Teach Our Children Well

Well, I didn't realize Craig Biggio was coaching college baseball during his off-time.

It seems that during the College World Series, batters have started employing one of Biggio's biggest offensive weapons: turning a shoulder into the ball and getting hit.

It appears some people are upset about this little maneuver. They think it might be stretching the rules just a bit. One of those people is the Chron's Richard Justice, who refers to the coaches of these teams as "knuckleheads."

Now, I think that this is a bit harsh. Sure, the rule book states that the batter has to make an effort to get out of the path of a pitch. Sure it states that the batter can be called out if he doesn't make such an effort (if the pitch would otherwise be strike three), or at the least have a strike called and not awarded the base. (Rule 6.08(b)). But what's that matter? I thought that people like Justice celebrated hustle and brains. Isn't getting on base a way to help the team.

I thought that's what made Craig Biggio so great. And I don't recall in recent memory anyone at the Chron criticizing Biggio for stretching the rules with his little shoulder turn move. And, from what I read at the Chron, if Biggio does it, that should be the standard that everyone follows.

(An ending aside: I was actually in attendance at a game between the Yankees and Red Sox at Yankee Stadium in July of 2003 when this rule was actually called correctly. A couple of days earlier, Roger Clemens had hit a couple of Red Sox because they'd had the nerve to hit some home runs off of him. In the game that I attended, Pedro Martinez led off by plunking Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano. Only, the amazing thing was, on the pitch that hit Soriano, the umpire called it a strike and wouldn't let Soriano take the base -- it seems that when your elbow is in the strike zone when it gets hit, the pitch should be a strike. Boy, was it fun watching the Yankee fans go ape shit.) -- John Royal


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