When last UmpBump cast its wary eye on Olympic baseball, we were bemused to see that the IOC and something called the “International Baseball Federation” (presumably, the precursor to the United Federation of Planets) had actually changed the rules of the game:
Each team’s at-bat in the 11th inning and beyond will begin with runners on first and second bases. Teams may start the 11th at any point in their batting order under format changes announced Friday…
This transmogrification of the actual rules of baseball was hard enough to swallow. But now we have learned that, in addition to having a communist government with an appalling human rights record and being big ol’ dirty polluters (and worse still, not yet banning UmpBump), the Chinese have failed to instill in their team the proper respect for the sport’s unwritten rules.
In the fifth, top prospect-turned-Olympian Matt LaPorta crashed into catcher Wang Wei, who then, regrettably, had to leave the game. In the sixth, Nate Schierholtz bowled over Wang’s replacement, Yang Yang, while attempting to score on a sac fly. Yang, who was incensed and had to be restrained by teammates from attacking Schierholtz, later went on to score China’s only run of the game on a solo homer and allegedly pimped it in a fashion better suited to a Manny Ramirez walkoff bomb than a 9-1 rout.
China’s manager, who is 1965 Rookie of the Year Jim Lefebvre, argued that Schierholtz’s slide was illegal. However, it was LaPorta who bore the brunt of the Chinese team’s wrath as it was he who was beaned with a pitch in the seventh inning. LaPorta lay on the ground for several minutes before finally leaving the field, and was later diagnosed with a concussion. (By the end of the game, five Americans and two Chinese had been hit by pitches.)
C’mon, China. Your repressive regime and lead-infused toys are bad enough. Do you have to mess up basebrawls too? Everyone knows that in games that count, the runner is honor-bound to try and knock over the catcher. And everyone knows that if a retaliatory pitch is required, it is properly aimed at the ribcage or the backside. If you want the respect of the wider world, you’ll have to do better than this.