What does a coach tell his team when they’re down 65-0 in the third inning of a varsity high school baseball game? Top five choices:
“OK guys, be selective up there, ’cause (squeaky voice) we need a few baserunners.”
“Suicide is not the answer, Jenkins! (snatches away Spin Doctors CD).”
“If we start the tunnel behind the bat rack and take turns digging, we can be in the cafeteria in a couple of hours.”
“Fellas, I just wanted to announce that I no longer believe in a loving merciful God.”
“Oh tasty booze, come and save me now!”
It happened in Pataskala, Ohio, earlier this month, where Licking Heights High School’s varsity beat Harvest Prep, 65-0, in just three innings. Yes, the league has a mercy rule, but mercy does not kick in there until four complete innings have been played and a team is up by 10 runs or more.
Before that could happen, the Hornets had collected 48 hits, 13 walks and (yikes) 11 hit batsmen. They scored 31 runs in the third. This also happened:
“We didn’t run on passed balls; we didn’t take extra bases or any of those kinds of things,” [Licking Heights coach Jeff] Boyer said. “I even asked the umpire, ‘What do you want us to do?’
“I asked if he wanted us to bunt and step on the plate, and he said he didn’t want it to be a travesty of a game. And I’m thinking, ‘We’re already there.’ “
It would have been more, but the game was called after the third inning due to darkness.
So this can serve as a good political science exercise for the kids. Should the game have been halted when it got to, say, 30-0, thus imitating government regulation? Or should they have let it run its course — i.e., let the free market decide? Discuss. Turn in your answers by Friday.