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WEEKLY WHINE

Hurl the sphere and stump Edvard

In our continuing effort to get “Dynamite Eating” Edvard van de Kamp hooked on American sports, we have invited you to quiz him on the rules of baseball.

Baseball is a team sport, involving nine players on each team. As specified in rule 1.05 of the Official Baseball Rules, “The objective of each team is to win by scoring more runs than the opponent.”

Edvard, of course, likes football, which is also a team sport in which the objective of each team is to win by scoring more scorey things than the opponent. However, football is slightly different with regards to the number of players on each team, the shape and size of the field of play, the duration of the game, the equipment, the size of the ball, the body parts that may be used to touch the ball, and the manner in which scorey things are scored.

Still, like McDonald’s and the Second Amendment, if baseball is good enough for America, it must be good enough for the rest of the world, right? In that spirit, our latest installment of Stump Edvard features his responses to your questions about the rules of baseball.


Dear Edvard: How many ways are there for a player to be out in baseball?

– Shane McGanter
Wichita, KS, USA

Dear Shane: Let’s find out.

  1. Strikeout [including called third strike, swinging, foul tip, foul bunt, and being tagged or forced out when the third strike is not caught]
  2. Failure to come to bat in the proper order
  3. Hitting a pitch in fair territory twice
  4. Batter illegal action [including hitting a pitch with a foot outside the batter’s box, moving to the other batter’s box after the pitcher is in position, interfering with a defensive player, and using an altered bat]
  5. Fly out [including the infield fly rule and a fielder intentionally dropping a line drive]
  6. Force out
  7. Tag out [including after overrunning first base]
  8. Appeal play [including failure to tag up after a fly out and failure to touch a base]
  9. Straying from the baseline when trying to avoid a tag
  10. Passing a preceding baserunner
  11. Intentionally abandoning the basepath
  12. Intentionally running backward to confuse or “making a travesty of the game”
  13. Interference [including touching or blocking a fielder, and touching a live batted ball]

Dear Edvard: What the hell is a balk?

– Janetta Felgrants
Ocean Park, NJ, USA

Dear Janetta: A balk is an attempt by the pitcher to deceive the baserunner, including an illegal pitch, an illegal throw to a base, or a deceptive motion when there is at least one runner on base. When a balk is called, all runners may advance one base.


Dear Edvard: What if there are no runners on base?

– Tacoma Rivers
Ottawa, ON, Canada

Dear Tacoma: If the bases are empty, an illegal pitch is called a ball, unless the batter reaches first base safely [for example, if the batter hits the pitch into play and reaches first base safely].


Dear Edvard: So how many ways are there to commit a balk?

– Taeryn Staffer
Grey Lake, MB, Canada

Dear Taeryn: Let’s find out.

  1. Making a natural pitching motion without actually pitching
  2. Making a natural pitching motion while not touching the pitcher’s plate
  3. Pitching from the set position without coming to a complete stop
  4. Pitching without facing the batter
  5. Illegal pitch [including quick pitch and moving the pivot foot]
  6. Hidden ball [taking position on the pitcher’s plate without the ball, or feinting a pitch without the ball]
  7. Feinting a throw to first or third base [when touching the pitcher’s plate]
  8. Throwing to a base without stepping toward it [when touching the pitcher’s plate]
  9. Throwing or feinting a throw to an unoccupied base [when touching the pitcher’s plate, unless attempting to make a play at that base]
  10. Unnecessary delay
  11. Holding the ball in one hand after taking position without pitching or throwing to a base
  12. Dropping the ball after taking position [intentionally or otherwise]
  13. Pitching for an intentional walk while the catcher is outside the catcher’s box

Dear Edvard: What if the ball explodes?

– FB Lanceley
Orchard Tree, MN, USA

Dear FB: They get a new one.


Dear Edvard: Why don’t umpires wear suits any more? Those old umpires looked so stylish, not like today’s umpires with their polo shirts.

– Bobby Scosson
Ithaca, NY, USA

Dear Bobby: Business suits may have been stylish, but they were not functional. Umpires need to run all across the field to cover each play, and they work in a wide variety of weather conditions. Their clothing needs to accommodate that.


Dear Edvard: Is there crying in baseball?

– Noreen Burks
Lansing, MI, USA

Dear Noreen: Sure, if you feel like it. Also, that movie was about softball.


Dear Edvard: Why do managers and coaches wear uniforms?

– Richard Dominguez
Glens Falls, NY, USA

Dear Richard: Coaches wear uniforms because they must wear them in order to be permitted on the field of play. Rule 4.07(a) of the Official Baseball Rules does not say that managers must be in uniform, but they always are anyway.

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