The most interesting part of the CIF-Southern Section’s decision to deny Montebello’s protest that South Hills took an illegal pre-game batting practice, and thus should forfeit its 3-2 victory, was the section’s acknowledgment that a rule was violated, but not severe enough to warrant a disqualification from the playoffs. “At the end of the day, nobody is here to penalize kids,” Southern Section Director of Information Thom Simmons said. “Did a penalty occur? Sure. Did a team gain a competitive advantage? No. Did they (South Hills) win on the field? Yes. In the rules, it says a team `may’ be removed from the playoffs for something like this. Not that they `will’ be. The rule allows us that leeway. We don’t think it was worthy of removing a team from the entire playoffs.” I’ll be honest, I thought if you violated this rule it was a slam-dunk disqualification. Simmons’ remarks and explanation were enlightening, to say the least. It’s good to know the section has the power in some instances to ask, “does the punishment fit the crime?” To weigh the rule versus the spirit of the rule, which Steve Ramirez so elegantly explained commenting on a previous thread, should be used in more situations. Click the thread to read what Steve wrote
For the record, Steve wrote this prior to CIF’s ruling.
My only comment would be: Was what South Hills is accused of in the spirit of the rule?
Was the alleged batting practice formal, which would give them an unfair advantage? Or was it one kid throwing to another, just goofing off before taking infield? Was it something the coaches were involved in, or the players themselves? It has to be, in my mind, in the spirit of the rule.
I use the term in the spirit of the rule, because I don’t think you can have a rigid rule and have it be fair.
I’m sure you remember when George Brett hit a GW home run against the Yankees in the early 1980s. Umpires ruled he had pine tar beyond the handle of the bat, which is illegal, and Brett was ruled out and his HR dis-allowed.
Brett and the Royals appealed, and the American League ruled that while the pine tar was indeed up the barrel of the bat, and Brett violated it, it wasn’t in the spirit of the rule, because the rule is in place because pine tar on a batted ball can give it extra spin and result in a base hit and not an out. The AL ruled that if Brett’s bat was clean, he would still have hit a home run; there was no advantage.
I would bring it to our case in point sand say if South Hills had a formal batting practice, whether it be with baseballs, softballs or whiffle balls – as the rule states – then OK, they are guilty and must forfeit, but if it was just players goofing off, then no, the win should be upheld.