May 2007: The Month America Discovered "The Shouting Trick"
I had a professor in college named Ed Movitz. He was a real "tell it like it is" type. During one my friend Kara's group critiques (I went to art school, remember), several professors were discussing one of the artist's works. Evidently, it had some "vaginal" symbolism. The professors kept looping around and around as to whether the piece draws you in or sends you away. Good old Ed Movitz said only, "You're either in or you're out. Let's move on." Though I wasn't there for this moment, Kara relayed it to me and we've used this little jewel of a phrase for the past fourteen years. (It's in the same vein as, "It ain't over 'til it's over," delivered by Olympia Dukakis in Moonstruck. Endless applications.)
Where am I taking this crazy train? To the baseball cheating depot. I guess Jerry Remy and Dick Williams can joke about how "this kind of thing happens all the time" and "you've gotta do whatever it takes to get an edge" regarding A-Rod's deliberate attempt to confuse Toronto's defense by yelling "Mine!" as he ran down the 3rd base line. I've got news for you guys: It's cheating. Would you allow a pitcher to doctor up his ball? Would you allow a hitter to cork his bat? Does Major League Baseball allow the use of illegal steroids? Then why is "confusing the fielders" okay? Would it be alright if A-Rod had thrown a banana peel in the general direction of the ball? Does that happen all the time, Remy? I especially like that "happens all the time" line. So, you mean to tell me that since the dawn of professional ball, these types of shouts have been a routine part of the game, but it wasn't until May of 2007 that a man named Alex Roderiguez was actually caught doing it? Sorry, I don't buy it. Is there a section in the official baseball rule book about what kind of cheating is permitted and what kind of cheating isn't? Here's an angle: if it happens all the time, and a team has to do whatever it takes to get an edge, why, then, don't Alex and the New York Yankee staff proudly admit to it and gush over how "classy" it was? Why? Because it's wrong!
When it comes to cheating in baseball, I say, like Professor Movitz, you're either in or you're out.