Monday, May 5, 2008

Know the rules

Last week, most papers and broadcast outlets in the country reported on a collegiate softball player who was carried around the bases by a couple of players on the opposing team after she blew out her knee rounding first after hitting a game-winning home run.
In case you missed it, the umpires ruled her teammates and/or coaches could not help her and that if a pinch runner was used, she would only be credited with a single. The opposing first baseman asked -- in the ultimate act of sportsmanship -- if her team could help the opposing girl touch each base.
When told there was nothing in the rule book to prevent it, the first baseman and shortstop carried the girl around, gently lowering her down so she could touch every base with her good leg. It made for a real feel-good story and the video, which recently surfaced, was must-see TV.
But, after hearing about what happened, my first question was "Why is there such a rule in place that would prevent this girl from having help -- or at least a pinch runner -- that could complete the home run trot in her place?"
I got the answer today when I spoke to a pair of VERY knowledgeable softball coaches.
While a coach or a teammate cannot assist the runner, YOU CAN HAVE A PINCH RUNNER ROUND THE BASES FOR A HOME RUN!
The umpires completely blew it and the coaches didn't know enough to correct the mistake. It's a situation that happens far too often when people who should know the rules, don't.
So now I don't know now if I'm prouder of those girls who completed this ultimate act of sportsmanship or more angry at the umpires and coaches for making them have to do it.

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