Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pirates Season Ends with "Mercy Rule"

The Pittsburgh Pirate's season came to an abrupt end tonight during its away game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Midway through the third inning, the Umpire received a call from Bud Selig, Commissioner of Major League baseball, who directed the game and the remaining five games of the season be forfeited by the Pirates. Pirate Manager John Russell and Brewers Manager Dale Sveum were called to home plate, where the matter was discussed. Both mangers shook hands and directed their teams to the clubhouse.

The move by Selig was unprecedented in the modern era of baseball, but not surprising. Major League Baseball's little used "Mercy Rule" has become almost apocryphal, with the last usage of it in 1959 against the Washington Senators, who were forced to abandon the last game of their season. The Senators went on later the next year to become the Minnesota Twins.

Russell had been anticipating this move. "Well, you have 16 straight losing seasons. At this point in the season, it's kind of cruel to send us out there, day after to day to get our butts whooped. And for what? So that other teams can use us as batting practice?"

Pirates Owner Bob Nutting was not pleased by the invocation of the Mercy Rule. "You know, they didn't enforce this rule on San Diego or Seattle or Washington. They've all done worse than us this year. I feel it's hypocritical to expect us to be forced to give up just because some pencil pusher thinks we suck on toast."

MLB officials disagreed and threatened the Pirates with a total media blackout should they try to play any of their remaining games, going so far as to threaten to throw a giant black tarp over the Stadiums should someone accidentally see them playing.

Pirate players were generally unaware of the controversy as most of the roster had already been traded to other teams.

No comments: