Saturday, August 19, 2006


The Losing Edge In Little League and the War on Terror

A Southpark episode called "the Losing Edge" seems prescient with the nasty shenanigans during this year's Little League World Series and with the battlefield tactis in the war on terror:

In the Southpark episode, according to Wikipedia:

The boys of South Park are involved in a Little League baseball team, despite the fact that they all hate the sport; they play because of the enthusiasm of their parents. When they win their final game they are initially elated, thinking the season is over, but then discover to their horror that they have to continue playing in the state championships. They decide to lose their next game, and thereby get out of the running for the championship, but the team they oppose has exactly the same idea. While trying desperately to lose, they manage again and again to beat the other team, whose efforts at throwing the game are more effective.

In the regionals for the 2006 Little League World Series there were two teams that were disqualified for not playing all of their players according to the mandatory play rule. One team realized the error and took it gracefully. The other....


A Vermont coach’s failure to let one member of his team get enough time in the game gave the Portsmouth, N.H., Little League all-stars a victory over Vermont’s team by virtue of forfeit.

The manager’s apparent mental error turned a back-and-forth game - complete with six home runs - into a contest marred by confusion, chaos, tears and two ejections.

Portsmouth lost Friday’s game 9-8 if runs are counted, but the team was awarded the victory and advanced to Monday’s championship because of Vermont’s rules infraction.

The Colchester, Vt., manager Denis Place failed to get a player in the game for at least three consecutive defensive outs and one at-bat - a mandatory Little League rule. That meant the New Hampshire state champions were officially awarded a 6-0 forfeit victory.

In the bottom of the fifth inning with the game tied, 7-7, Vermont scored twice on a Nate Frieberg two-out, two-run homer. Vermont held a 9-7 lead and seemingly stood three defensive outs away from a berth in the title game.

But Vermont substitute Adam Bentley hadn’t received his required share of playing time.

Portsmouth recorded the fifth-inning’s third out before Bentley stepped to the plate. The only way for Vermont to have had a chance to play Bentley would have been if Portsmouth made a come back.

Place told his players what had happened during a huddle at the pitcher’s mound once the first two outs were recorded in the top of the sixth.

Keegan Taylor started the inning with a double and later scored to cut the Portsmouth deficit to 9-8. Vermont attempted to allow Portsmouth to tie the game - so Vermont could avoid a rules violation - with obvious wild pitches and poor throws in the infield.

“Call me stupid, but I didn’t know anything until they wouldn’t pitch to my son (Connor),” Portsmouth manager Mark McCauley said. “When they started to throw the ball into the screen, I was like ’Whoa, wait a minute. This kid just got wild.’ Then one of the (Portsmouth) parents yelled down right after - or maybe it was simultaneous - ’They don’t have a kid that’s in.’

“Once it was obvious to me that they were playing (funny) by throwing the ball into the top of the screen, the administrators called both (managers) over and said, ’You will not make a mockery of this game,”’ McCauley added.

When Vermont continued to try to help Portsmouth tie the game, Place and Vermont pitcher Zach Tandy were ejected.

Tandy’s two blatant wild pitches pushed the potential tying run to third, but McCauley kept his player from advancing any farther. The Portsmouth manager said he also told his players to swing at poor pitches and intentionally miss, to ensure the team could protest.

“It was crystal clear to me that (Vermont’s manager) was not going to let the kids decide the outcome of the game,” McCauley said. “He was going to cover his tail. He was doing what was in the best interest of his team. I had to do the same for my team.”

Executing McCauley’s orders, Stephen Hemming struck out to end the game.

McCauley approached the umpires before they left the field and filed his protest. About two hours later the rules committee in Williamsport, Pa., issued its ruling.

What an affront to America's past-time. And to Americans. We love winners, but we hate losers, particularly bad losers, and the antics in this baseball game rival Maradona's "Hand of God" goal in the 1986 World Cup match. We think cheaters shouldn't prosper. But they do.

We don't understand people who don't play by the rules. The entire concept is so foreign to Americans that we have trouble combatting the tactics employed by poor sports and Islamofascists. We don't understand how to play unfairly on a sport's field or on a war front. It's anathema to us, and those that do it are usually run out of town.

But it's ingrained in the Islamofascists. Their entire religion is built around how to take advantage of your opponents by hook or by crook. Hide behind civilians, fine. No uniforms, fine. Hostages, fine. Lie, no problem. Human rights? you've gotta be kidding me.

On the sport's field, we expect our opponents to notify us if they break the rules (golf), penalize bad play (football), and we throw out "the bums" (every sport). Islamofascists, on the other hand, would just prefer to bomb the stadium and call it a victory.

Are we ready for that type of competition? This time the trophy is civilization itself and we better adjust. There are no rules, and appealing to the rules committee is not an option.


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