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Dorau The [Sports] Explorer: Rules Meant to be Broken in Baseball, Golf, CCSU

Kyle Dorau / Sports Editor

Forgive me if this column isn’t entirely about sports this week. By rule, generally I’m supposed to concentrate on athletics, and those of Central Connecticut State University in particular. However, I’m a believer in the adage that rules were made to be broken. Although, the inspiration for this column did occur during a CCSU baseball game this past weekend.

During Sacred Heart’s victory over Central on Thursday, Pioneers junior pitcher Chris Zaccherio earned his second save of the season. What’s so interesting about that?  He was credited with a save in a game that SHU won by a score of 18-4. While the save might be nothing more than a subjective statistic, the only thing he actually saved was the sanity of those of us in the press box by helping end the game a little faster.

The rules of baseball credit a save to a pitcher on the winning team who didn’t get credit for the victory, but finishes the game. That is, of course, provided one of a few specific criteria are met. If the pitcher enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches at least an inning; enters the game with the tying run on base, at bat or on deck; or pitches for at least three innings.  

True, at the time of his entry into the game, he met two of the three criteria, but Sacred Heart went on to back him up with a three-run seventh inning and tacked on nine more in the eighth for good measure.  That takes a lot of pressure off the pitcher and drastically alters how the rest of the game is played.

Maybe saves should be altered to omit ones in which the game’s outcome is decided by more than ten runs. There’s something inherently wrong about earning a save simply by pitching four innings in what quickly became a blowout. Those 14 run leads really are difficult to protect, aren’t they?

No game is perfect in its rules and design, but man, have you ever read the rules of golf? Yikes. Let me cite rule 19-2 of the 2008 United States Golf Association rulebook: “If a player’s ball is accidentally deflected or stopped by himself, his partner or either of their caddies or equipment, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke.”

I think that rule is pretty stupid and doesn’t make much sense. If the numbskull caddy of the person you’re playing with doesn’t have enough sense to get out of the way of your shot and it hits him, you’re the one penalized. Sadly, more often than not, fixing faulty rules like the ones mentioned above just ends up with more rules. Trying to tweak these would just create more addendums and sub-sections and thicker manuals.

All too often, we as a society let rules and procedures get in the way of common sense.  If they are indeed as serious as they claim to be about improving their six year graduation rate, maybe some changes in how transfer credits are handled would be in order.  CCSU refers to itself on its Web site as a “learning institution.” What we learn is that us students lose out on credits faster than an 80-year-old at a penny slot machine.

This is where our good friends in the communication department come in. I’ve taken Advanced Television Production at two other schools, including a four-year university a short drive away from Central.  Despite getting an A in that class, I’m still being forced to take Basic Video Production.  I’m not saying everyone should be able to jump right into the toughest class in each department and if they pass that one, they can skip all the rest. But let’s be honest. I’ve done production assistant work for a network broadcast of an NCAA Championship game. I can navigate my way around broadcasting and production, and have more than enough credits to graduate simply in terms of number.

Far more than just my personal axe to grind, there are plenty of students out there who are frustrated by the lack of classes offered, inconvenient times and questionable advising. However, it goes both ways. A clear and mutual understanding needs to be met. Students need to be willing to eloquently present their individual situations to those in charge and understand that they may not always be victorious.

In no way do I mean any disrespect to the instructors in that department in particular, or any professor on campus. I’ve had a number of teachers in the communication department, and enjoy their classes. This is more of an affront directed at antiquated policies and an inability to change perpetuated by this institution. I have a sense of loyalty and emotional investment when it comes to this university.

When a student puts on an article of clothing with the CCSU name or Victor E. Blue Devil logo on it, they should feel that same sense of pride. But when decision-making is left in the hands of those in power who are not even willing to hear a case in opposition of their stance, it’s hard to muster up that school spirit. It becomes a situation similar to the rules in sports that I explained earlier: awkward, outdated and embarrassing to see from a governing body.