Behind the Mic: Rules

I wrote my blog last week before the USGA embarrassed themselves by not immediately enforcing a rule that penalizes a player if he causes his ball to move.  The USGA hinted that they were going to penalize eventual winner Dustin Johnson, but only after the round ended and Johnson had a chance to explain himself.  Thus, no one knew for sure whether Johnson would lose a stroke or not. At the time, Johnson only led by one stroke.  He was penalized after the round, but the penalty did not cost him the Open championship.

Worse than that, he probably had very little to do, if anything, with the ball moving.  And even worse than that, golf is a game where the integrity of the players is essential.  In fact, the day prior to Sunday’s round, Shane Lowry, who ironically was one stroke behind Johnson when he heard about the potential one stroke penalty on Sunday, called a penalty on himself.  Dustin Johnson flat-out said he did not cause the ball to move.  Shouldn’t the player’s word be enough?  And there was no gained advantage to the ball moving ever so slightly so why the rule in the first place?

This led me to investigate (okay, Google) some other downright strange rules in the world of sports.  Here are just ten:

  1. If a baseball player attempts to catch a ball with his hat or a catcher with his mask, the hitter is granted a ground rule triple.
  2. Soccer goalies must wear long-sleeves and cannot roll them up at any time during the match. Referees need to know it’s the goalie who touches the ball with his hands.
  3. In water polo, grabbing, kicking, or hitting the groin is prohibited (so is splashing water in an opponent’s face).
  4. In the NFL, if the third string quarterback enters the game, the first and second string quarterbacks may not play in that game again.
  5. In major league baseball, if a player is announced on the PA system, he must enter the game or be declared ineligible for the rest of the game.
  6. In the NFL, if a punt returner calls for a fair catch, his team can opt to go for an uncontested field goal.
  7. In MLB, if a ball becomes lodged in an umpire’s mask, all runners will advance a base.
  8. A professional hockey goalie cannot cross the red line that marks the center ice.
  9. If a batter in baseball, bats out of order, he is out immediately and the teammate he batted for is charged with the time at bat. The batter who made the error must then bat again in his proper spot.
  10. If a MLB pitcher licks his hand, wipes his brow, or touches his waistline he must first wipe his hand on his shirt before touching the baseball.

There are plenty of others in every sport. Now the USGA says they are going to try to simplify the Rules of Golf and make them more understandable to the average player and viewer.  All other sports’ bodies should take heed and do the same.


  1. If you are a Phillies fan, you may be wondering how Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Cole Hamels are doing this year. Jimmy Rollins signed with the White Sox after a bad year statistically with the Dodgers.  He was assigned to the minor leagues and was hitting .221 before they chose to reassign him again.  Chase Utley is still a Dodger and is having a pretty good year – .261 average, 10 doubles, 2 triples, 5 home runs, and 25 RBI’s.  Cole Hamels is 8-1 with a 2.79 ERA.  He, also, has stayed healthy and is taking his rotation spot on a regular basis.
  2. It is obvious that Ryan Howard will not be a Phillie next season. The penalty – he will get $10 million NOT to play with them next season.  I wonder how much I could get NOT to announce (place your wise comment here).
  3. Remember the name Charlie Woods – the 7-year-old son of Tiger recently tied for second place in 9-hole junior event. He shot a 55, 19 over par.  The winner shot a 50.  There’s already a nickname – the Little Cat.
  4. With the selection of Ben Simmons as their #1 draft choice, the 76’ers may (dare I say it) compete next season. If Joel Embiid can play (and he hasn’t since March 1, 2014), the combination could be a real force in the league.  And the 76’ers still have Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor on the roster.  Someone will have to go.  Bottom line – the team might start winning – Oh, my!!
  5. A Jamaican sprinter on the 4X 100m relay team announced this week that he has the Zika Virus.  A sign of things to come?


Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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