Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Thank You, Larry Walker

photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

As Team Mexico and Team Canada engaged in a ninth inning brawl in today’s World Baseball Classic action, there was a baseball legend that may have saved the Dodger season from disaster.  Larry Walker took hold of Adrian Gonzalez and kept him out of the fray.

Jeff Passan tweeted that Walker’s message to Adrian as he held him back from brawling was simple: “You’re too important to the game!”  

It was a classy act and important move by the future hall of famer.  Walker, who was a Dodger nemesis for years, may have played a pivotal role in keeping the Dodger star from doing something stupid that could have had a disastrous affect on the 2013 season.  When emotions prevail, all common sense seems to go out the window and it was nice to see that someone in the melee had the big picture in mind when very few were thinking clearly.

After the game, Walker had this to say in an interview with Jeff Passan of Yahoo sports:

“I grabbed Adrian. I said, ‘Listen, stay away.’ I told him later, ‘You're too important to the game of baseball to be jumping in here and doing something stupid.’ So I grabbed him. Then I let him go and grabbed somebody else.”


The World Baseball Classic has been entertaining to me.  Much more than I thought it would be.  However, the rule in place that makes run differential a tie breaker has caused bad blood in the tournament.  Today’s Mexico-Canada brawl wouldn’t have occurred had that tie breaking rule been in place.  It forces teams to run up the score and foments poor sportsmanship.

There are those that are extremely critical of Mexico, but putting myself in their shoes, I would have been ticked off too.  Bunting to lead off the 9th inning with a 6 run lead just seems bush league to me.  I understand that Canada got pummeled the day before against Italy and that they needed to put runs on the board, (BLAME ITALY!!) but still.  It didn’t sit well with me what they did.

Emotions were running high.  Nationalistic pride was on the line.  Nobody likes to lose and be embarrassed like that.  I’m not promoting hitting batsmen and after the one brushback, Mexico had sent it’s message.  It should have been over and done with.  Too bad things regressed as they did.

What I propose as a tie breaker with teams with identical records would be similar to what the WBC does in prolonged games.  Have the tied teams play off against each other in shortened games.  Start an inning with a runner on second base for each team, in an attempt to promote scoring.  It’s baseball’s equivalent of the college football OT rule that gives each team a shot at the end zone from the 25 or 30 yard line, (I forget which one it is).  And if there's a three team tie? Call me crazy, but maybe they can play a three way game.  The way the Dodgers,Yankees and Giants did a 1944 exhibition game played at the Polo Grounds to raise money for the war effort.   Over 50,000 fans attended.

Program from the 1944 Dodgers/Yankees/Giants exhibition game, played on June 26, 1944.

The setup for the three-way nine inning game went like this:  The Dodgers and Yankees played the first inning while the Giants sat out; the Dodgers and Giants played the second inning while the Yankees sat out; the Yankees and Giants played the third inning while the Dodgers sat out.  The same order continued to the game's end.  

The game was a three hour affair, (much shorter than today's two team games).  The final line score looked like this:

                    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    R    H    E
Dodgers     1   2    X    0    0    X    0    2    X     5    9    1
Yankees     0   X    0    0    X    0    0    X    1     1    4    0
Giants         X   0    0    X    0    0    X    0     0    0    2    2


I know this is silly to mention, but since I'm throwing crazy stuff out there.  A discussion of tie-breaking situations solved on the diamond reminds me of a scenario that played out in my slow-pitch softball league about 10-12 years ago.  The team I played on that represented my workplace was in a tie game that went into extra innings.

The league rules were that when extra innings were played, each offensive team would start the inning with a man on second base and one out.  We scored in the top of the inning one run, but as we were about to start the bottom of the inning, there was a power failure and we couldn’t continue because of darkness.   They called each team back the next night to finish the game.  I was the pitcher and I tossed one pitch which was a line shot back up the middle.  In a lucky break, I snagged it, turned and we doubled off the runner at second base.  Game over!  It was officially the shortest game in history.

We ran off the field and somebody yelled, “It’s Miller time!”  Funny scene.  Ten years later we still laugh about that one pitch game.


  1. It is dumb but it is in place. Canada lost to Italy 14-4 so had a -10 going into the game. They beat Mexico 10-3 so their run differential fell to -3. Three more runs and they would have been back at 0. They play the US and reason suggests don't have a hope against them but neither did Mexico. But for argument's sake let's say Canada and the US tie in the final standings. The US has a +1, Canada a -3 now. Are you really telling me a team should not be trying to score every run they can under the existing rules, any way they can?
    What happened to winning in all of this? Some guy's hurt ego on the losing side trumps trying to advance to the second round?

    I agree - change the tie breaker. On TBLA I mentioned how we changed the tie breaker in Junior High basketball to get away from point differential which had led to running up scores and diminished playing time for bench players. There must be a better way but until there is players have to accept those rules or not participate.

  2. The more I think about it Harold, I like the three-way game!

  3. Good suggestion Evan. At least an approach without the flaws of the present one. I definitely don't like the run differential as a result of my personal experience with Junior High basketball tournaments that used a point differential.