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What if the vote madness spread into the world of sports?

by Bob Stealey

EDITOR

Wow! All this harangue and hoopla in Florida over the post-election ballot counting to determine our next U.S. president seems to have infiltrated other aspects of life. (NOT!) Even sports!

Yes, I know! Baseball season is over. It's now football, pro hockey and pro/college basketball season. Still, I'm going to pick on baseball. After all, it hasn't been that long ago that some of us were watching the playoffs and then the World Series. And I just got to thinkin' that, since some folks were upset that they didn't get to see one of the ALCS playoff games due to the presidential debates, it should be "pay-back time."

But let me emphasize that the following anecdote is not my own. Instead, it was written by an Associated Press writer, some time since election night. I don't know just when it appeared in some newspapers.

Anyway, sit back and enjoy this clever little tie-in between post-election squabbling for votes and the fifth and final game of the "Fall Classic," the World Series:

"The New York Mets announced today that they are going to court to get an additional inning added to the end of Game 5 of the World Series.

"The batting, pitching and bench coaches for the Mets held a press conference earlier today. They were joined by members of the Major League Players Union.

"'We meant to hit those pitches from the Yankee pitchers,' said the Mets batting coach. 'We were confused by the irregularities of the pitches we received and believe we have been denied our right to hit.'

"One claim specifically noted that a small percentage of the Mets batters had intended to swing at fast balls, but actually swung at curve balls. It was clear that these batters never intended to swing at curve balls, though a much higher percentage were not confused by the pitches.

"Reporters at the press conference pointed out that the Mets had extensively reviewed film of the Yankees pitchers prior to the World Series and had in fact faced the Yankees in inter-league play earlier in the year.

"'The fact remains that some of the pitches confused us and denied us of our right to hit,' said the Mets batting coach. 'The World Series is not over yet and the Yankees are celebrating prematurely.'

"Major League Baseball has reviewed the telecast of all the World Series games and recounted the balls and strikes called by the umpires of each game.

"'While some of the strikes called against the Mets were, in fact, balls, there were not enough of them to change the outcome of the World Series,' the commissioner said.

"Another portion of the Mets legal claim stated that, based on on-base percentage, the Mets had actually won the World Series, regardless of the final scores of the games. 'It's clear that we were slightly on-base more often than the Yankees,' said a Mets spokesman. 'The World Series crown is rightly ours.'

"The manager of the Mets has remained in relative seclusion, engaging in some light jogging for exercise. He has stated that he believes 'we need to let the process run its course without a rush to judgment.'"

Now, lest anyone would decide to rattle off a letter to Mets manager Bobby Valentine or anyone else in the Mets organization, let me stress that the preceding did NOT actually happen. It was written in jest, and very well done, if I might say so.

Having prepared this column early Friday, I can't say whether overseas ballots will have made any difference in the madness that has been experienced in Florida. But I believe I can say, with a reasonable amount of certainty, that when the 2000 presidential race has finally been decided and all the chads have been swept up off the floors in those southern Florida counties, the winner will be the one wearing the "dimples."

Have a great week!

Exponent-Telegram Editor Bob Stealey can be reached by phone at (304) 626-1438 or by e-mail at rstealey@exponent-telegram.com.

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