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Thursday, July 19, 2007
Baseball Quiz: Off-field and On-field Rules

Two nice tidbits from Jim Caple's Off-Base this week. Both relate to sports law, understood as the law governing sports.

First, Caple points out how San Diego's Chris Young manipulated the system in serving a 5-game suspension for throwing at the Cubs' Derrek Lee last month. Young pitched the Wednesday before the All-Star Game, then began his suspension with the next four games before the Break--games, Caple notes, in which Young almost certainly would not have pitched. Young then pitched in the All-Star Game, then sat out the team's first game after the Break--another game in which he likely would not have pitched. So Young was "suspended," yet in that time never missed a start, never missed a game in which he likely would have appeared, and got the honor of pitching in the All-Star Game (Motto: "This time, it counts, but not too much"). Caple argues, correctly, that this is a problem with MLB's system of suspensions as they apply to starting pitchers and to rules that allow the player to determine when he will serve his suspension.

Second, Caple presents the following pitching line for Oakland reliever Kiko Calero, last Thursday against the Twins.

2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K and one (1) pitch.

How could he pitch 2/3 of an inning (meaning he got two men out), give up one hit, and only throw one pitch?

Give your best guesses in the Comments (and no jumping to Caple's column for the answer). I will reveal the result tomorrow.


Without cheating, my best guess would be that Kiko entered the game with one out a man on second. He gives up a hit but the runner is gunned down at the plate, and then the batter is caught trying to take second after the play at the plate. close? I'm going to go check Caple's article now.

Blogger Matt -- 7/19/2007 1:02 PM  

With only one pitch it must have been some kind of double play after the ball landed in play, the first comment sounds right to me.

Blogger Scrumtrulescent -- 7/19/2007 1:19 PM  

Calero's feat is impressive but nowhere near as incredible as Ernie Shore, who in 1917 relieved Babe Ruth after the Bambino walked the first batter, then got ejected for punching an umpire. Shore picked off the runner, then retired the next 26 for a perfect game! (although crankly MLB doesn't officially recognize it as a perfect game).

Blogger some guy -- 7/19/2007 1:43 PM  

It's out with a runner on first when he enters....first batter he faces hits into double play on first pitch. The first comment makes the stat line more complicated than necessary but certainly not out of the question.

Anonymous brad -- 7/19/2007 1:50 PM  

brad, you miss the fact that he allowed a hit...which means it couldn't be your standard double play.

my alternative: runner on 1st when kiko entered the game. he picks the runner off of first before throwing a pitch. he then allows a hit on the first pitch to the first batter, and proceeds to pick him off of first before throwing a pitch to the second batter.

my original thought was exactly that matt said, or something similar with a hit, a play at the plate or third, and then a runner being thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double, but i had to come up with something original...

Anonymous chad -- 7/19/2007 1:55 PM  

My bad...I over-simplified by forgetting about the hit. I should have read my own comment before I posted. Could another possibility be that he entered w/ a man on base (we'll say first) and picked off the runner at first or attempting to swipe second before ever throwing his first pitch? Then on his first pitch he retires the batter.

Anonymous brad -- 7/19/2007 2:45 PM  

I quit posting on this subject...I keep forgetting about the hit and instead keep focusing on the single pitch. I like your suggestion Chad, which I should have read completely before posting. I give up.

Anonymous brad -- 7/19/2007 2:48 PM  

I got a pair of ideas. There is no mention of fielding or throwing errors in the stat line, so it is safe to say that there is a possibility of those occuring. Hit and run play, runner on first. Calero throws the pitch (a single to short), force out at second but an error in a throw to first (Which, I believe, still counts it as a hit). Hitter tries to take second but gets thrown out or run out. Calero is out of the inning.

Other idea is a bit more simple. Runners on first and second. Grounder up the middle. 2nd tries to go home, center fielder guns him down at the plate.. First goes to third and the catcher manages to throw it to third in time. I know that's a variation of what matt is saying, but it's another spin on how many plays can happen on field.

Blogger Enjorlas -- 7/19/2007 3:37 PM  

The post did not mention what happened with Derrek Lee, the guy that Chris Young hit that also received a 5 game suspension from the incident. Lee contested his suspension and dropped it yesterday after he fouled a pitch off his leg when there was no chance that he could play for a few days.

I know they used to wait to hear about the suspension but why don't they have a video conference within a few days of the suspension being handed down? It might expedite the suspension process and stop players from serving the suspension when it is not really a penalty.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/19/2007 4:25 PM  

Enjorlas has the right idea, but you don't even need two runners on base.

Pitcher comes in with a man on first. First pitch is a single to right, the man on first is thrown out trying to go to third and the batter is thrown out trying to sneak into second.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/19/2007 6:06 PM  

Anonymous 4:25:

Thank you for the information on Lee. I knew he was beginning the suspension; I did not know it was timed to a little injury.

That just supports Caple's broader point: Players should not get to dictate when they begin serving their suspensions.

Blogger Howard Wasserman -- 7/19/2007 8:56 PM  


Runners on first and third. One out. Single to left. Runner on third scores. Runner on first thrown out trying to go to third; batter thrown out trying to take second on the throw.

Several of you were correct that this could have happened with only one man on base. Two runners on with no out raises the possibility that three men could be retired on the one base hit.

Chad's two pick-off scenario also would produce this pitching line--that was a cute one that I did not think of.

Enorjas: Your first scenario does not work because what you described would not be scored as a hit--it would be either a Fielder's Choice or an Error (depending on whether, in the scorer's view, the batter would have beaten the relay to first).

And thank you all for playing.

Blogger Howard Wasserman -- 7/20/2007 12:10 PM  

OK, the obvious answer is a double play of some type (strike-'em-out, throw-'em-out [usually at second]; flyout followed by a play at a base [i.e. sacrifice fly with a runner at, say, third being thrown out on a throw home], 6-4-3 or similar double play; etc.), all of those on the first pitch thrown by the new pitcher . . . But this sounds like a pitcher picking off a baserunner [not counted as a pitch], then the first pitch to the batter leads to an out.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/21/2007 12:47 AM  

OOPS--sorry; misread that as one pitch, no hits . . . not one hit.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/21/2007 12:50 AM  

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