And who is Dean Wormer? For those of you who haven’t seen the movie Animal House, it’s the Dean in the school who oversteps his bounds to put an end to Delta Tau Chi’s fraternity- and one of the things he does is make up something called “double secret probation”, which isn’t in any rulebook anywhere in the movie. I highly, HIGHLY recommend watching the movie. It’s a classic. Mike Slive and his “sportsmanship rule” have a lot in common with “double secret probation.”
Some background for those of you who have been following MSU horseback riding- John Cohen was “ejected”- used in quotes because apparently he was ejected after the game was over. I know- confusing- but stay with me here- because the umpires made a call that appeared to be incorrect which gave Alabama new life and then get the game winning hit, ending the game. The argument ensued, and apparently umpire Randy Watkins- I can use his name because Mike Slive can’t suspend me- didn’t like what John Cohen had to say to him. When an ejection happens, a coach has to sit out the next game, which John Cohen did against Mississippi Valley State. Well come to find out today, now Slive is saying that was only a NCAA suspension. Cohen is NOW suspended by the SEC for practice on Thursday (seriously?) and then Friday’s game against Florida because he violated “sportsmanship rules”. Oh and to top it all off- some rogue security guard was taunting MSU’s team and nearly got into a fistfight with MSU’s pitching coach Butch Thompson- more on that later.
Now- you may have some questions. Like “what if the umpires were right?” Well, that’s always up for debate. People I’ve talked to have said that they were wrong, and even the player was hesitant to say whether he thought the ball hit him or not. There is also apparently more video evidence of Bigfoot than there is of this particular play. But that’s not really the point here- the point is you have an umpire who got his feelings hurt and so he wrote up the coach and then you have a commissioner who is making up things as he goes along while displaying a double standard.
The fact that they allow umpires to “eject” players and coaches after a game is silly. The game is OVER. Just walk off the field. Go run in your little van and go home. It’s not Mike Slive is going to let anything happen to you anyway. The only time something should be done to a player or coach as far as penalties would be if there is a physical altercation after the game is over. That didn’t happen here. It was yelling.
It’s also silly that Mike Slive protects these officials so much. Now, look- I understand that Randy Watkins probably umpires baseball because he loves it. I understand that he probably works at a McDonald’s flipping burgers to make ends meet. But when you are an official in a league like the SEC- there has to be accountability on both ends. You can’t even look at an umpire funny. Can’t use their name- which is why I am, because I think this clown should be recognized. But I’ll say this to Mr. Slive and Mr. Watkins- the most respected umpire in Major League Baseball right now is Jim Joyce. And just a couple of years ago he badly messed up a call that cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game. It was on every news station. Do you know how Joyce reacted? By publicly acknowledging his mistake and then apologizing for it. That earned my respect. Kicking out a coach after a game because you “can” and you don’t like what he has to say- I don’t have much respect for you as an umpire, Mr. Watkins.
Now another question you might have is about the “sportsmanship rule”. And here is for us to look at:
The SEC policy went into effect at the start of the 2009 SEC conference baseball season and states, “A student-athlete, coach or team representative ejected for misconduct or unsportsmanlike conduct for a first offense will receive a written warning cautioning of actions on further like conduct. A second and subsequent ejection in the same year will carry a next game suspension for each ejection.”
Now here is my problem with the rule. It doesn’t say anything about there being a separate NCAA suspension or next SEC game. So, essentially, Slive is just making stuff up as he goes. No surprise there. And the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. If Cohen had made contact with the umpire- I would be OK with this, and would be OK with a longer suspension. Again, that didn’t happen. If this were MLB, Cohen would have had to have say out maybe one game. Actually, they have the brains to know that you can’t eject anyone from a game that is over. Apparently, some people in the SEC office struggle with common sense.
Also, notice it talks about “team representative” in the “rule”. So, apparently it’s sportsmanlike to employ a security guard that will heckle your opponent and then after the game get into the face of your pitching coach. Why isn’t anything being done to Alabama? Can we at least get a public apology here from the University of Alabama? This was a guy that was supposed to be protecting our team, and he unprofessionally was the one that actually put our team in danger. Maybe have Alabama do an “action plan” to tell everyone how they plan on preventing this in the future?
Lastly, I’m going to talk about what John Cohen will do with his free time and the silver lining here- which I kind of find funny in a way because I’m sure Slive thinks he is really sticking it to us. First of all- I’m not worried about Butch coaching us for a game. With Chris Stratton, when he is on, we could use a trained chicken to manage us. So, no worries there. Cohen missing a practice is laughable as far as a punishment goes. Guess what John Cohen gets to do now that he has some free time in baseball talent rich Florida? Yep- recruit. This is a perfect opportunity for us to build some in roads in a state that is one of the top three as far as producing baseball talent. It would be really ironic if we found the next Will Clark while he is being punished.
So until then, I’m wearing my FREE JOHN COHEN t-shirt.