Question: At this point, plenty of ink has been spilled on the whole Eddings-Paul-Pierzienski controversy, so we’ll leave that alone for the moment and get to a matter that was picked up and then pretty much forgotten in the wake of these bigger events: In Game 1 of the series, Angels pitcher Jarrod Washburn wore a shortsleeved gray away jersey, and underneath it a shirt witha sleeve on his left (throwing) arm and no sleeve on his right arm. It looked pretty strange, and Lou Piniella, who was doing a guest stint in the FOX announcers booth, commented that he would have the umpire make him change it, because you have to wear a normal uni. McCarver and Buck took it on faith that what Washburn was doing was a violation. True or False?
Answer: This incident proves a few things we already knew: 1. Lou Piniella is too pedantic for his own good and cannot disguise the fact that he is, and always was, a lousy manager. 2. Tim McCarver’s ignorance of the rules remains unchallenged. 3. Games are not won and lost on the sleeve length of the pitcher. They are, however, won and lost by a catcher assuming the plate umpire voiced an out call when he did not. So, for those of you who still care what the book says about a pitcher’s underwear, here it is:
Rule 1.11 (c) (1) states that while each player can choose his own sleeve length, he should make an effort to have sleeves of approximately the same length. The book offers no help as to what "approximately" means. So, the pedantic Lou was correct in that as manager he could have insisted that the pitcher settle on one sleeve length for both arms. As an umpire, I would have told Lou that I’m giving the pitcher some leeway on this, since the need for a pitcher to regulate his arm warmth on a cold October evening seems, to me, to trump an antiquated rule that was written to keep the players from looking sloppy. I would also take revenge on Lou’s team by enforcing all sorts of pedantic rules on them, like re-touching a base after a foul ball, measuring the pine tar on their bats, and not letting them wander out of the batter’s box after each pitch. So there.