WSJ Crossword 1-12-21 Complete and a story about baseball!

This blog post ended up mostly being about the clue and answer I pulled out, so it may be more entertaining to read than most of the WSJXW blog posts are. I did struggle with this one a little, but I made my way through. This doing-them-all-on-Sunday thing is fine so far. We’ll see how it continues.

I pulled out 8A Ballpark official: SCORER because it reminds me of when I was a baseball broadcaster in college. I read the entire NCAA rulebook for baseball and always brought the book with me to games because I had no one around me to let me know what had just happened when there was a crazy event in the game. There was one game I called with my often-broadcast partner Mitchell Clements where this rulebook came in handy. A guy got to first base, and the next batter was power hitter. I saw that the third baseman was playing almost on the outfield grass, and although this batter had the speed to turn a close triple into a long single, he decided to drop down a bunt down the third baseline. To the casual baseball fan, it seems like a standard sacrifice bunt play: He was thrown out easily, and the runner moved over from first to second. However, it didn’t look to me like that’s what he had wanted to do. I saw that the third baseman was playing deep. I figured he saw the same thing. Rather than give himself up, it sure seemed like he had gone rogue and decided to drop down a bunt into no-man’s land in an attempt to make it to first safely.

Per the rules:

Sacrifice
SECTION 8. A sacrifice bunt is credited to the batter when, with fewer than
two outs, his bunt enables a runner to advance, provided no other runner is put
out attempting to advance. A sacrifice fly is credited when, with fewer than two
outs, his fly, fair or foul, enables a runner to score. In either case, the sacrifice
ruling applies when the batter is put out before he reaches first base or would
have been put out if the ball had been fielded without error.
This is is what everyone knows.

HOWEVER, then there’s this:

Exception—If, in the judgment of the official scorer, the batter is bunting primarily for a base hit, do not score a sacrifice. Instead, charge the batter with a time at bat.
http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/BA12.pdf

I knew it had to be the latter. I knew there was no chance he had been instructed to play smallball in that situation.

Announcement from the official scorer: “Sacrifice.”

After that game, the head coach was unfazed by my question about that play. He shrugged it off and said that sometimes they ask this batter to drop down a bunt to move a guy over and that the plan had worked. I was unconvinced and asked the guy later what had really happened. He seemed kind of excited to tell me that my analysis in real time had been entirely correct.

Since I wasn’t the official scorer, it went down as a sacrifice. But I knew the rule.

That was true a decade ago, and it remains in the most recently published rulebook.

Major League Baseball unsurprisingly has a similar rule:

http://www.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2007/10_the_official_scorer.pdf

But there’s an interpretation that the NCAA rulebook does not have:

http://www.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2007/10_the_official_scorer.pdf

So there you go.


The title of this puzzle is A Few Brief Words.

20A Secret compartments in some desks: HIDDENDRAWERS. Also what is often found under a pair of pants on the bedroom only after the rest of the laundry is done.
33A Some Pixar works: ANIMATEDSHORTS.
40A Long proboscises: ELEPHANTTRUNKS.
57A Golden Gloves competitors: AMATEURBOXERS.

All underpants: DRAWERS, SHORTS, TRUNKS, BOXERS.

Finished this one in 18:15.

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