Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The rule, 21-b, regards misconduct and is titled "Gift For Defeating Competing Club." It prohibits anyone connected with a particular team from offering a gift or reward to a person connected with another club for an attempt to defeat a competing club. The giver and receiver, without notification of the commissioner's office, are subject to ineligibility for "not less than three years."Clearly, this was nothing more than Hunter's enthusiasm running away with him intersecting with a relatively obscure rule, yet one that apparently is posted on the walls of the Twins' clubhouse, which makes you wonder what might happen in the event of a fire.
The episode got its start when Derek Zumsteg first wrote about it at The Cheater's Guide To Baseball Blog. "This is dangerous", he oh-so-seriously intones, but in fact it really isn't; if all it takes is a case of Dom Perignon to motivate the Royals, there's acres of that waiting for them should they win the division. The real problem here, and with modern life in the U.S., is overly-strict rules on personal behavior, and the culture of tattletales it engenders. It reminds me — in course but not yet extent — of nothing less than the old East German Stasi that encouraged neighbors to rat on neighbors for the most trivial kinds of infractions.
Zumsteg has already taken a well-deserved slapdown for his gratuitous and apparently groundless (at least, as far as MLB was concerned) finger-pointing at Francisco Rodriguez's dirty cap. Despite his protestations that he was not a "hall monitor", he sure is acting like one; perhaps, as with so many reformed alcoholics and fresh religious converts, he's suddenly gotten overzealous at sniffing these things out and reporting. All right, fine; I can totally buy Seitz's argument that
... [He] wrote the book and got used to looking for that kind of stuff. You know how when you're in the market for a new car, you start noticing every car on the street and wondering what it cost (or is that just me)? Kinda like that.But the law is frequently an ass, and some kinds of crimes can be in fact harmless (selling the weed, for instance) or even noble. The Underground Railroad was highly illegal; so were the people who hid Jews from their Nazi pursuers breaking the law. Zumsteg has lost his sense of proportion on this one.