I haven’t written much about baseball here in the Runes, but I do like to point out stupid comments no matter where they come from. Last week there was a good one from Hank Steinbrenner—George’s son, and the big cheese with the New York Yankees these days—after the Yankees’ number one pitcher, Chien-Ming Wang, injured his leg while running the bases in an interleague game against the Houston Astros..
Just as a reminder for less-than-casual baseball fans, the American League uses a designated hitter who bats in the pitcher’s spot, while in the National League, pitchers bat just like everyone else—shortstops, catchers, outfielders, etc. The Yankees play in the American League, where pitchers don’t have to bat—except when they play interleague games in National League parks, which is what they were doing in Houston.
Anyway. Wang is out for 6-10 weeks, so Steinbrenner took the opportunity to call for a rule change, to wit:
“The National League needs to join the 21st century. They need to grow up and join the 21st century. I’ve got my pitchers running the bases, and one of them gets hurt. He’s going to be out. I don’t like that, and it’s about time they address it. That was a rule from the 1800s.”
The National League has responded:
Sorry to hear about your pitcher getting injured while he was playing baseball in a baseball game. Those baseball injuries have been known to happen to baseball players, especially when playing against other baseball players in baseball games. We did hear that right, didn’t I? He was injured playing baseball, wasn’t he? We’d hate to find out that a baseball player suffered a baseball injury doing something other than playing baseball.
Thanks for the invitation to grow up and join the 21st century. We’ll take it under advisement and put a committee on it, but just to clarify—our league is the one that started in 1876, 25 years before yours, right? Not the other way around? And our league is the one that didn't change its rules in 1973 in a cynical attempt to add more offense and draw more fans, correct? Just making sure. Just wanted to make sure who was telling whom to grow up.
Please pass our best wishes on to Mr Wang.
The National League
P.S. Hey, if you want to complain, you can always write to “Commissioner” Bud Selig and complain about how interleague play creates inequitable schedules.
P.P.S. We don’t know what your dad told you, but you don’t have to act like a dick if you don’t want to.