I'm just an animal looking for a home

Various and sundry news items


First, I’m planning on buying a house in the next couple of months. Ideally I’ll buy one before my current lease is up at the end of September. If I don’t find a suitable house before that time, however, I plan to renew my lease month-to-month. I suppose if my house search looks completely bleak, I could just renew here for a year, but that’s the backup plan at this point. It’s not that I especially dislike where I am now, but I’d like to move back into Austin proper. I’m hoping to find a house in the Hyde Park area, although houses there certainly cost a lot more than in other parts of Austin. Still, other than having 7 cats, I don’t especially need a large house. On Saturday afternoon I am touring several houses that look promising, so I’ll see how that goes.

Second, on the mouse front, it is still just Felix, Wilbur, and Dusty who are eating them. But in truth I haven’t devoted a lot of time to trying to entice the other cats. Tonight did mark a milestone in their mice eating, however — it was the first time they ate their mice with no meat snack smeared on them. So at this point those three recognize the mice as food, which is good. I got some advice from a co-op member about how to persuade the reluctant cats to eat the mice. Her suggestion is to cut the mice into small pieces and mix it into their normal food. Then over time make the pieces larger and include less of their normal food, until they are just back to a whole mouse. This is a somewhat gruesome suggestion, but in for a penny… I plan to give it a try this weekend, if my stomach can handle it.

Finally, and probably of the least interest to anyone reading this, I just wanted to vent about the umpires in the local leagues here. Every game I played in this past week had cases where the umpires had the rules wrong. On Sunday night I play in a league in Round Rock. The game situation was runners on first and second base with one out. The batter hit a pop fly to the second baseman. The umpire correctly shouted infield fly while the ball was in the air. The runner on second had started running as soon as the ball was hit, and never looked back — he rounded third and headed for home. The second baseman made an error and the ball was not caught, but of course the batter was still out due to the infield fly rule. However, not only did the umpire rule the batter out, she also ruled our runner who started on second to be out. She said he needed to tag up. However, this is not the rule — he only needs to tag up if the ball ends up being caught. The infield fly rule means that runners can advance at their own risk. I immediately argued when she called the runner out, but she was adamant that he was. Oddly, he also thought he should be out. In Round Rock they have an official scorekeeper, and that person was agreeing with me. Eventually the umpire essentially conceded that I was “probably right”, but that since we were winning by 12 runs, did it really matter? And it did not, we won 26-3. And I wasn’t arguing because I thought it was going to make a difference in the game. I just wasn’t aware that a big lead meant the rules were no longer followed. I did apologize to the umpire for arguing, even though I don’t think I really said anything rude or inappropriate. I just didn’t want to be on her bad side for the rest of the game.

On Tuesday night I had a game down in Austin at 6:30pm, which is the earliest time the games are played. The other team only had 9 players show up — 5 men and 4 women. A lot of teams end up short players, but for the 6:30 games you usually cannot find subs, because nobody is already out there. Now, the rules say that you cannot play with 8 players, but that 9 is fine. You can be missing one guy or one girl (you can’t do something like 6 guys and 3 girls) and still play. But the umpires insisted that you could only play with 9 if it was 5 women and 4 men. Eventually the other team ended up getting the wife of one of the players to stand in right field for them. She refused to bat and so they took an automatic out for her anyway, and she didn’t attempt to field anything, so it really pointed out how stupid the umpires were being by insisting that she had to be out there. Quite apart from the fact that they had the rule wrong anyway.

Finally on Thursday (in Austin again) there were actually two things. Before our game started, an umpire from another field asked our umpires if a team was allowed to play short 1 girl. And no, it wasn’t the same umpire as Tuesday. The umpires on our field did not know, but I told him that it was allowed, and he took my word for it. Anyway, in our game we were the visiting team, meaning that we batted first. The opposing pitcher was really struggling and he walked a few of us. Some other guy showed up and replaced the pitcher. Once we finished batting, we took the field, and they batted. When they got out, they took the field again, and both the original pitcher and the new pitcher were on the field. One of them was pitching, and one was in the outfield. This is an illegal substitution, and I pointed it out to the umpires. Basically, if you sub into a game for someone, then you are taking their spot in the lineup. If they want to come back in, they have to sub in for you. In other words, once you sub in for someone, there is no way you can both be in the lineup at once. Yet the umpire claimed this was fine since they had not both batted yet (which was true — only one of the two of them had batted). Anyway, we were winning by a fair amount so I didn’t push it, and we ended up winning.

In all of these cases I double checked the rule once I got home, and in all cases I had it right. I think what really bothers me about this is that this is really their only purpose for being out there — to know the rules and to enforce them. When they don’t know the rules it just frustrates me. We won all 3 games, so from that point of view it didn’t matter. But what if the games had been closer? It could have mattered. We just got lucky that it happened this way. I keep telling myself I need to bring a copy of the rules with me to the field, but I also know that if I asked an umpire to look it up they would just get belligerent.

In the case of the Tuesday game where the other team had to field a reluctant player I did write to the league about it to let them know. They confirmed that I had the rule right, and they were alarmed to learn that someone was forced to play who didn’t want to do so. So maybe they’ll educate the umpires in that case. I didn’t contact the league about the other two cases. I don’t want to become known as the guy who always complains to the league. It’s just silly that the umpires don’t know the rules. They had to take classes and training to be umpires, so how the hell do I know the rules better than they do?

Anyway, I guess I should wander toward bed in the near future so I can be awake during the house tours tomorrow


Author: mitcharf

vegan, curmudgeon, animal lover, feminist, agnostic, cat whisperer, bookworm, hermit, Red Sox fan, Cthulhu enthusiast, softball player, man-about-town

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