Say It Ain’t So, Joe Torre: Baseball’s New Rule and the Artists-Writers Game

Say it ain’t so, Joe.

A famous line that will be forever in the minds of true baseball fans. A boy is overheard asking Shoeless Joe Jackson to deny that the Chicago White Sox were involved in rigging the 1919 World Series.

Now, all these decades later, a different Joe, Joe Torre, Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of baseball operations (you might remember him winning four World Series as manager of the New York Yankees) has announced new rules when it comes to collisions at home plate.

Personally, like many baseball purists, I am in an uproar over these changes. And if you don’t think this will affect the East End—think again.

In fact, the recent announcement will most likely trickle down to softball as well. If this is the case, the outcome of a particular softball game could actually be decided by virtue of a ruling at the plate, whereas the catcher was illegally bulldozed.

I won’t bore you with the exact details but basically, runners attempting to cross home plate are no longer allowed to lower their shoulders, push through with hands, elbows or arms, or deviate from the pathway in order to make contact with the catcher. All these would constitute a violation of the rules.

For the last 65 years, the East End has hosted the annual Artists and Writers Charity Softball Game. And it will do so again this summer. For obvious reasons, I support the writers each year.

Clearly this new ruling favors the artists. The reason is simple: Writers are tough from years of chasing stories and beating the streets. Whereas the artists, more often, sit in their studios, sipping lattes and listening to classical music, while they create. Thus, there is little chance an artist will create a scene at the plate.

Do we want the game decided by the insertion of a single rule that disallows a writer from bulldozing the artist at the plate? Hell No.

Please Joe—You’ve written a couple of books, so you are indeed a writer. For the sake of the game and the writers, say it ain’t so.

Note: If any artists take offense to this article, I will gladly meet them in the parking lot behind the offices of Dan’s Papers this Friday ay 4 p.m. No, that won’t work—I‘m actually scheduled for a mani-pedi and an eyebrow wax at that time.

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