Tuesday, December 7, 2010

MiLB LIFE: Kangaroo Court

Kangaroo Court is a staple in any fun-loving clubhouse. You can get away with saying literally anything while court is in session, the worst insults you could dream up - making fun of a teammate's girlfriend, mother, swing, stats, style, speech impediment, huge mole on his face, jock size - it's all fair game, and everyone present will have your back.

If a kid gets defensive and approaches you at any point after, every other player in that clubhouse will rush to your side and say "Dude, it was Kangaroo Court relax, take the tampon out." It's beautiful! Like it never even happened. And after you carve a guy up for smelling like a hockey bag or taking home the ugliest girl in whatever God-forsaken town you're in, when he gets mad, HE's the asshole! Only in America.

So here are the standard rules for Kangaroo Court:

A box of some sort, usually a taped up shoe-box, is placed in an established spot in the clubhouse with a "mail-slot" type hole cut into the top. This starts the process and every action committed afterward is fair game to get written up. If you see or catch someone doing something stupid, all you do is take a little piece of paper, write the perpetrator's name, his action, your name, and the name of a witness, and submit it into the box. You usually let the box build up over the course of a few weeks or a month, and generally Court takes place in the clubhouse during a rain delay.

There is a judge, or judges - usually the longest-standing members of the team - who empty the box one grievance at a time, reading the charge, the name of the accused and the accuser, and confirming with the witnes that this action did indeed happen. Some veterans get real into it and get all official with the proceedings - get a gavel and everything, which can be hilarious if done right.

Then, the fun starts. There are plenty of classic reactions you see when someone is accused, either through verbal response or body language: there's Shit, you saw that? - How the hell did you know about her? - Ok yeah, I'm an idiot. - and, of course, No way! I'm not paying that, I've never done anything stupid in my life, you guys are all just ganging up on me, this is bullshit!
I'm assuming most clubhouses are similar, and it's always fun to see the back and forth banter/ shouting matches/ fist fights that occur with each "grievance."

After the dust has settled, the team acts as the jury to determine whether the action merits a penalty charge, and if it does, the judges quickly come up with an amount for the guilty party to pay. Amounts vary with circumstance. Rookie ball may be $0.25 minimum fine and $3.00 max fine. Double-A may be $1.00 minimum with a $5.00 max. Big Leaguers, if they even do these juvenile shenanigans we do to keep ourselves entertained while we're in the middle of nowhere, probably go high stakes.

After the ceremony, a deadline is given for everyone to get their money in. (Late payments are doubled.) Once the money is collected - assuming the guy in charge doesn't pocket it - it's usually put towards beer or balloons for some end-of-the-year blowout, and with good reason - it's a lot easier to fork over a couple bucks on behalf of your stupidity if you know that your dough will ultimately be put toward some ice cold adult beverages. Makes acting like an idiot almost worth it.

1 comment:

  1. A friend of mine works for a minor league team, and we were dropping something off in the clubhouse one day, while the team was out of town. We did the unholy: read through the kangaroo court box. Highest of high comedy.