My ignorance is bliss again
By Bob Halloran
Special to Page 2

Runner on first. Slow ground ball to second. The throw goes to first, and the batter is safe. The runner on first, assuming the final out was going to be made, lollygags to second. So, after the batter has safely reached first base, the first baseman throws to second. Is it a force play? Or does the runner need to be tagged out?

Michael Jordan
Looks like Michael Jordan's touching the ball in the cylinder, and he probably traveled before this photo was taken.
The umpire of our softball game initially said it would have to be tag play, but after a few moments spent deep in thought, he concluded: "No, since the batter is safe at first, the runner is "forced" to go to second, therefore it would be a force play." It took a moment, but I think he got it right.

Nobody on base. Pitcher goes into his windup and drops the ball. Is that a balk? I talked this over with the same softball umpire, because I had seen it happen during a Red Sox-Devil Rays game. No balk was called, yet if there were someone on base, I'm pretty sure it would have been called a balk, and the runner would have advanced. The ump agreed with me (though we were both a little unsure) that no balk was called because the pitch that never arrived at the plate was called a ball anyway. With no one on base, a balk call would have produced the same result -- a ball. Still, I think in the interest of accurate record keeping, if the pitcher balked, the call should be made regardless of whether it had any impact on the game. So, I'm left to wonder if it really was a balk, and if it would have been called one if there were a runner on base.

All I'm saying is, after thousands of games, tens of thousands of innings, and millions of pitches, there are still a bunch of things that -- if we're honest with ourselves -- we'd admit we still don't know for sure. I admit to ignorance in the following matters:

I don't know what happens if you take steroids, and then don't work out. Do you just get the liver damage, bad skin, baldness and impotence without all those wonderful muscles?

I don't know why a dunk isn't considered offensive goaltending, since the player clearly is making contact with the ball inside the cylinder.

My fantasy baseball league team has at least four guys who I have no idea what they look like.

When an umpire holds up fingers on both hands, I don't know which one indicates "balls," and which one indicates "strikes." I'm guessing that since he's gesturing for the pitcher who reads left to right that the left hand would be for "balls." But I don't know if this changes at all for Japanese pitchers.

  I don't know if I'll stick a fork in my ear the next time I hear a sportscaster say "Day-twah" for Detroit.  

I don't know why they call it a rest room. Sometimes it's work!

I really don't know why there aren't any left-handed catchers. I get the notion about infielders making a throw to first, but catchers predominately throw to second. Why can't they be left-handed?

I don't know why my underwear frequently costs more than my "outer" wear.

I don't know if pasta can go stale after you open the box.

I don't know whatever happened to Royals shortstop U.L. Washington and his toothpick.

I don't know why it's OK to ask a guy how much his baby weighs, but not his wife.

I don't know why the NHL gives out two assists, but the NBA only gives out one.

My neighbor has a deaf cat, and I don't know why, but it surprised me when the cat had a normal meow.

I don't know why a town would call itself Plainville. Why not Mediocreberg, Averagetown, or Low-Self-Esteem City?

I never know if the horses in a race are male or female. I know there's an easy way to tell, but I don't get that kind of access.

Scott Draper
How much lower can an ATP player go than 230th-ranked Scott Draper?
I don't know how non-English speaking people eat. When you buy a microwave, air conditioner, VCR, bikes or toys, the instructions are in several different languages, but the cooking instructions on food are only in English.

I don't know if the move from short shorts to baggie shorts in the NBA was gradual or sudden.

When I buy a half-pound of ham, it works out evenly for three sandwiches. But when I buy a pound of ham, I always end up with an extra slice or two before I get to the sixth sandwich. My grammar school math tells me that's a statistical anomaly.

I don't know where the "th" went in nor'easter.

I don't know who Luke is or how warm he is.

I don't know if I'll stick a fork in my ear the next time I hear a sportscaster say "Day-twah" for Detroit.

I heard someone on TV say on a Wednesday that they "had some advice to get (me) over the proverbial hump." But I don't know any proverbs talking about a hump.

If humans have biceps, triceps and quadriceps, how come we don't have a unicep? It makes me think there is no singular "cep," and that "ceps" are always found in groups of two or more. But I don't know.

I noticed recently that Scott Draper is ranked 230th on the ATP tour. So, how far down do they go with the rankings anyway?

I don't know if there's any money in it, but I'd like to invent a "rally toupee" for bald people. They'd wear it inside out like a rally cap. (Wouldn't look any worse)

I don't know if the Astros will continue to make do with a patchwork middle relief group that includes Scott Linebrink, Brandon Puffer and workhorse Ricky Stone. (I read that somewhere.)

The Sonoma 350 was 112 laps on a 2-mile track for a total of 224 miles. What was the 350 for?

Ricky Stone
Can Ricky Stone, who might be on Bob Halloran's fantasy team, carry the Astros into the postseason?
When I'm on ESPNEWS, I don't know if I can just refer to Shaquille O'Neal as "Shaq" on first reference. Is there someone out there watching a 24-hour sports network who doesn't know who Shaq is?

I don't know why Baskin Robbins stopped at 31.

I didn't know until ESPN anchor Whit Watson told me, that the PGA Tour picks one hole at every tournament to use to determine a player's average driving distance. And I forgot to ask Whit if the players know which hole is being used, so I still don't know that. (Note to self: Call Whit).

I also don't know why we say the word "tour" as if it rhymes with "sore," but we say the first syllable in "tournament" as if it rhymes with "her." Why is it "ter-nament" if the players don't play on a "ter." This New Jersey kid would really like to be able to say "tore-nament" without being mocked.

Along those same lines, I don't know why a problem with a tendon is diagnosed as tendinitis. I know the "i" befoe "e" except after "c" rule, but what did the "o" do to deserve being switched to an "i" in tendinitis?

And finally, I read in a magazine recently that researchers have determined that stress truly does cause acne. Researchers were able to prove this long-presumed theory by conducting comprehensive tests on mice. I tell you this story, because I don't know if there's anything funnier than the thought of a stressed-out mouse with zits.

Bob Halloran is an anchorman for ESPNEWS.



Bob Halloran Archive

Halloran: (Way) out of curiosity

Halloran: Sweet sound of radio fading out

Halloran: More than just a pretty face

Halloran: When in doubt, leave it out

Halloran: No Shai readers, except one

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