Saturday, April 08, 2006

Special Essay - 2006: A First-Quarter Scorecard from Barry Crimmins

Author, political satirist and Air America writer Barry Crimmins has an essay in this weeks edition of the Boston Phoenix.


Schmucks Unlimited

Barry Crimmins, was the founder of The Ding Ho, the legendary comedy club in Inman Square, Cambridge, MA,

Mr. Crimmins was awarded the Peace Leadership Award from Boston Mobilization for Survival, and also been honored, along with Ms. Maya Angelou, with The Courage of Conscience Award from Wellesly College and The Life Experience School at The Peace Abbey in Sherborn, Massachusetts.

Mr. Crimmins has been a featured commentator on CNN, CSPAN, NBC, MSNBC and The Phil Donohue Show and has also appeared in Fran Solimita's 'When Stand Up Stood Out', the critically acclaimed documentary about the Boston Comedy scene.

Visit Barry Crimmins Website

Purchase "Never Shake Hands With A War Criminal"

Visit Seven Stories Press

Friday, April 07, 2006

Libby As Enemy Combatant Unlikely, But Treason Charges Could be Leveled

White House Quiet But Signs Indicate May Mount Offensive Against Libby

Sources Say ‘Everything Is On The Table”, Including Enemy Combatant Status; Rove Working On “Special Smears”

“Well, he can, most likely, kiss his Presidential Pardon away,” offered David Aaronson, editor of 'What Color Is My Coat Today?', the Capital Hill Newsletter that tracks politicians who turn on their own party.

Aaronson is referring to I. Lewis ‘Scooter” Libby and the bombshell news yesterday, released in court documents, that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney authorized Libby to leak classified information to New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

The sensitive intelligence information, contained in the classified National Intelligence Estimate, was used to build-up the case for war against Sadam Hussein, that Iraq sought nuclear material in Niger and rebut former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, who challenged the Administration’s position in an Op-Ed article in the New York Times.

Subsequently, Libby, as well as possibly Special White House Counsel Karl Rove, and others in the Bush Administration, leaked information to Miller, Chicago Sun-Times Syndicated Columnist Robert Novak, and Time Magazine reporter Matthew Cooper, that Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame was a covert CIA Agent.

President Bush has consistently and steadfastly, criticized leaks of classified information, most notably, over his NSA Wiretapping, or what that White House calls Terrorist Surveillance Program, and the disclosure of CIA “Black Hole” prisons.

With the release of the court papers, detailing Libby’s testimony to the Grand Jury, regarding his charges of lying and obstruction of justice, placing the President and Vice President directly involved in the political and public relations campaign against a critic of the Administration, there has been an explosion of media, across television and blogs, hurling charges of “hypocrite” and “Leaker-in-Chief” at the President.

White House At Full Throttle; Bush On Libby: “He’s Clearly Against Us”

The White House has said little, citing their policy of not commenting on on-going court cases.

However, sources have told The Garlic, that, behind the scene, it’s been “all-hands-on-deck’, to deal with the Libby charges.

“The West Wing is in fourth gear, full-throttle on damage control,” said a Capital Hill veteran.

There has been an unconfirmed report, of President Bush arguing with Communication Director Dan Bartlett, with the President being heard saying “but he is clearly not with us ... He’s against us and we need to deal with that.”

Also unconfirmed is that the White House has known for months about Libby’s testimony, having conducted surveillance on Libby, and his lawyers.

“It was rather curious timing yesterday,” said Sonny Earl, editor of a Supreme Court newsletter that monitors the court's activities, 'OMIB" ('The Original Men In Black'), “of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales telling the House Judiciary Committee, on the question of wiretapping communications between Americans, that happens in the United States, without a warrant, that "I'm not going to rule it out."

Cheney “Livid” and Rove Working On Special Smears

One White House staffer, with the need to speak anonymously, indicated that Vice President Dick Cheney was “livid” when the news broke yesterday.

“He erupted,” said the source. “He started rampaging around the office, breaking furniture, smashing things against the wall, cursing Libby ... It took Addington and three Secret Service guys to wrestle him to the floor and calm him down.”

Cheney, according to the source, shouted at one point about getting his shotgun and “shooting Libby’s balls off.”

Numerous sources have told The Garlic that Karl Rove, possibly from direct order of the President, is to work up a batch of “special smears’, aimed directly at Scooter Libby, and his lawyers.

“If they let Rove loose on him,” said one person, inside the White House, “man, it’s going to go to Defcon 5 on the nastiness scale. There’s not much love lost between the West Wing and the VP’s office.”

Libby As Enemy Combatant Unlikely, But Treason Charges Could be Leveled

The activity in the White House appears to be completely focused on how to handle the Libby allegations. The White House Iraq Group is meeting to sift through their records and notes, to find anything that can damage Libby’s credibility.

WHIG could provide some good dirt for them to use against Libby,” said Aaronson. “You’d have a whole batch of unfiltered comments and notes that could be massaged to read that everything is Libby’s fault.”

They’re looking at everything, according to Aaronson. “Brainstorming, looking through files, you name it, they’re considering it.”

Aaronson indicated that Justice Department lawyers were seen entering the West Wing, and not leaving until nearly three-hours later.

“Our reporters are telling us, from their sources in Justice, “ offered Aaronson, “that the President asked to examine charging Libby with being an “enemy combatant” and taking him completely out-of-play. Gonzales, reportedly, would back the President on such a move, but the long-time staffers, the career lawyers there, are casting serious doubts making the case for such a designation.”

“They may,” added Aaronson, “just tweak some things to throw treason charges at him.”

“Hell, they did just about everything except slip a few nuclear warheads into Saddam’s coat pocket”

“Look,” said Aaronson, “It’s obvious to just about everybody, except the Administration and their supporters, that the pre-war intel was manipulated to boost their script for taking Iraq ... Hell, they did just about everything except slip a few nuclear warheads into Saddam’s coat pocket ... And now you have Scooter Libby, seemingly, giving credence to that.”

Aaronson says this could all be “another smoke and mirrors” maneuver by the White House.

“With this Administration, and their history for, shall we say, distorting the facts, is Libby talking out of school? Or, is this part of a calculated defense - with the participation of the White House?”

Hypocrite or Leaker-in-Chief? President Bush is said to be in favor of designating Scooter Libby as an "enemy combatant" in an effort to prevent further disclosures of the White House's campaign to silence war critics

Top Ten Cloves: Things White House Will Say To Claim President Didn’t Leak Classified Information

News Item: Leaker-in-Chief?

10. Thought they were discussing classified ads in Washington Post

9. We think this occurred before we ran the Ethics classes, so you can’t really count this one

8. The day VP Cheney came to him, thought he was signing his lunch order

7. You’re kidding, right? Most days, President can’t find the pen on his desk, let alone declassify a document

6. It’s the liberal media again, not reporting on the good things happening in the White House

5. Expanding probe of former aide Claude Allen, that he might have done more then just shoplift

4. Couldn’t have done it when they said it was done; President was talking with Higher Power all day that day

3. If it’s not in Bob Woodward’s book , then it didn’t happen

2. Its all Andy Card’s fault, that’s why we pushed him out

1. As soon as Senator Mitchell finishes his Baseball Steroids Investigation, we’ll hire him to look into this matter

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Look What They're Saying!

Readers Write In On Baseball Piece

We don’t, as a rule, toot our own horn here on The Garlic. However, the calls, emails and letters have been flying in since we posted “Could You Please Tell Me, What Is This Thing Called Baseball?


Here’s a small sample of what we’ve received.

“This is a great article – especially since it doesn’t mention me.”
Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants


“I haven’t had time to read the complete article yet. It’s been a very busy period, getting the Mitchell Investigation into steroids off the ground, but as soon as things calm down, I’ve got it bookmarked to read.”
Bud Selig, Commissioner, Major League Baseball

P.S. Let me know if you want someone from our Rules Committee to help you out with the Infield Fly Rule question


“While we have had some difficulties in forming a unified Government, I can tell you, everyone here – Sunnis, Shiite and Kurds all loved Could You Please Tell Me, What Is This Thing Called Baseball?
Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Prime Minister, Iraq


“As you may know, I had to make a pretty big decision this past weekend and your baseball piece really helped chill me out and relax – Thanks!”
Katie Couric , NBC Today Show ... CBS Evening News


“After reading ‘Could You Please Tell Me, What Is This Thing Called Baseball?’, I wish now, that Abramoff had taken us to a baseball game, instead of golfing.”
Tom DeLay, Former Majority House Leader, U.S. Congress


I took some time off from spying on K.T. McFarland and read ‘Could You Please Tell Me, What Is This Thing Called Baseball?’ – Great stuff!”
Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senator


“While I enjoyed reading your ‘Could You Please Tell Me, What Is This Thing Called Baseball?’, I fear it could fuel an upswing in illegal immigration, unless this government starts protecting our borders.”
Lou Dobbs, CNN


“Nice article. I hope it motivates the media to actually go and report the good things that are happening at ballparks, and not just sit in their hotel rooms and watching it on television, writing about all the errors that are committed.”
Laura Ingraham, Conservative Radio Host


Great piece! I’d like to ask if I can record ‘Could You Please Tell Me, What Is This Thing Called Baseball?’ for my next Spoken Word project?”
Barack Obama, Senator, U.S. Senate


Since I quit South Park, they’ve kept a pretty tight leash on me ... What I watch, what I read, what I eat ... But I was able to sneak on line and read ‘Could You Please Tell Me, What Is This Thing Called Baseball?’ ...Man, you are one, bad mother ... “
Isaac Hayes, Singer/Composer and, formerly the voice of Chef


Read it yourself

Could You Please Tell Me, What Is This Thing Called Baseball?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

DeLay, the Lobbyist?

DeLay Resignation Clears Way For Medal of Freedom Award


To Scold Wayward Republicans, President To Conduct Ceremony In Full Session

Within hours of his resignation announcement last night, the White House said that President Bush will bestow to former House Leader, Representative Tom DeLay, a former pest exterminator, the Congressional Medal of Freedom Award, for “years’ of dedicated service to the country.”

“Tom DeLay is what is good about America,” the President said in a statement released. “His passion and dedication to the Congress has made our country stronger, and safer. He has unselfishly shared his good will and experience to build up the institution of the Congress to be a beacon of democracy.”

There’s A New Hammer In Town

Under DeLay’s leadership, beginning with the Republican Revolution of 1994, when he wrested the leadership post away from Revolution Leader Representative Newt Gingrich choice (Rep. Robert S. Walker (Pa.), DeLay ruled with an iron hand, whipping the House Republicans into blind loyalty, and earning the nickname, “The Hammer”.

DeLay, with his “take no prisoner” style of ruling, is also credited with building up Washington’s K Street Lobbying industry, turning it into a Republican money machine.

DeLay forced lobbying firms to hire former Republican politicians and staffers, often doling out legislative favors. For firms that crossed DeLay, or hired and gave money to Democrats, DeLay punished them, stalling or killing off in committee any of their legislative efforts.

Cloud of Controversy and Indictments Still Hover

DeLay, whose resignation from Congress comes on the heels of his former deputy chief of staff, Tony Rudy, pleading guilty to conspiracy and corruption charges. Rudy told federal prosecutors that criminal activity was run out of House Leader DeLay’s Congressional office, placing the Jack Abramoff scandal directly next to the, now, former Representative.

Another DeLay staffer, Michael Scanlon, his former press secretary, has also pleaded guilty in the Abramoff Scandal. DeLay once said of Scanlon that he is "one of my closest and dearest friends."

DeLay also continues to face indictment in Texas, for money laundering and campaign finance violations, which forced him to relinquish his House Leadership post.

In an interview with Time Magazine, published on their website last evening, DeLay said that he wasn’t doing this for himself, but for his district in Texas.

"This had become a referendum on me," he told Time. "So it's better for me to step aside and let it be a referendum on ideas, Republican values and what's important for this district."

President Still Bristling At Republicans, Will Present DeLay Medal In Full Session

Still bristling from the Congressional rebuke of his Dubai Ports World Deal, sources close to the White House tell The Garlic that President Bush is planning on presenting the Medal of Freedom Award in a full session of the Congress – both the House and Senate – to send a message to the wayward Republicans.

“It obvious the DeLay told the President before the news broke,” said David Aaronson, editor of 'What Color Is My Coat Today?’ the Capital Hill Newsletter that tracks politicians who turn on their own party. “But it’s hard to say whose idea it was to give “The Hammer” the medal – was it the President? Cheney? Or maybe, this has the fingerprints of the new guy, Joshua Bolton.”

Ann Mitchell, veteran Capital Hill journalist, sees this as an “exit gesture” from Andy Card .

“This has Andy written all over it,” offered Mitchell. “This is big-stage marketing and that was Andy’s department.”

Awarding the Medal of Freedom to a controversial figure is not new for President Bush.

Back in 2004, President Bush awarded the Medal of Freedom to former CIA Director George Tenet, retired Gen. Tommy Franks and former Iraqi administrator L. Paul Bremer, saying "This honor goes to three men who have played pivotal roles in great events, and whose efforts have made our country more secure and advanced the cause of human liberty."

Both, at the time of receiving the medals, and since, all three recipients have been heavily criticized for their errors, misrepresentations and inept handling of situations regarding the War in Iraq.

“Standard operating procedure for the Administration,” said Aaronson. “The more you screw up, the more likely you are to be promoted or commended.”

DeLay, the Lobbyist?

Delay, upon hearing the news last evening, said he was touched by the President’s gesture.

“Boy, this is really something ... I couldn’t buy this with all of Abramoff’s money. I’m going to be able to leverage this big-time.”

DeLay said that he is not sure of what is next move will be, first taking some time off to “reflect on some things” and evaluate opportunities.

Along with spending more time with the new “War on Christianity”, the former House Leader said he expects he will keep his financial interest in the K Street projects.

He said he hasn’t ruled out becoming a lobbyist himself and using his experience, and his strong-arm techniques, to bring religion and government closer together.
“Wouldn’t that kick up some dust,” said DeLay.











President Bush is planning on awarding former House Leader Tom Delay the Congressional Medal of Freedom Award, saying in a statement today that "Tom DeLay is what is good about America"

Top Ten Cloves: Things To Look Forward To When Katie Couric Takes Over As CBS News Anchor

News Item: CBS Prepares to Land a New Anchor

10. New programming – CSI: Katie Couric, Crime Reporter!

9. Lots of George Clooney news features

8. Special “Where In The World Is Katie Couric” for the Sweeps Week

7. With boyfriend being co-owner, exclusive Boston Red Sox highlights

6. The first “A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney”, which will start off with “When I started out, only men delivered the news ...”

5. Changing of CBS logo, adding an eyelash to it

4. A juicy age and sex discrimination lawsuit filed by Bob Schieffer

3. On Fridays, In-Studio segment with Mister Gadget

2. New feud with David Letterman, after he runs “Look What Katie Said This Week” segment

1. Moving CBS News to 7AM-9AM timeslot

Monday, April 03, 2006

No Special Precautions For President

White House Chides Media Again; Calls For “Better Daylight Saving Time” Stories

McClellan Urges Press to “venture out of your hotel rooms, get off the balconies”; No Tie To VP Shooting

After admitting that clocks in the Oval Office, and other rooms, were not moved forward one hour, to convert to Daylight Saving Time, the White House lashed out at the media, citing the negative stories over the time change and called for them to “show the positive side.”

“There’s hundreds, more likely, thousands of good, wholesome stories,” said an agitated White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. “I think it would be wise if you ventured out of your hotel rooms, get off the balconies, and sought out some of these positive stories.

McClellan took issue with a number of media reports, detailing a confused White House, with aides showing up an hour early for meetings on Sunday, and, a few cases, clocks being set two-hours ahead due to lack of communication that they had already been adjusted.

‘The President was never in danger,” said McClellan, “He was completely aware of the correct time of day, throughout the day. He was just an Average Joe, who had to adjust his own watch and desk clock”

Sources close to the White House have told The Garlic that special precautions were taken with the President.

Aides were said to be worried, being that President Bush signed a law, that goes into effect in 2007 that changes Daylight Saving Time, he may get confused and think that it was to begin this year.

President Bush has signed a law changing the dates of daylight-saving time. Beginning next year, The Energy Policy Act will extend Daylight Saving Time, beginning the second Sunday of March, and will end on the first Sunday of November.

No Special Precautions For President; No Talks With VP To Change Hunting Trip

McClellan specifically refuted two media stories, which he labeled as “irresponsible” that President Bush was kept up until 2AM, so he could witness the clocks being changed.

“I can assure you,” said McClellan, “that the President had been long asleep and was not kept awake.”

The other story had the White House lobbying the Vice President’s office, nearly three-months ago, for Mr. Cheney to put off his hunting trip to Texas back in February, seeking to have him reschedule it for Daylight Saving Time.

McClellan denied the report.

“We had no such conservations with the Vice President,” McClellan offered tersely. “While there are certain advantages to hunting during Daylight Savings Time, such as longer daylight, better sight and vision, the Vice President’s accidental shooting of Harry Worthington was not at all related to Daylight Standard Time, or any other lighting issue.”

Ingraham: Stories Out There; Cavuto – Is It Worth Still Having A Free Press?

Radio Host Laura Ingraham joined the White House in blasting the media, saying that she was “out, talking to people” all day.

“I got some wonderful stories,” said Ingraham. “Really positive, heartwarming stories, of people helping each other with their clocks ... Making sure their neighbors, or elderly people, were up at the right time ... A group of young children offering to change people’s VCR clocks, which everybody knows is a real pain. All these stories were out there, but when you have a left-leaning, anti-war, President-bashing press corp. ...”

“Where was the “Today” show?,” Ingraham continued. “Where was Matt Lauer? What world was he in? The stories are out there.”

Ingraham’s comments came during an appearance on “Your World With Neil Cavuto”, on the Fox News Network.

Cavuto has hosting a segment of his show, titled “Do We Still Need To Have A Free Press?”












The White House is denying that they lobbied Vice President Dick Cheney to postpone is hunting trip until Daylight Saving Time, for the purpose of having better and longer light

Top Ten Cloves: Things About ESPN Televising Dominoes Events

News Item: After Luck With Poker, ESPN Bets on New York Dominoes

10. Hoping the can pull some of the audience from the Truck Pulling, and Log Rolling programs

9. Because of school budge cutbacks, and the “No Child Left Behind” policy, not sure younger audience will be able to count the dominoes

8. Huge racial debate over to use white dominoes with black dots or black dominoes with white dots

7. Three words, big money – Celebrity Athlete Dominoes!

6. Working on deal, to boost ratings, with WWF, to allow “Designated Slammers”, to slap down dominoes with a flourish

5. Some fear that, after seeing show, U.S. Military at Abu Ghraib will begin using Iraqi prisoners as “human dominoes”

4. Four words, even bigger money - Celebrity Athlete’s Pets Dominoes!

3. May get Regis Philbin to host and set it up that players have “Lifeline”, to call friend for advice on which dominoes to lay down

2. Hard sell – People are used to seeing dominoes, set standing up, in elaborate patterns, to be knocked down with a bell rung or matching lighting at the end

1. Whole new crop of Sports Center commercials to come out of this – Two laconic anchors blowing off newscast to finish game ... Anchor having hard time learning to trash talk in Spanish ... Anchors wearing “dominoes-style suits and preening around ...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Special Essay - Play Ball! ... Batter Up!

Could You Please Tell Me, What Is This Thing Called Baseball?

base-ball ( bays-ball ) n. 1. a team game played with a bat and a
ball on a field with four bases arranged in a diamond and in which
runs are scored by hitting a ball, getting walks, etc. and circling the bases ...

Oxford American Dictionary

It’s been awhile but you still know Ty Cobb’s lifetime average with runners on base and two outs. You can still rattle-off everybody Mickey Mantle tagged for a homerun. Challenged to recite the entire squad of the 1963 Cleveland Indians? No problemo! But all that goes out the window the moment some well-intentioned visitor from some new Russian republic turns to you in a bar and asks; “Could you please tell me, what is this thing called baseball?”

Go ahead, tell’em. A definition out of a book doesn’t quite nail it, does it? After all, you know that baseball is played on a field, but, inside a stadium, park or dome. The field has an infield, outfield and opposite field. Some have short fences and all have power alleys. One even has a green monster lurking about. Then there’s this business about a diamond but it would be best to move on from these last two items.








All pitchers will tell you that they have stuff

The man that throws the ball is called a pitcher. You have different kinds of pitchers – starting pitchers and relief pitchers. A starting pitcher will pitch for as long and and as well as he can. If he doesn’t have his stuff (all pitchers will tell you that they have stuff) and can’t finish the game, a relief pitcher is brought in.

There are various breeds of relief pitchers. You have long relievers and short relievers. The title refers not to their size but to the length of time that they pitch. After all, you have long relievers that are short and short relievers that are tall.

Sometimes a relief pitcher will do so well (he’ll have his stuff) that he gets credit with the win.Other times (not having his stuff) he’ll get pinned with the loss. On some occasions, he’ll only get a save, with the win going to the starting pitcher who didn’t have his stuff and couldn’t finish the game, thus being relieved. It even happens that relief pitchers get relieved by other relief pitchers.

Some pitchers (remember, he can be a starter or reliever, long or short) will wind up before they pitch. Other will deliver it from a stretch. They can throw sinkers, sliders, spitters, knucklers, curves, screwballs and change-ups. Some are plain fastballers, others sneaky lowballers. A few are outright screwballs, but we digress.

They’ll put a little on it or take a little off it. Hum it right in there or just let it fly. They’ll get ahead of the hitter (the man with the bat - more on him shortly) or behind him. Some will brush’em back while others move it around. A chosen few defy science and throw heat or smoke and just about every pitcher can throw junk (but it has nothing to do with items from his attic, or spring cleaning). All this stuff is part of the “stuff thing”, so you do want to mention it.

Baseball pays a tribute of sorts to the Spanish in that all the stadium, parks and domes have a bullpen. But they don’t keep bulls in it - they put pitchers there. All the pitchers except the one that is pitching (which, if you’ve read carefully, can be a starting pitcher or relief pitcher, long or short). The pitcher pitching gets to sit in the dugout with the rest of the team. It’s been this way for years so apparently the pitchers don’t mind it.











All hitters will tell you they have a good eye at the plate.

Now, the man with the bat is called the batter or hitter. His object is to reach base. He does this by stepping up to the plate (well, it’s not really a plate as you or I know it) and standing in the box. The on-deck hitter - the man batting next - gets to stand or kneel in a circle.

The hitter has an affinity with the plate, in that he will protect it at all times. And like pitchers with their stuff (starters or relievers, long or short), all hitters will tell you they have a good eye at the plate.

The hitter (using his good eye) can reach base by sending it up the middle or by waiting for his pitch. Some just swing away. They can hit long flies or slow rollers. Drill it to right or rap one to left. They can give it a ride or hit it in the hole. Some hit if off their wrists, others break their wrists trying to hit it (but he’ll invariably try to say that he didn’t go around).

In certain situations, the hitter will get the green light. Sometimes they go after bad balls or they’ll just pull up and check their swing (it’s the pitcher and that “stuff thing” again). If a hitter doesn’t like a pitch, he can fight it off - or sit back and take it. He can receive a walk but he might score a run.

Some hitters will choke-up on the bat. Others will choke at the plate (not having a good eye ). There are hitters who get their sports confused and will golf one. Or they’ll see basketballs coming in at them (but this last one isn’t confusing, it’s good, it means he’s in a groove, that he has a very good eye).

All you have to do is sit on a fastball

As with pitchers, you also have a variety of hitters. There’s pinch-hitters, designated hitters, switch-hitters, contact-hitters and clutch-hitters. A few are known strictly as homerun-hitters but anybody can hit a homerun - all you have to do is sit on a fastball. Some are referred to as just plain sluggers or power-hitters. There’s also the on-deck hitter but he doesn’t become whatever type of hitter he is until he leaves the circle and steps into the box.

While the object of the hitter is to reach base, he doesn’t always make it (if he does it two times out of ten, he’s considered good; three times out of ten and he’s great - go figure). He can pop out, fly out, ground out, foul out or strike out . Some go down swinging, other get caught looking (trying to take too many pitches from the pitcher - starter or reliever, long or short).

The hitter can also be called out but that’s pretty much the same as getting caught looking. Or he can be knocked out. He gets knocked out by getting caught looking or by getting hit with a pitch. If he gets hit by a pitch, he may have to go to the hospital for treatment.

If he doesn’t go to the hospital, he gets to go to first base. The pitcher can also be knocked out (but he doesn’t get to go to first base, only hitters do). Hitters are always trying to knock out pitchers. When a pitchers gets knocked out (not having his stuff, letting a hitter hit too many of his pitches - maybe even getting his pitches knocked out of the stadium, park or dome), he usually goes straight to the showers (although, on rare occasions, he may also have to go to the hospital). Then a relief pitcher is brought in, long or short.

Sometimes a hitter will hit the ball and still make an out. There are times when a hitter will want to make to make an out. That’s called a “sacrifice” He’ll only want to do that (some don’t want to do it at all) when another hitter has already reached base and can advance to another base.

If a hitter ever tries to sacrifice without another hitter on base, well, his coaches will hang him out to dry. At times, a hitter will procrastinate on a pitch and get hung up. However, he’ll always try to hang in there. The pitcher also tries to hang in there but sometimes he’ll hang one over.

When the hitter hits the ball, the fielders (more on them coming) will try to hang on to it. Fans will encourage a hitter to hang in there but if they don’t like the way he is hitting (not having a good eye at the plate), they’ll scream for him to hang it up. A close game is often described as a cliffhanger.

A hitter can hang in there by fouling one off or fouling it upstairs. He can also foul it out of play, foul it back, chop it foul or pop it foul. Sometimes the ball just drops foul. There are times when a hitter will foul out. If a pitcher (starter or reliever, long or short) throws a spitter, you’ll see the hitter cry foul. The umpires, the men in dark suits who stand behind the bases and enforce the rules, take a lot of foul abuse from players and fans, who holler foul when they don’t agree with the umpire’s decision. Foul weather will cancel a game, putting everybody in a foul mood.












A utility fielder can play both the infield and outfield, but not at the same time.

The area of fielding is less complicated then pitching or hitting. The infield (or diamond, if you will) consists of a first baseman, second baseman, third baseman and shortstop. No, it’s not a size issue. The shortstop (he can be tall or short) plays the hole between second and third base.

There’s no fourth base, per se. That’s called home plate, which we already know isn’t really a plate. The catcher plays home plate. He catches the ball thrown by the pitcher (starter or reliever, long or short). While both the pitcher and catcher are in the infield, they’re generally not referred to as infielders. They’re known as a battery, which has nothing to do with batting or a perpetually-moving, drum-banging rabbit.

In the outfield, you have a right fielder, leftfielder and centerfielder. There is no opposite fielder. The three outfielders are expected to cover the opposite field - wherever that may be based on who’s at bat. You also have utility fielders and, no, there isn’t a utility field. A utility fielder can play both the infield and outfield, but not at the same time.

There’s a good deal of running in baseball

You may also want to mention to your friend that there’s a good deal of running in baseball. Teams run out onto the field to start the game. When a hitter hits the ball, he runs to first base, where, if he makes it safely (not being thrown out or gunned down by one of the fielders, in or out), he stops being a hitter and is now a base runner.

He may attempt to go for extra bases but he may get caught in a rundown. Or maybe the fielder (in or out) will make a running catch. In either case, there may be a dispute which will cause the manager to come running out of the dugout and have a run-in with the umpire (this is one of those times that the umpire may take that foul abuse we talked about earlier). There’ll be occasions when the base runner is replaced by a pinch runner.

Late in the season - often too late – teams will make a run for the pennant.

Unlike the rest of society, baseball allows stealing. No, not money or personal property but bases.Lots of them! The more the base runner (or pinch runner, if you will) can steal, the better his team can do. Signs too (no, not billboards, “For Rent placards or “No parking” notices) but how a catcher wants a pitcher (starter or reliever, long or short) to pitch to a certain batter - depending on what type of hitter the batter happens to be. It’s all part of the game but be sure to tell your friend that, if he ever goes to a game (inside a stadium, park or dome), that he can’t do any stealing. Only the players (and some people may tell you the owners as well) can.

We’ve almost failed to mention that there are two kinds of baseball - Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball. Everybody in the Minor Leagues wants to be up in the big show, the Majors. Nobody in the Majors wants to be in the Minors (Minor League Baseball is pretty much played in parks or on fields - not in stadiums or domes).

Wait, we nearly forgot - there’s the Infield Fly Rule. Now, it’s common knowledge that the Infield Fly rule is applicable when ...

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Copyright J. Thomas Duffy
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Garlic Poll Results

The Garlic's Weekly Poll March 26 - April 1 2006

The votes have been cast ... All the barely marked, bent ballots and hanging chads have been examined...

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A TIVO Error Code 28%

A 10-Year-Old Rap Artist (also known as Lil’ P-Nac) 8%

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