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Poor sportsmanship or smart baseball?


SteveA

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"He's allowed to say 'I got it. I got it,''' said former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, who recalled a similar play when he was with Triple-A Montreal in the late 1950s or 1960.

"I was coaching first base in Miami - two outs in the top of the ninth inning. We were losing by one run. We had a guy on second base,'' Lasorda recalled. "There was a foul ball. Gene Oliver was going over to catch it. I said, 'I got it! I got it!' He pulled back and the ball dropped. He's screaming at me. And the next pitch a guy hit a home run, and we won the game.''

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/baseball/mlb/wires/06/01/2010.ap.bba.a.rod.s.antics.0774/

Once again this isn't the same situation so it doesn't apply. Lasorda was not rounding the bases and yelling it into the fielder's ear, he was coaching first base.

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Once again this isn't the same situation so it doesn't apply. Lasorda was not rounding the bases and yelling it into the fielder's ear, he was coaching first base.

It's pretty damn close.

The fielder (Gene Oliver, who was either playing first base or catcher according to his profile, not sure which he played that day) came over into foul territory to catch the ball and the first base coach yells, "I got it. I got it." The fielder pulls off and lets the ball drop.

The only difference is that it was the first base coach instead of a baserunner.

If that makes the two situations completely different to you, I don't know what to tell you. (I could go the sarcastic route, but I'm trying to be logical, not condescending.)

If anything, I would think that a coach would be held to a higher standard than a player.

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It's pretty damn close.

The fielder (Gene Oliver, who was either playing first base or catcher according to his profile, not sure which he played that day) came over into foul territory to catch the ball and the first base coach yells, "I got it. I got it." The fielder pulls off and lets the ball drop.

The only difference is that it was the first base coach instead of a baserunner.

If that makes the two situations completely different to you, I don't know what to tell you. (I could go the sarcastic route, but I'm trying to be logical, not condescending.)

If anything, I would think that a coach would be held to a higher standard than a player.

Oh I don't think Lasorda should have done it either but that's beside the point. It's not the same situation. Lasorda is standing in the coach's box yelling something...he's not running up behind him yelling something directly in his ear.

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I thought, sometime long ago in this thread, that MP made a pretty good point about whether or not you can envision Cal doing something like this, and the answer is no. And frankly, I don't think I would do it either. In my good ol' slow pitch softball league, I would try something like that, but I think if the infielder fell for it, I'd actually apologize for doing it and call myself out.

Having said that, I still don't have a problem with what A-Rod did, even if I wouldn't do it myself.

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Oh I don't think Lasorda should have done it either but that's beside the point. It's not the same situation. Lasorda is standing in the coach's box yelling something...he's not running up behind him yelling something directly in his ear.
I think a player on the field has MORE of a right to psych out the fielder than a coach does. A coach is not technically part of the game, whereas A-Rod, as a baserunner, was a part of the play.

I think a lot of people here have an expectation of a higher level of "sportsmanship" in baseball than actually exists, or has ever existed. It's absurd to think that A-Rod is the first baserunner ever to try to psych out an infielder trying to catch a popup. As I said earlier, it's not the classiest move, but neither was Freddie Bynum mauling the guy trying to turn the DP the other night. It's baseball, not tea time.

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Attempt to bobble the ball in the outfield until he is close enough in to throw out a runner trying to tag? No OF fly, right? If it ain't written that you can't, then you can.
Not sure if this has been debunked yet in this thread, but the runner can tag up as soon as the outfielder touches the ball, even if he doesn't gain full control of it until later. This rule is in place specifically to prevent the outfielder from "bobbling" the ball all the way into the infield.
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The title of this thread is:

Poor sportsmanship or smart baseball ?

Poor sportsmanship is the only answer, given these two choices. Regardless of whether or not it broke any rule.

"Smart" baseball means throwing to the right base, taking an extra base, etc.

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Oh I don't think Lasorda should have done it either but that's beside the point. It's not the same situation. Lasorda is standing in the coach's box yelling something...he's not running up behind him yelling something directly in his ear.

How far was Arod from the fielder? 5 feet maybe? Whatever it was, it wasn't close enough where there was any chance of physical contact.

I would post the clip from youtube, but unfortunately it has been removed.

How far was Lasorda from the fielder in foul territory? That's right, you don't know. He could have been the same distance away from the fielder (remember that it was a foul ball). Regardless, he was obviously close enough to make the fielder give way and let the ball drop. Even Lasorda himself describes it as a similar play, but you want to debate that it's not.

Anyway, what do you think would be an appropriate distance that you have to be from the fielder where it would be ok to yell something? 3 feet, ..... 5 feet, .... 10 feet?

It's a pretty tepid argument at best.

If you want to just state that Arod's play was wrong, fine. Obviously players and fans have come down on both sides of the issue.

But don't rationalize that Lasorda's play in unsuitable for comparison.

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The title of this thread is:

Poor sportsmanship or smart baseball ?

Poor sportsmanship is the only answer, given these two choices. Regardless of whether or not it broke any rule.

"Smart" baseball means throwing to the right base, taking an extra base, etc.

If that's the case, then why is it ok for a runner on 2nd base to try to steal the signs from a catcher about the type and location of an upcoming pitch?

Is that smart baseball or poor sportsmanship? I would say that it's poor sportsmanship, but it's accepted as part of the game.

(And let's not pretend that sign stealing hasn't been occurring in baseball for a long time.)

But of course, the batter better not look back at the catcher while in the batter's box. That's a definite no-no.

I just don't understand these black and white responses.

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If that's the case, then why is it ok for a runner on 2nd base to try to steal the signs from a catcher about the type and location of an upcoming pitch?

Is that smart baseball or poor sportsmanship? I would say that it's poor sportsmanship, but it's accepted as part of the game.

(And let's not pretend that sign stealing hasn't been occurring in baseball for a long time.)

But of course, the batter better not look back at the catcher while in the batter's box. That's a definite no-no.

I just don't understand these black and white responses.

Fine. I just don't understand your responses, either.

We can agree to disagree.

Poor sportsmanship is subjective. There can be a fine line between deception and bush-league tactics. This is one that I put in the bush-league column.

Stealing signs from second base is not a good analogy, imo. All the catcher has to do is change the indicator or sequence, etc.... At least the defense has an opportunity to counter the stealing if it is suspected.

There is no defense for a well-timed quick yell of "mine"or "cut off" at the split second when a play is to be made.

A better analogy was the little league one- is it ok for an opposing coach to yell "SWING".

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If that's the case, then why is it ok for a runner on 2nd base to try to steal the signs from a catcher about the type and location of an upcoming pitch?

Is that smart baseball or poor sportsmanship? I would say that it's poor sportsmanship, but it's accepted as part of the game.

(And let's not pretend that sign stealing hasn't been occurring in baseball for a long time.)

But of course, the batter better not look back at the catcher while in the batter's box. That's a definite no-no.

I just don't understand these black and white responses.

It's not okay to steal signs...maybe it's accepted as a part of baseball but people definitely don't like it. That's why you have heated arguments between players, benches clearing, batters getting thrown out, etc. And also like 66-70-83 said that catcher/coaches are able to see what is going on and can change the signs if they choose to. A 3b concentrating on a pop up doesn't have the same luxury of deciphering whether or not it's really his teammate calling him off or some idiot from the other team. There's a reason why fielders have the universal "I got it" call, it's to make sure someone is going to catch the ball and to avoid collisions. Pitcher retaliation is also an accepted part of the game but that doesn't mean that it's permissible, seeing as how pitchers routinely get warned and/or ejected for doing so.
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How far was Arod from the fielder? 5 feet maybe? Whatever it was, it wasn't close enough where there was any chance of physical contact.

I would post the clip from youtube, but unfortunately it has been removed.

How far was Lasorda from the fielder in foul territory? That's right, you don't know. He could have been the same distance away from the fielder (remember that it was a foul ball). Regardless, he was obviously close enough to make the fielder give way and let the ball drop. Even Lasorda himself describes it as a similar play, but you want to debate that it's not.

Anyway, what do you think would be an appropriate distance that you have to be from the fielder where it would be ok to yell something? 3 feet, ..... 5 feet, .... 10 feet?

It's a pretty tepid argument at best.

If you want to just state that Arod's play was wrong, fine. Obviously players and fans have come down on both sides of the issue.

But don't rationalize that Lasorda's play in unsuitable for comparison.

Once again, what Lasorda did was wrong also. But he didn't insert himself into the play, he was in his coaches box. If he wasn't, he most assuredly would have been ejected. Trying to psych out another player is a completely different thing from inserting yourself into the play and trying to make the fielder think you are his teammate calling him off. That is what ARod did, not what Lasorda did. And the Maury Wills example was even more preposterous.

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This issue probably has more to do with finding anything anti-Alex or anti-Yankee (which I have no problem with) than poor sportsmanship. I said earlier that I thought it was funny and I had no problem with it. I would like to take it back after I thought about it more. If everyone did it how could you believe anyone calling you off? This would create dangerous situations especially on pop-ups when two players would collide because they don't know if it is an attempt to gain an extra out. This situation wasn't bad, but if a player ends up with a concussion after a collision in a similar situation, MLB will have to take action. They should nip this in the bud before anyone tries it again.

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This issue probably has more to do with finding anything anti-Alex or anti-Yankee (which I have no problem with) than poor sportsmanship. I said earlier that I thought it was funny and I had no problem with it. I would like to take it back after I thought about it more. If everyone did it how could you believe anyone calling you off? This would create dangerous situations especially on pop-ups when two players would collide because they don't know if it is an attempt to gain an extra out. This situation wasn't bad, but if a player ends up with a concussion after a collision in a similar situation, MLB will have to take action. They should nip this in the bud before anyone tries it again.

Good post, that's why I think there's etiquette involved with this sort of play. It could prove to be dangerous if it's done by all players.

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