Not the best start to the season but as a self confessed geek, I decided to take a look at some of the stats we keep and noticed that a lot of the runs scored against us were by guests, especially the home runs and the grand slams – in some cases, this has really put the opposition at an advantage and won them the game. I checked for our sister team (The Vipers) and noticed there was a pattern in div 4 too with players guesting down smashing home runs and grand slams against them every single week.
There’s lots of talks about guesting and rostering rules so I am not going to keep repeating it here, its getting pretty old now and whichever side of the fence you sit on, you know that there have been disagreements about the guesting rules for as long as I have played the sport and far before that.
There is another rule we decided to bring into play this week – it’s an ISF rule that states:
Rule 8 Sect. 1: If the defensive team desires to walk a batter intentionally either the pitcher, catcher or coach may do so by notifying the plate umpire.
When our pitcher got down the order, we noticed that there was a player on the opposition from Division 2 (who also plays at NSL level) and we pitched to him. He smashed it for a home run but as there was no one on base, we got away with conceding only the one run.
We like this player, we have played with him at tournaments and he is a talented hitter but in fairness he’s not a division 3 player therefore we decided to remove the advantage he would give the Outlaws by removing his opportunity to bat. In doing so, we caused visible frustration and a sense of unhappiness within the Outlaws camp as they were claiming this was unfair and we should have let him play.
But it worked.
By walking the NSL player, we minimised the advantage and kept the game tight. Although he wasn’t happy, it did create a fairer game and I explained this decision to the Outlaws after the game and to the player in question; this wasn’t a personal protest against anyone, this was a way of regaining the equilibrium of a fair match by removing the advantage a higher level player gives a team. Its a legal rule in MSL, as is the guesting down therefore I don’t think it should be frowned on, nor should teams be discouraged to use it as it is unsporting. I encourage more teams, especially in div 4 who are facing higher level players to use it.
Anyway, great fielded game and we took our first win of the season.