to score from third after Indians catcher Victor Martinez was charged with an error for using his equipment to stop a pitch. Cliff Lee's pitch in the dirt bounced up and struck Martinez's mask and got stuck in his shirt.

When the pitcher throws the ball and the catcher catches it with his glove, isn't that 'using your equipment to stop a pitch?' Seems like you should be allowed to use your shirt as well.
posted by LeLiLo at 2:04 PM on August 11, 2005


Tough quiz, great post.

lelilo:

I suspect we're talking about rule 5.09:

The ball becomes dead and runners advance one base, or return to their bases, without liability to be put out, when_ [...] (g) A pitched ball lodges in the umpire's or catcher's mask or paraphernalia, and remains out of play, runners advance one base[...] If a pitched ball lodges in the umpire's or catcher's mask or paraphernalia, and remains out of play, on the third strike or fourth ball, then the batter is entitled to first base and all runners advance one base. If the count on the batter is less than three balls, runners advance one base.

Never trust sportswriters; always go to the rulebook.
posted by languagehat at 2:30 PM on August 11, 2005


I'm pretty sure languagehat is right on this one. My first impression was that the rule in question was 7.05(b):

Each runner including the batter runner may, without liability to be put out, advance: (b) Three bases, if a fielder deliberately touches a fair ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play and the batter may advance to home base at his peril.

But that's on fair ball. And from lelilo's description, the infraction doesn't sound like it took place on a ball in play. Good call, languagehat!
posted by .kobayashi. at 2:38 PM on August 11, 2005


*dusts off uniform, takes bow*
posted by languagehat at 3:02 PM on August 11, 2005


Can I query this one from the 3rd link:

Catch, if fielder drops the ball in the act of throwing.

Well, duh. Wouldn't you have to have complete control before you attempt to throw it?

Or what if you could feel it bobbling around in your hand so, thinking there's a possibility that you'll drop it, you attempt to throw it. Hey presto! It must be a catch then. Rules is rules.

Or what if you dropped the ball in the act of throwing it as a celebration? There has been a few instances of that in cricket where it has been ruled not out. One, a very famous case indeed (listed at number 2). According to the baseball site it would be ruled out, yes?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:08 PM on August 11, 2005


Thanks for the chapter and verse, languagehat; I knew someone out there would have the info.

I called my computer-less official scorekeeper friend (who was just getting ready to leave for the ball park), and he mentioned that a ball thrown in the dirt in the first place is thought to be the pitcher's fault (wild pitch), not the catcher's (passed ball). So the Cleveland catcher charged with the error was in his opinion, to use a technical term, screwed.
posted by LeLiLo at 12:14 AM on August 12, 2005


uncanny, I'd never heard of the art of sledging before reading that link. Usually it's the job of the crowd to insult the batter/pitcher in baseball. Do they use shotgun microphones so the TV viewers can hear the put-downs?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:26 AM on August 12, 2005


« Older Space Worms   |   Capes vs. Hoods Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post