|Out of order! This court is out of order!|
By Ira Fritz
Special to Page 2
You know there's something wrong with the Home Run Derby when the highlight of the event happens to be A-Rod's highlights - or "frosted tips."
On the other side of the courtroom sits a formidable foe in Alan Dershowitz. The Harvard law professor will be arguing that the doors to the Hall should remain closed to Charlie Hustle . . . even though Pete's probably got a few close friends and associates who know how to pick the lock, anyway. No word yet on which side Pete placed his bet.
A case like this really gets you thinking. What other cases are out there that ought to find their way into a court of law? The possibilities are endless. Fortunately, we're the most litigious society on the planet. So, in the spirit of the day, we've come up with a few more trials perhaps coming someday soon to a courtroom near you.
Should Gaylord Perry be in the Hall of Fame even though he's a self-admitted spitballer?
Witnesses for the prosecution would include the thousands of hitters he faced in 22 years in the bigs who were sprayed by his illegal "stuff" as it crossed the plate. Next up would be all the catchers who spent an hour or two after every game disinfecting their hands from whatever the heck he smeared them with. Other expert witnesses might include sex shop owners and colo-rectal surgeons who supplied him with the various lubricating tools of his trade. If cheaters are to be banned from the Hall, then the Hall might end up looking more like a mere foyer, because Gaylord is certainly not alone when it comes to bending the rules on the diamond. The verdict: Perry stays.
Yes, Bonds is the best home run hitter in baseball, but he's hardly the undisputed biggest star in the game that every fan clamors toward.
Not sure how someone breaks his wrist washing a truck, unless of course the giant soapy sponge he's using comes to life and attacks him. Jeff might have come up with a more believable story here, like he broke his wrist in a fight with Barry Bonds. Actually, he could combine the two stories and say he broke his wrist trying to wash Barry Bonds. Now that would be more believable and certainly something the Giants' lawyers would probably not want to ask too many questions about.
Since no reliable witness came forward to say that he saw Kent pulling a Fonzie on his hog in the parking lot of the Giants' spring training facility, the jury would have no choice but to buy his version. The only story with less credibility -- and this might make a great trial of its own -- is Wade Boggs missing a few games in '86 for wrenching his back while putting on cowboy boots. If he'd said Mistress Margo liked it when they were role-playing and he dressed up as the Marlboro Man, perhaps the Wade-man gets away with it.
Red Sox fans vs. Bill Buckner. The charge: endless pain and suffering.
Jerry Seinfeld vs. the rest of the cast of "Seinfeld." The charge: embarrassment perpetrated on Jerry with the shows the rest of the cast has foisted on us since "Seinfeld" bowed out.
The verdict: Guilty.
The cast's sentence is a nationally televised formal apology to Jerry and the rest of the country for their crimes, and four million hours of community service picking up trash on the side of the 101 Freeway. In addition, they're each banned for life from doing anything on TV again unless Jerry is in it, produces it, or says it's OK.
Jesus vs. Deion Sanders. Jesus says he never gave Prime Time the OK to stiff that auto mechanic.
The charge: Blasphemy.
The verdict here is for Jesus. Punishment for Deion is eternal damnation and a 1982 Plymouth K-car to spend it in. And if this guy ever really does find Jesus, he better run in the other direction.
U.S.A. vs. the refs from the 1972 U.S.A./U.S.S.R. Olympic basketball gold-medal game. The charge: Cheating, Commie style.
If Mike had picked him up over his head and thrown him to the floor Hulk Hogan-style it would have been less obvious. Forget about charging him with an offensive foul -- how about first-degree aggravated assault? Bryon's lucky he didn't land on the scorer's table. On the face of it, it's open-and-shut against Mike. But there's more to it. The defense has a star witness who changes the entire complexion of the case against Jordan: the Commissioner himself, Mr. David Stern. Stern would take the stand and simply tell it like it is. After all, he's under oath.
"A foul on Michael? Surely you jest. The only person allowed to call a foul on Michael was Michael. Wanna hang around in the three-second lane for three days? Make yourself at home, Mike. Hand-checking? Our rules said Mike could do it to the point where the State would declare him and his opponent common-law partners. It's all good just as long as he stayed out there every single night mooing like the giant NBA cash cow he always was. Sorry, Bryon, you should've just stayed out of the way."
The verdict: Please.
The Oakland Raiders vs. The Immaculate Reception. The charge: Frenchy touched it.
Lawyers for the Raiders will argue that any play involving a man named Frenchy certainly is cause for serious suspicion. Now if it had been Frenchy from "Grease" involved in the play, both sides could call Rizzo and perhaps Kenickie to the stand and really get to the bottom of this. The verdict: a Pittsburgh victory . . . and Frenchy protects his good name.
OK, OK. There is room for plenty of healthy (or unhealthy) debate here thanks to Marty Mornhinweg, Ray Handley, Bruce Coslet, and several others. But Jet fans clearly have a rock-solid case here. The witnesses against Kotite pretty much boil down to any living, breathing human being who has even a first-grade knowledge of football and had the misfortune of watching the Jets go a combined 4-28 under him in '95 and '96. The witnesses for Kotite will get lost on the way to the courtroom, anyway, so they'd never actually be able to testify. Kotite likely won't rely on anyone on his defense team, instead planning his entire strategy alone, thus finding himself 28 points down before the first recess.
People with brains vs. the guy who invented The Wave. The charge: Ruining the enjoyment of the game for
This guy needs to do some serious prison time. Somewhere along the way, the line between observing a ballgame and participating in it got blurred, and The Wave moved right in to exploit it. Who cares if our pitcher is trying to concentrate and work his way out of a bases-loaded jam? Who cares if we're down by seven runs in the eighth inning? Who cares if our star shortstop just landed on his head after the runner trying to break up the double play took him out with a nasty slide? We paid good money to completely ignore the game and just keep doing The Wave all day. And doggone it, that's exactly what we're going to do.
The prosecution will call as its first witness PATSAW (People Against The Stupid-Ass Wave). They can prove, with the help of stat-genius Bill James, that The Wave in fact hurts the home team's performance, particularly in late June with a left-hander on the mound, the score tied and a player of Dominican descent in scoring position.
The defense will argue . . . aww, who cares what they argue.
The verdict: Give me a G, a U, an I, an L, a T, a Y. What's that spell? Guilty!