At what point does a team cry for mercy? When does the famed 10-run rule become too lenient? Will the Miami Marlins even score 65 runs this entire year?
I only ask because a high school baseball game in Ohio was called on account of darkness a couple of weeks ago–not so out of the ordinary (wait for it…)–with one team leading 65-0 after three innings. Technically, the 10-run rule kicks in after five innings, which is also an official game minimum in MLB.
Needless to say, the team on the losing end (Harvest Prep) is an annual doormat, according to the article. And the winning team (Licking Heights) is playing its last season in their current league, before moving up to a more competitive group.
For the sake of staying sane, we won’t entertain all the clichés of this sportsmanship route. The coach of the winning team seemed apologetic, and even tried to offer that his players all bunt and then step on the plate to make an automatic out in order to end Harvest Prep’s misery.
People will scream and yell and feign outrage over this blowout, but the fact of the matter is that nobody should ever lose 65-0. Were the Harvest Prep pitchers just soft tossing from next to the plate? Did all the fielders leave their gloves at home? The real injustice here is that a team with so few resources is allowed to participate in such an otherwise-competitive league (other teams have put up as much as 40 runs against Harvest Prep this season, too).
Yours truly has always been an advocate of running up the score in every sport at the high school level and beyond. Losing is something every athlete will experience, whether it’s by one run or 65. Is the winning team really at fault? Is winning by a lot of runs or points a malicious thing to do?
I don’t like when college football coaches get heated about the Oregon Ducks going for two when they are up 48-0 in the fourth quarter. Your team is made of adults. They can handle themselves. Similarly, unless directly taunted by an opponent in the process, I never had a problem with losing by a large score when I played sports. I usually turned the blame to myself and had to make sure to work harder to play better the next time and avoid that embarrassment.
Anyway, that’s my take. Clearly, this is a unique situation and unprecedented margin of victory–but what do you think? Too much of a “licking” by Licking Heights? All a big deal over nothing? Comment below!
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)