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July 01, 2014

Womyn Power!!!!

A female homemaker (but we repeat our ownselves) takes on the entrenched forces of Big Labor and state government and wins big. Some might see this as a huge victory for women - evidence that the distaff half of the human race are not as helpless and powerless as some would have us believe:

Pam Harris, the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case Harris v. Quinn, was watching the news Monday with some of her co-plaintiffs when the announcement came that they had won.

As the verdict was being read, one of the co-plaintiffs whispered into Harris' ear, "It looks like they knocked on the wrong door."

That's probably the one thing that officials with the state of Illinois, the defendant in the case, and the Service Employees International Union, which could lose thousands of members as a result of the ruling, would agree on after Monday's ruling.

Five years ago, Harris was an unpretentious Illinois homemaker with no background in political activism when the SEIU knocked on her front door in an attempt to get her to join the union.

She participates in a state-funded home caregiver program for the mentally disabled that Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, had recently declared eligible for collective bargaining.

She said no, but the state and SEIU refused to take that for an answer. Both assumed that she could be prodded into joining.

What could one woman who needed the program to be able to take care of her developmentally disabled son do, anyway?

Plenty, it turns out. Harris saw the effort as an intrusion and fought it every step of the way. First, she organized the union's defeat in a 2009 mail-in election. Then she challenged the declaration all the way to the Supreme Court.

"This is really cool," Harris told me Monday. "I don’t have to worry — and other families don't have to worry — their homes will become union workplaces."

Her victory, obtained with help from the National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation, means that not only can she not be forced to join a union, but neither can other Illinois home caregivers. Most are individuals caring for disabled family members.

If a homemaker with no prior political experience wins a huge battle that benefits not just women but all families providing home care to a loved one and no one notices, is there any evidence that women can fight their own battles and win (even in our hopelessly sexist/racist/Otherist society)? This seems like an important angle for a media obsessed with telling us we can't even manage our own household finances, much less take on The Patriarchy.

Yet - unexpectedly! - the prevailing "womyn driven" narrative is that those Big Mean Powerful Men over at SCOTUS are making it impossible for ordinary women to obtain birth control at all. Because - wait for it - the legal right to choose/use birth control is meaningless unless we can also force someone else to pay for it, too:

How did women get birth control before President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act? Before Obamacare, a woman could go to a doctor and get birth control. She often had to pay or make a copayment for contraception. But in the 2014 political lexicon, that means she had no access.

On Monday, the Supreme Court issued its 5-4 Hobby Lobby decision, which recognized family-owned corporations' religious right to not offer contraception mandated under the Affordable Care Act in their employee health insurance plans. In her dissenting opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg charged that the ruling would "deny legions of women who do not hold their employers' religious beliefs access to contraceptive coverage that the ACA would otherwise secure."

Women - those poor, pretty, muddle headed little dears - are apparently incapable of budgeting, prioritizing expenses, or managing their money intelligently so that needs come first and luxuries come second. The real irony here is that if we can believe this fact sheet from the Guttmacher Institute the haves and the have-nots appear to have the same access to the number one method of birth control: the Pill.

•Ninety-two percent of at-risk women with incomes of 300% or more of the federal poverty level are currently using contraceptives, compared with 89% among those living at 0–149% of the poverty line

Now it may be that the 0-149% who are near the poverty line are already getting free birth control from the government, but in that case, just what "access problem" is solved by the ACA?

Oh, and the second most widely used, non-permanent method of birth control? Not covered by the ACA at all:

ContraceptiveMethodChoice(Chart).png

It's almost as though posturing and demonstrating "solidarity" with helpless womynkynd were more important to these folks than actually guaranteeing access to birth control.

Posted by Cassandra at July 1, 2014 08:04 AM

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Comments

Tubal ligation not covered by the ACA?

That's the ONE THING that I WOULD be in favor of covering.

Not only does it address the issue of "birth control", but it addresses the social issues of single-parent households, poverty, crime, decline of our cities, welfare, and the horrendous effect on the budget to pay for all of these social programs.

Time for conservatives to confront the libbies with this by introducing an amendment to the ACA. Not only does it effectively end the "war on women" issue, but it threatens the existence of many of the social programs near and dear to the heart of liberals--not to mention reducing the constituency of future Democrats.

Posted by: frequent flyer at July 1, 2014 10:16 AM

Tubal ligation not covered by the ACA?

That's the ONE THING that I WOULD be in favor of covering.

She specified "non-permanent". i.e. male condoms.

Posted by: MikeD at July 1, 2014 10:28 AM

"It's almost as though posturing and demonstrating "solidarity" with helpless womynkynd were more important to these folks than actually guaranteeing access to birth control."

Yup. It's the magic bullet that wins elections every time--at least so far.

Posted by: Capt Mongo at July 1, 2014 10:28 AM

Time for conservatives to confront the libbies with this by introducing an amendment to the ACA.

Yup. And wait for the outrage over attempts to sterilize the less desirable elements in society.

As for the rest of the post, I stand in awe of Ms. Harris. I did not know the backstory on this case - what a remarkable woman.

Posted by: Elise at July 1, 2014 10:57 AM

I was referring to "Oh, and the second most widely used, non-permanent method of birth control? Not covered by the ACA at all:"

"Yup. And wait for the outrage over attempts to sterilize the less desirable elements in society."

No doubt the raving lobbies will bring this up--but if it is VOLUNTARY--the same as any other birth control measure--there can be no issue.

Conservatives should turn the objection on its head--"WHY is the most expensive (and effective) birth control method not covered by Obamacare? WHY are these women being denied this voluntary procedure? Do the DONKS have a "War on Women?"

Here's a short Blazing Saddles line that might be appropriate Perhaps we can turn this to our ADVANTAGE

Posted by: frequent flyer at July 1, 2014 12:59 PM

No doubt the raving lobbies will bring this up--but if it is VOLUNTARY--the same as any other birth control measure--there can be no issue.

I disagree. I watched the Right side of the blogosphere go berserk when one of the original versions of the ACA included Medicare funding so that doctors could be paid if their patients wanted to have completely voluntary discussions about end of life protocol. If the Right side can turn that into "OMG, they want to euthanize old people to save money", the Left side will find it dead easy to turn a *Republican* proposal to fund tubal ligation into more of the war on women/minorities/single/welfare mothers.

This is just confirmation bias: Most people usually hear, see, and believe what they expect to hear, see, and believe. Since most people "know" that Republicans hate women, minorities, and single/welfare mothers, the proposal to cover tubal ligation will fit nicely into the prepared template. The spin will be made easier by the Republicans' loudly trumpeted opposition to ObamaCare: why are they now proposing to expand coverage under a plan they claim to hate unless they have some nefarious purpose for doing so?

Posted by: Elise at July 1, 2014 01:24 PM

I've seen two pieces since last night regarding making oral contraceptives over-the-counter. One piece talked about how this would uncouple the contraceptive issue from insurance, as insurance doesn't cover OTC medicines. And how this would actually increase access to them, as women would no longer have to see a doctor to get them (this ignores the recommended annual pelvic exam that can detect things like cervical cancer and fibroids). I might be anti-contraceptive personally, but I'm not for making them illegal. Just don't make me (or the taxpayer or anyone else) pay for them if you want them.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at July 1, 2014 01:36 PM

Okay, this made me laugh. According to this post at NRO, Hobby Lobby covers 16 different kinds of contraception, including "Female sterilization surgeries".

Posted by: Elise at July 1, 2014 01:46 PM

Look, I love women - so much so that I even married one of them - but I don't necessarily understand them, which, having been informed (repeatedly), is a condition that results from being born with flawed genetic materials, is the fate to which I now am happily resigned. That said, I cannot fathom what pleasure women can possibly derive from tormenting me further with information that is hopelessly beyond my ability to grasp. It's not that I don't want to discuss the relative merits of accenting mid-hued neutral arrangements with a flash of black and gold toile and maybe just a glimpse of copper, very French, when there's 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th inning and we're down by a run with man on second, it's simply that the subject matter so exceeds the capacity of my gray matter that all I can muster in response is a shamefully befuddled: "Too-lee? I once knew a Jack Tooley. GODDAMMIT UMP! THAT WAS A MILE OUTSIDE!!!" He didn't look French, though."

Let's face it, whatever it is that women are thinking, I'm probably not. Thinking. Whatever.

Take the chart above, for instance. It's entitled "Contraceptive Method Choice," and subtitled "Method use among US women who practice contraception, 2010." Almost before my lips have finished moving, my addled brain is already forming an assumption that what is about to follow is information regarding what contraception methods are used by US women who practice contraception. So far, so good.
But almost immediately that assumption is dashed - thrown from its perch by the news that the two methods of contraception chosen most often by US women who practice contraception, after the Pill and female sterilization, are "male condom" (16%) and "vasectomy" (10%). Wait, but I thought... Choose? Who? Huh?

That was enough for me to start feeling a bit tipsy, but the hammer came down hard when I realized that I had completely misunderstood what I'd read! While the use of male condoms and male sterilization by women... are less popular choices ...by women than the Pill and female sterilization, the method of contraception that is most often chosen by US women who practice contraception, 2010 is *drumroll* None.

That's right. Thirty-seven percent of the US women who practice contraception, don't.

All of which really makes my head hurt.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 1, 2014 07:22 PM

One of the things that drives me nuts about the Hobby Lobby case is that the company doesn't object to contraception generally, only to abortifacients like the "morning after" pill. That pill is almost my definition not a method of birth control that anyone uses regularly or in sufficient quantity to make its cost any serious issue. Or at least I hope not.

Hobby Lobby is completely OK with things like IUDs and ordinary birth-control pills.

Posted by: Texan99 at July 1, 2014 08:28 PM

Almost before my lips have finished moving, my addled brain is already forming an assumption that what is about to follow is information regarding what contraception methods are used by US women who practice contraception. So far, so good.
But almost immediately that assumption is dashed - thrown from its perch by the news that the two methods of contraception chosen most often by US women who practice contraception, after the Pill and female sterilization, are "male condom" (16%) and "vasectomy" (10%).

I'm not sure I have a problem with including those methods, though I agree the way the information is present in the title and column headings is weird and confusing. I think just the other day Glenn Reynolds was complaining about some article, the lead in to which was something along the lines of, "We asked couples....". The article then proceeded to quote women (who were apparently the only half of the "couples" consulted).

Asking women anything about couples without asking the men was, apparently, sexism or misandry or something. Jury's still out on whether I'd feel put out if my husband was interviewed about something having to do with couples. I'm thinking not. He doesn't lie, so I think I can trust him to answer for my half of "us" :p

I'm not sure how ones describes a study that asks women if they use contraception and (if so) what method they use? I think it's fairly common for couples to use only one method of birth control betwixt the two of them. I imagine if the Unit had been asked what form of contraception he used, he would have said something like, "Well, my wife had her tubes tied so *I* don't use anything."

If women who didn't personally use any form of contraception because their partner had had a vasectomy answered "None", that would wrongly suggest the number of women who engage in unprotected sex was far higher than it really is.

That's right. Thirty-seven percent of the US women who practice contraception, don't.

Now you've got me wondering how many of those women said "none" because their husbands were the ones using contraception?

I can understand why they included "None" (though that's not a method of contraception) - they wanted the numbers to sum to 100%. But that seems kind of strange too - it implies the categories are mutually exclusive: that if you use one method, you *don't* use any others. That doesn't seem right to me, either.

It is a puzzlement.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 1, 2014 09:46 PM

I have a question for the ladies. Do you find the whole "War on Women" thing condescending?

It seems to assume that all woman want exactly the same thing and the Senators (mostly men) presume to know what that is.

Posted by: Allen at July 1, 2014 11:34 PM

It is a puzzlement.

If you're confused too then it can only mean either 1) there's hope for me, or 2) you're doomed too.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 1, 2014 11:38 PM

I think the "War on Women" is a crock.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at July 2, 2014 01:22 AM

I have a question for the ladies. Do you find the whole "War on Women" thing condescending? It seems to assume that all woman want exactly the same thing and the Senators (mostly men) presume to know what that is.

I presume y'all already know what I think, but so many of my posts on this subject have been facetious that I'll provide a serious answer.

Yes, it's condescending in the sense that these morons think my interests are narrowly aligned with some goofy, plumbing-based solidarity with other women. I don't identify with "women". I identify with my family and community.

What I want (in terms of public policy) is probably influenced in some degree by my being female. That makes sense, because my life experiences are quite different from most men's. Ironically, that's one thing the Left is right about: neither sex is very good at seeing life through the eyes of the other and I truly believe we make better decisions in business and government when women have a voice. But to assume that throwing money/benefits/special privileges at "women as a demographic" is the way to get my vote is just plain stupid as well as deeply insulting.

I have a husband and sons. I have a sense of loyalty to (and love for) my country. Viewing politics as a zero sum game in which women "win" by taking a piece of the pie away from men seems like a race to the proverbial bottom in which everyone loses.

That's not the same as wanting to live in a country where women are graciously "allowed" to compete in the labor market, go to school, own property, and make decisions regarding their own welfare (as opposed to being protected from the harsh realities of life by some sort of Nanny State, or anyone else for that matter).

The rhetoric on women from both sides is deeply disturbing. I think the Left is worse, but am often dismayed by the Right's inability to talk to us as people rather than preaching at us or - bizarrely - presuming to tell us that if we'd all meekly agree to go back to the 1950s, everything would be wonderful and rainbow-hued unicorns would magically fly out of our collective tuckii.

During my lifetime, I've seen an upheaval in the popular consensus about womens' roles in society. Some of it has been wonderful, some very damaging. As usual, the folks who are most capable have thrived: affluent, educated, intelligent women. The least fortunate/capable/affluent are really struggling. But you know what? They have always struggled and by historical standards, "struggling" today is sort of like having won the lottery 100 years ago. First world problems, mostly.

I don't blame all of this on the women's movement - the Right gets a lot wrong on this topic. The welfare state has all but destroyed the black family and is well on its way to destroying many Hispanic and white families. This has its roots in Socialism with a minor assist from feminists who jumped on that bandwagon along with every other identity politics group. I think many of our problems are actually ones of affluence: moral hazard, for instance. I think that's the defining social problem of our time for both men and women.

We've lost the sense of living on the knife's edge between prosperity and disaster. We've grown complacent and sloppy and undisciplined and we're all paying the price. Telling us we shouldn't have to work so hard, that it's unfair that some people have more than others, that society "owes" us rather than the other way 'round: all of this is just wrong.

People can't stumble through life waiting for some external force to give them what they want. The only thing we control is our own responses to life.

Yanno, the real irony (I just don't think about this stuff very often) is that I realized the other day that I was on the Pill in between children. And we paid for it ... and my doctor's visits... out of our own pockets. It never occurred to me to expect someone else to defray the cost of my personal family planning decisions.

The mindset that seriously views women as helpless pawns is utterly incomprehensible to me.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 2, 2014 05:36 AM

"GODDAMMIT UMP! THAT WAS A MILE OUTSIDE!

Yer full of hotdogs! It was on the corner plain as day!
0>;~]

Posted by: DL Sly at July 2, 2014 12:45 PM

Consider the objection withdrawn (5.2%). :-)

Posted by: spd rdr at July 2, 2014 02:11 PM

Too late buddy, you know what arguing balls and strikes gets you these days...that's right...yeerrrr, outta here!
heh
0>:~]

Posted by: DL Sly at July 2, 2014 02:18 PM

Consider the objection withdrawn (5.2%). :-)

SWISH! Nothin' but net :p

Posted by: Cassandra at July 2, 2014 02:46 PM

Ummm...there is no net in baseball, darlin'.
Just, yanno, sayin'.
0>:~}

Posted by: DL Sly at July 2, 2014 03:08 PM

Yer full of hotdogs! It was on the corner plain as day!

It sure was. Wearing fishnet stockings and too much lipstick! But that's a completely different corner than home plate.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 2, 2014 03:15 PM

If it looked anything like the troll on a stripper pole, CAPT Mike may have "seen" her *before*.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at July 2, 2014 03:18 PM

Ummm...there is no net in baseball, darlin'. Just, yanno, sayin'.

Pppphhhhhtttthhhh :p
spd secretly enjoys my mixed sports metaphors. Just don't ask me to explain the infield fly rule - sometime during the last decade, I forgot...

It sure was. Wearing fishnet stockings and too much lipstick! But that's a completely different corner than home plate.

YAG!!!! :) That wins comment of the day, hands down. Which is, like, totally "What s/he said".

Posted by: Cassandra at July 2, 2014 03:31 PM

The infield fly rule? That's easy. Unless you're Sam Holbrook, that is.

Posted by: DL Sly at July 2, 2014 05:42 PM

Huh. Maybe that's why I don't care much for soccer. I mean, I can't think of a single soccer metaphor except "He got a red card," which is really just a lamer way of saying "He got ejected, booted, tossed, kicked out, thrown overboard, slammed, spanked, shuttered, sent to the showers, shown the door, and taken out back and shot." Good thing it's over for another four years.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 2, 2014 10:59 PM

Here, here!

*off to refill the glass*
0>;~]

Posted by: DL Sly at July 3, 2014 01:03 AM

Forgive the, well it's not even a tangent, ...

Sam Holbrook was right.

Like the law, what matters is what the rule actually says not what we think it ought to say.

The infield fly rule says that with runners on 1st and 2nd (or bases loaded) any fly-ball that *can be* caught by an infielder under ordinary effort, the batter is out and the ball is dead. It says nothing about the ball having to land in or even near the location of the infield. The ball could land on the warning track and it wouldn't matter one bit if the shortstop runs out there and camps under it.

Maybe the rule *shouldn't* be written that way, but the umpire isn't there to tell us what the rules ought to be.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 3, 2014 10:03 AM

Sorry, the ball is not dead on an infield fly. Runners can advance at their own risk.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 3, 2014 10:07 AM

I will admit that I Googled "Sam Holbrook" after reading Sly's comment, and from what I read it looked to me as though he made the correct call, too.

"I saw the shortstop go back and get underneath the ball where he would have had ordinary effort and would have caught the baseball, and that's why I called the infield fly," Holbrook said.

Kozma was approximately 90 feet onto the outfield grass when the ball dropped between him and the charging Holliday, and the umpire's arm didn't go up to indicate the infield fly rule until a moment before the ball hit the ground.

"I went back and I was under it, and I called for and just missed it," Kozma said. "I bailed at the last second. I thought [the ruling] was the right call. I am an infielder. I went back and was camped under it. I thought [the umpire] made the call. All I heard was the crowd. I just bailed at last second."

[click my name for link]

I bravely say this even though I hate the Cards guts and livers. But then I don't know nearly as much as YAG about baseket... err...occey :p

Posted by: Cassandra at July 3, 2014 10:29 AM

We'll always disagree on this one, I'm afraid. The rule says under ordinary effort. A 200' fly ball in not an infield fly, I'm sorry, and the effort expended to try and get to that ball, for an infielder, is not ordinary. But, as errors are subjectively judged, this rule is also subjectively applied. As is the transfer rule, the vicinity rule on double plays, etc. etc. etc. No the umps aren't supposed to tell us what the rules are supposed to mean.
But they do.
0>;`]

Posted by: DL Sly at July 3, 2014 11:37 AM

the effort expended to try and get to that ball, for an infielder, is not ordinary

It is when he's camped up under it. It may be extraordinary effort for a 16 year old high school player, but the standard isn't ordinary effort for the average player. It's not even ordinary effort for the average big leaguer. It's that particular player's ordinary effort.

*That* player was camped up under the ball. He got there in plenty of time to make a routine catch. That he *elected* not to do so doesn't turn an easy catch for that player into extraordinary effort for that player.

In fact, the election to not catch a ball is the entire point of the rule. It's also why the batter is ruled immediately out instead letting the play happen and seeing if the defense screws up the play. There's no way to know what would have happened had the ball been caught. (There's no guarantee that a runner would not try to advance on an infield fly; I've seen it happen).

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 3, 2014 12:33 PM

MLB tagged me with an error when I clicked your name. That's my first one of the season! Bastards.

But now that we're all thoroughly in awe of the perfection and beauty that is the infield-fly rule, let us ponder for a moment the sadly under-appreciated grace of its step-sister rule, the dropped third strike.

Rule 6.09 of the Official MLB Rules provides, in relevant part:

The batter becomes a runner when --

(a) He hits a fair ball;

(b) The third strike called by the umpire is not caught [by the catcher], providing (1) first base is unoccupied, or (2) first base is occupied with two out;

So, should a batter with two strikes swing and miss at a pitch, or simply stand there while a pitch in the strike zone whizzes by him, the batter receives his third strike and, thereby, strikes out, unless the catcher fails to catch or drops the ball, in which case the batter still strikes out. However, theperson standing in the batters' box who, as the batter, just struck out, is no longer the batter, because (obviously) the batter just struck out.

Now here's where baseball magic comes into play: If when the catcher drops the third strike there is a runner occupying first base, or there are less than two outs, then the batter is out on strikes, meaning the person in the batter's box must return to the dugout where he is free to throw his helmet and whine about being robbed before resuming his duties of spitting and scratching his private parts. If, however, the catcher drops the third strike when there is no one standing on first base, or if there are two outs, regardless of whether first base is occupied, then and only then does striking out the batter magically transform the person who, as the batter, just struck out, into a runner who must be either tagged out or forced out by stepping on the bag at first base! Why? Because of the infield fly rule, silly!
The dropped third strike rule prevents the catcher from intentionally dropping the third strike so as to force the runner on first to go to second - catcher throws to second, a quick step on the bag and a toss to first, bang-bang double play. Of course, if there's two outs when the catcher drops the ball whether or not there's a runner on first doesn't matter because there's a force play at either first or second fro the final out. If the bases are loaded with two outs when the catcher drops the ball, all he has to do is step on home plate and the runner on third is forced out. Inning over. Pretty neat, eh?
But here's the fun part: The batter who struck out still struck out, whether or not the runner that was that batter reached first base safely. So... a pitcher could record eleventy-seven strikeouts in a single inning and still only have two outs to show for it.

Now tell me that baseball's isn't the fricken' greatest game ever invented.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 3, 2014 01:09 PM

...now that we're all thoroughly in awe of the perfection and beauty that is the infield-fly rule, let us ponder for a moment the sadly under-appreciated grace of its step-sister rule, the dropped third strike. Rule 6.09 of the Official MLB Rules provides...

First the infield fly rule, and now this!!!

I cannot fathom what pleasure you menfolk can possibly derive from tormenting me with information that is hopelessly beyond my ability to grasp :)

Posted by: Cassandra at July 3, 2014 01:55 PM

Because of the infield fly rule, silly!

Yes, and no. Every out requires the defence to have control of the ball. That's why the catcher and not the pitcher is credited with the putout on a strikeout*. He's the one in control of the ball to make the out. If you don't have control, the player cannot be out. This would be true even if the the infield fly rule didn't exist. So it didn't *create* this situation, but they are both responses to the same *type* of problem: defensive players intentionally not making plays to the extreme disadvantage of the offense. A similar rule also exists for intentionally dropping line drives, but due to the speed of the play is only enforced *after* the ball is dropped and does create a dead-ball situation.

*Question: So if the pitcher doesn't get the put-out on a strikeout, does he at least get the Assist?

Answer: No, because shut up you unAmerican soccer lover.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 3, 2014 02:08 PM

Oh, and the exception to the infield fly rule? Bunts.

'Cause if you pop-up a bunt you damn well deserve a double or triple play.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 3, 2014 02:13 PM

I'm sorry, YAG, while your logic is mostly sound, it's a pretty big stretch to say that because that particular player was under the ball, that it constitutes *ordinary effort* for every player under the rule - which is whom the rule was written for: every player of every skill level. Under that rubric, every deep hole throw Andrelton Simmons makes to throw a runner out at first is now defined as ordinary effort by every shortstop who ever plays baseball. But you and I both know they are not.
A 200' fly ball in a ballpark where the left field fence is only 380' away, means that the ball left the infield a long time ago. Ordinary effort is the same as routine, as in plays that are made every day in the game. 200' fly balls are ordinary outfield plays, not infield plays.

Posted by: DL Sly at July 3, 2014 03:32 PM

Fair enough. I'll admit to being completely full of crap about the Infield Fly Rule being the reason for the dropped third strike rule (properly referred to as the "Uncaught Third Strike Rule," as it is not necessary for the catcher to actually "drop" the ball). That I didn't really think that anybody would actually read down that far is hardly a valid excuse, so instead I'll claim that I was afraid that the casual fan might not be able to handle the truth - there is no reason for the uncaught third strike rule! That's right! Zero. Zip. Nada. One day it just showed up, drunk as usual, and its been living in baseball's basement ever since. Sorry to burst your bubbles, folks.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 3, 2014 04:22 PM

I spent a good portion of my yout in England so I grew up with cricket and "football."

Baseball rules? Piffle, if you want to see obscure and eccentric rules, try cricket.

Posted by: Allen at July 3, 2014 05:52 PM

Hi Spd: you are a gift. Please never change.

Hi Princess: more material for the book you oughta publish.

Hi Sly: ftr, one never needs a reason to refill one's Half Full Glass.
. . . and while redundant, no baseball is not the greatest game ever (proudly reclaiming my title as 'most diligently literal')

Hi Allen: I'll wager real money, and more importantly beer, that 'real' football has more formal rules than cricket.

Best Regards,

Posted by: CAPT Mike at July 6, 2014 03:12 AM

Hi Spd: you are a gift. Please never change.

I dunno Capt. Mike. I go away for a few days and spd admits he's completely full of it? Never thought I'd see that happen :p

/running away

Posted by: Cassandra at July 6, 2014 01:05 PM

which is whom the rule was written for: every player of every skill level...

Yes and no.

Yes, it is applied to every player at ever skill level. But no, it is not one standard for every player at every level. Not every player at every level has the same level of "ordinary effort". Andrelton Simmons' ordinary effort is not applied to a Little Leaguer. Nor would it even be applied to every major leaguer. Nor would it even be applied to every major league shortstop. It's only applied to him (and if he were to trip and fall early in the play, it wouldn't even be applied to him anymore).

The infield fly rule is not a rule regulating the normal procedings of the game. It was written to prevent a defensive infielder from abusing the runners. Since runners have to touch their base after the ball is caught they can either stay on the base (in which case the infield elects to not catch the ball and proceeds to force the runners a 3rd and 2nd base) or they can go "halfway" so as to give them a chance to advance (in which case the infield elects to catch the ball and picks them off their bases before they can return). No matter what they choose, it's going to be wrong.

This is necessarily situationally dependent. A 13 year old likely couldn't get even close to the ball and so for that player, on that play, that is not ordinary effort. And no infield fly call would be made. The runners are well aware that the infielder cannot abuse them and they can make their choice given their assesment.

By the same token, just because a 13 year old couldn't make the play, doesn't mean that Andrelton Simmons is allowed to abuse the base runners.

No other player is held to any other player's standard of ordinary effort.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 7, 2014 10:38 AM

This may be the usual sports-related stupidity on my part, but I would have thought that Kozma's reaction pretty much settled the question, no es verdad???

"I went back and I was under it, and I called for and just missed it," Kozma said. "I bailed at the last second. I thought [the ruling] was the right call. I am an infielder. I went back and was camped under it. I thought [the umpire] made the call. All I heard was the crowd. I just bailed at last second."

Posted by: Cassandra at July 7, 2014 10:46 AM

Strickly speaking, since the call was to his advantage he would have a natural conflict of interest. Of course he's going to support the call.

The interesting part to me, however, was "I was under it, and I called for ... it" and "I bailed at the last second". An infield choosing to not make a catch he other would have made is the very reason the rule exists. That doing so didn't actually benefit the defense doesn't matter.

The conflict here is that Sly contends that the infield fly is judged like a force out. A preset standard that every must meet. The person with the ball must touch the bag before the runner does regardless of the position or ability of the players involved. One standard for all ages and abilities.

This, however, is not how the rule was written, not how it was intended, not the problem to be solved, and not how it has ever been applied.

If the rule had intended a set distance from the plate to be considered too far for an infielder's ordinary effort, there would be a chalk line drawn on the field for it.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 7, 2014 11:30 AM

Strickly speaking, since the call was to his advantage he would have a natural conflict of interest. Of course he's going to support the call.

Hmmm... sounds suspiciously like "inside baseball" :p

The interesting part to me, however, was "I was under it, and I called for ... it" and "I bailed at the last second". An infield choosing to not make a catch he other would have made is the very reason the rule exists. That doing so didn't actually benefit the defense doesn't matter.

That was actually the part I found convincing - it's hard to argue that he couldn't have caught it or that he wasn't camped out when the guy says otherwise.

Of course, my Basuboru-Fu is notoriously weak :p

Posted by: Chinese-Japanese Mexican American Lawn Chica at July 7, 2014 11:37 AM

"The infield fly rule is not a rule regulating the normal procedings of the game...."

Yanno, YAG, I'm starting to get seriously insulted. Fwiw, I have been an umpire for baseball for Little League through high school. To do so, I had to go through several different certification schools. Now, granted it has been some time since I last umpired a game, but to my knowledge the rules haven't changed since the game was invented. I know what they are and why they were put there. You and I may disagree on the finer points, as we are here, but I am not some stupid woman when it comes to sports. Please, stop treating me as such.

Posted by: DL Sly at July 7, 2014 12:33 PM

Hey, I apologize if my self-defecating humor created the wrong impression. There's a bit of an inside joke wrt the infield fly rule b/c spd explained it to me back in 2004 during the World Series, and I linked to a long ago World Series thread a while back that was on I Love Jet Noise.

That's where a lot of my jokes are coming from.I don't know anything about baseball because I don't play baseball and my kids didn't play. And my husband didn't play either - he played football, basketball, and rugby. So though he is male, he would be the first to tell anyone that he's still learning about baseball and doesn't know all the fine points.

FWIW, I really didn't get the impression that YAG was suggesting that you don't know anything about baseball b/c you're female, Sly. I don't know how much you know about him, but he played baseball for a living once so it's a topic he's very familiar with and enjoys discussing. I really didn't get the impression at any time that he was putting you down - just disagreeing.

And I think reasonable people *can* disagree here. Certainly the articles I read disagreed, and they were written by people who comment on it for a living.

I'm struggling to understand the nuances, just as I did over a decade ago. I don't feel stupid b/c I'm not stupid - it's just not my area and it never will be.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 7, 2014 12:59 PM

I'm not saying you are stupid, just factually incorrect. And it certainly it has nothing to do with you being a woman. I'm a nerd, remember? Most of the *guys* around me are clueless when it comes to sports. Even their video games aren't sports related. The entire reason I've hung on to this thread this long is because it's so rare to be able to talk to anyone about baseball. I'm sorry you're mad, but I'm absolutely *thrilled*.

BTW, as long as we're pulling out resumes, I've played this game professionally. Most of it behind the plate with all of the tactics and strategy that entails. I couldn't watch baseball games for years after I was released because it was work.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 7, 2014 01:03 PM

I'm not mad, I'm insulted by what seems to be demeaning explanations to rules when it's obvious I know what I'm talking about.
As far as resume's go, the reason why I was not only able, but respected enough by the rest of the men in the room, to umpire in a what was then a "man's world" was because I was the best player (shortstop/third base) in the state for the semi-pro women's version of baseball. Some rules were different, but the game is the game is the game.
FWIW, I'm thrilled to death to be able to talk about the game here, too. I'm just asking for a little respect.

As to being "factually incorrect", well,....
0>;~|

Posted by: DL Sly at July 7, 2014 02:53 PM

I'm not mad, I'm insulted by what seems to be demeaning explanations to rules when it's obvious I know what I'm talking about.

At the risk of pouring gas on the flames, it's not all that obvious to me that anyone "knows what they're talking about" in a way that would cause me to say, "He/she wins, everyone else shut up."

This was a hotly disputed call, but the MLB upheld it and the text of the rule itself states it's up to the ump's judgment and that judgment can't be appealed. And I don't see how anyone can discuss whether the rule was followed without discussing the rule itself, or how the facts apply to the rule (which is germane to whether it was correctly applied in this situation), or the purpose of the rule (which comes in when people have to make a call or interpret events in real time).

Both of you attempted to do that, and I'm not seeing any malicious intent in anyone's comments.

YAG expressed his opinion and explained his reasoning when you told him he was wrong. You did the same and explained yours when he told you that you were wrong. I didn't see any personally demeaning or insulting comments - not when he disagreed with you, or when he disagreed with spd (who - red fishnets notwitstanding - is definitely a man). Now whether spd knows anything about baseball or not...

/boy am I gonna pay for that one :p

Nor did I see any suggestion - even the mildest one - that anyone thinks you are stupid or that women don't know anything about baseball. Except for my stupid jokes, that is - which weren't aimed at you but at myself and my *own* lack of knowledge. I'm sorry if that made it seem as though you were being lumped in with me. But that wasn't going on even in my mind, and I really had no idea what your background was or wasn't wrt baseball.

We now know that both of you have more background than the average commenter. But that knowledge wasn't out there at the beginning of the conversation and I don't see how it would matter, even if it were? You guys would still disagree about this call and there would be very knowledgeable folks on both sides who would agree with one or the other of you.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 7, 2014 04:21 PM

That's pretty cool, but it doesn't really change anything for me. I respect you highly regardless. As you said, the game is the game is the game. A line of argument is a line of argument no matter who makes it. Our respected resumes don't change that.

But the factually incorrect part is that your argument is essentially that the ball's location disqualifies it from the rule. It's too far away to be "ordinary effort". But the comments to the rule specifically bar an arbitrary limitation on location. The examples are the outfield grass or baselines, but those are not exhaustive. When the rule says "thou shalt not use location as a disqualifier" using location as a disqualifier is factually incorrect.

I brought up the purpose of the rule because bringing up Andrelton Simmon's "ordinary effort" and proposing that that would then be the standard to apply to all players everywhere would not serve the purpose of the rule. In fact, it would violate it.

Using Simmon's "ordinary effort" on the high schooler gives the defense a gift: Well, I know *you* couldn't make that catch but Simmons could so we'll give you the out anyway.

Doing the opposite: We'll let Simmons abuse the baserunners all he wants on that ball because a typical high schooler would struggle make that catch.

Neither of these seem particulary relevent to the play at hand.

The only standard that fulfills the purpose of protecting the runners is for that player, on that play.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 7, 2014 04:46 PM

While perhaps worded with less then the entire dictionary, I thought I presented my reason quite clearly. With regard to the rules, I do know them. I'm not blowing smoke out my ass, as my previous comment said when I said that I know what they are and why are there. If it was you took that to mean that I, and only I know what the rules are and nobody else can ever say anything ever, ever, ever, ever, again, well, I'm sorry, but I can't account for that.

Posted by: DL Sly at July 7, 2014 06:07 PM

YAG,
Actually, what I'm disputing isn't the ordinary effort part, although that does, in the end come into play. It's the actual location of the ball on the field, which, at over halfway to the outfield wall, has long left the infield - the name of the rule invoked.
Now, as you've said, the reason for the rule was to make sure an infield defender didn't deliberately let a short pop fly ball - that is still within the confines of the infield - drop to the ground making the force play in effect at their relative bases all the while leaving the offense so unfairly advantaged due to the short nature of the field of play relative to the individual bases and the subsequent impossibility for them to make it to their next base safely. If the location of the ball on the field wasn't relative when they wrote the rule, they would have just called it the pop-fly rule. It's not because when the ball goes a significant distance out into the field, the offense does indeed retain it's ability to advance whether or not the fielder (infielder or outfielder makes no difference) catches the ball. This is especially relevant in the game of baseball today where athletes are so quick and strong.

Posted by: DL Sly at July 7, 2014 06:18 PM

It's the actual location of the ball on the field,

And that's the problem. The rule specifically bars the use of location as a disqualifier.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 8, 2014 04:57 PM

There's an Eric Allie cartoon on the Harris decision you'll probably like.

(I just linked to it in a post.)

Posted by: Jim Miller at July 8, 2014 06:10 PM

"The rule specifically bars the use of location as a disqualifier."

And why MLB made the play a judgement call for the umps.
Both of which, negate the actual reason and logistics for the rule.
pheh
But I loved the debate!
Thanks, YAG.
0>;~]

Posted by: DL Sly at July 12, 2014 12:48 PM

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