Wednesday, December 8, 2010

MiLB LIFE: The Fines of Kangaroo Court

I would recommend reading Kangaroo Court as an appetizer to this post in order to maximize understanding and enjoyment. 

There are several types of charges one can be accused of during a session of Kangaroo Court. Each charge is submitted with the focus on accomplishing any or all of the following: embarrassing  the accused, starting a heated argument or fight, garnering laughs from fellow teammates, and producing as large a fine as possible. Accomplish all four and you've got the Zeus of Kangaroo Court charges on your hands. Each charge is different, however, but almost all can be categorized into one of the following groups.

These are your small offenses, your run-of-the-mill breaking of insignificant team rules that really can't be argued and result in a definite guilty plea; they're a sure thing but usually only yield a minimum or small fine- tracking mud into the clubhouse, not being clean shaven, showing up late to cage work, forgetting your shower shoes, etc. These are your parking tickets; they're small offenses, little slaps on the wrist, but they serve as the foundation for Court and they accomplish two crucial things: they get some cash flowing and add mass to the box. If your judges are wily vets, they'll figure out a way to sniff these charges out and announce them first as a sort of warm-up to the bigger accusations.

These charges come straight from games, and can be as offensive as they are embarrassing. There's really no way to avoid these charges because when you're out on the field, shit happens. The jury is sometimes understanding if the embarrassment is just a natural circumstance of playing the game- running face-first into the outfield wall, a ground ball through the legs on a suspect infield, etc. These mistakes happen, and they suck, but they could happen to anyone. 

The meat of the Game-Related charges comes from idiotic self-inflicted attention, however. There's a strikeout to end the inning and the catcher throws the ball into Left cause the third baseman is in the dugout getting a drink of water. $Fine.

You strike out, stay in the box, drop your bat, throw your helmet toward the dugout, and bend down to undo your shin pad like your gonna stay out and head to your defensive position, but it's only the 2nd out of the inning? BOOM, Big $Fine.

You get that big strikeout against their 4 hitter, do a swing-around leg kick fist pump sort of thing and go running off the mound toward the dugout, but the inning's not over? BOOM, Big $Fine. 

Wearing the team's red hat during the anthem while everyone else is wearing black? $Fine. Proceeding to wear the wrong hat out to your position? $Max fine.

I've seen each one of these things take place. You play 140 games in a season, things like this happen and they happen more often than you think. You just better hope you're watching with a pen and paper when it happens. 

The Stretch
These charges usually occur as a result of someone feeling they're on a roll. They've just submitted two gems of accusations, real beauties, and they get greedy. They look around at the first person they see and think, "What does he do that's annoying?"

He scribbles it down and leaves thinking he just stretched his 2 for 2 day into a 3 for 3. More often than not this extra charge is not as funny as it once was when the accuser was feeling "hot." These charges look something like this: "Graham, are you serious with those sunglasses?" or "Jake ran to his car and it wasn't even raining that hard."

When it's read out loud even the person who wrote the accusation does a double-take at how mediocre the charge is. He thought he had gone to bed with Miss America and next thing he knows he wakes up next to Meg Griffin. The high of submitting the two gems has now worn off, and he usually won't even put up a fight to back up his meager attempt at a fine. 

There are some in this category that earn a cheap laugh and maybe even make some revenue, but it's 50/50 at best. Quit while you're ahead, and don't go looking for quickie fines, all good material will come to you. You don't want to become known as the unfunny Kangaroo Court accuser who just forces everything; that shit will follow you from Rookie Ball to Triple-A and you'll lose all potential clubhouse credibility.

Verbal Diarrhea
This category is reserved for the two or three idiots on the team whose every other sentence is greeted with a "Are you serious?" or "What the hell are you talking about?" response. Everything these kids say is Kangaroo Court gold, and you're gonna make sure you're there to record it all.

To make matters even more enjoyable, these kids are generally extremely sensitive and go on the all-out defensive if you question anything they do or say. Kangaroo Court takes 5 times longer than it should because of these kids and their stubborn reaction to every charge- it's the whole team against them and they're the only one who doesn't know it. These morons are usually a pretty high-draft pick who were the cock of the block in whatever hick town they grew up in, and more often than not they're high school kids who are balancing hitting under .500 for the first time with managing their acne and trying to make friends with kids who don't worship them for being the first kid to ever get drafted from their hometown.

The charges are often submitted into "The Box" as direct quotes, and they usually serve as the main event, providing the bulk of the laughs, producing most of the revenue, and stirring up the most temper tantrums.

A perfect example of your mouth getting you in trouble is through lying: trying to make yourself sound cool by lying about your signing bonus, how sweet your car is back home, how hot your old girlfriend was, how epic your high school or college stats were, or how you're boys with anyone famous is only gonna bite you in the ass and make you look like a clown. I call these worthless lies. No one is impressed by them, but still these kids make them up as some form of conversation starter; with the power of Google, Facebook, and the immense amount of down time baseball players have, these lies come to the surface very quickly and you're left looking like a fool and paying a fine.

Just being a stubborn doucher can bite ya in the bum too. Here are two instant classics from last season:

"Why's Jimmy hitting Righty this at-bat?" 
"He's a switch hitter, they just brought in a Lefty pitcher."
"I know but that's retarded. He hit a homerun last at-bat Lefty, I'd stick with what's hot."

"Lebron was so nasty in college."
"In college?"
"Yeah, have you ever seen his college clips on YouTube? They're ridiculous!"
"Are you serious? He went straight to the NBA from high school, he never went to college."
"Yes he did, he went to Syracuse, I know for a fact he went to Syracuse."
"Everyone knows he went straight from High School, are you kidding? I can't tell if you're kidding."
"Dude you don't know what you're talking about, I've watched him playing for Syracuse and my cousin is from New York and used to go see him play all the time so shut the hell up, I'm right."

And yes, you guessed it, these were both from the same kid.

No comments:

Post a Comment