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April 13, 2009

Orioles: Here comes the judge

The Orioles are putting together a Kangaroo Court this season, with catcher Gregg Zaun set to preside as judge when it is called to order later this month.

Lots of teams have held court over the years, but one of the most famous Kangaroo Courts was here in Baltimore in the early 1970s, with Hall of Famer Frank Robinson perhaps the most famous Kangaroo magistrate in baseball history.

The Kangaroo Court concept is meant to be fun -- how else do you explain Frank fining Brooks Robinson for "showboating" in the 1970 World Series -- but the courts also have a practical purpose. They allow players to call other players on fundamental errors and lapses in baseball etiquette in a non-confrontational setting.

The money collected either goes to charity or is used for some kind of late-season team meal or party...or both.

"It's just a way to keep people accountable,'' said Zaun. "It's also a good excuse to raise some money and get everybody together for dinner."

A couple of plugs: I'll be holding a live chat at noon at the site along with fellow columnist David Steele today and I'll be back on the air for my nightly talk show on WBAL (1090 AM) and at six. So you've got two opportunities to jump me today. Don't waste them.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 10:46 AM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Just baseball


Zaun should immediatley fine himself not throwing out a single baserunner attempting to steal so far this season.

Dave Trembley should be fined for keeping a straight face while assessing Adam Eaton's performance, and explaining it away by asserting that' He is a strike thrower".

Pete's reply: I'll pass those two fine proposals along.

hey pete, with yesterdays performance in mind, i was looking for an update on rich hill. any idea when he'll make his first start?

Being an Orioles fan is like watching Titanic. I know the ship is going down, but I'm holding out hope the story changes in the end.

Lets hope for survivors

The John O'Donoghue baserunning award was given to a player who did something stupid on the base paths. The award, named after an obscure Bird relief pitcher who may have once done something crazy on the basepaths (or maybe not), consisted of a beat up baseball cleet, spray painted orange.

"Here come da judge" was the announcement in the clubhouse calling court to order.

That brings back a lot of memories with Frank Robinson presiding as the judge. Maybe $10 fines for every HR a pitcher gives up. OMG Bass would be broke by now. $25 fine for every time a runner gets thrown out stealing. $50 for every pitcher failure to get to the 7th inning. Eaton will be broke by the All Star break. $5 fine for every base runner left in scoring position. Should I go on?

Pete's reply: I hope they give the money to charity. At that rate, they might cure cancer.

Hi Pete. I'm assuming you typed "fundemental" on purpose?

Either way, I'ts pretty funny.

Pete's reply: No, just another mistake.

The Kangaroo Court is a great idea, and Gregg Zaun would be the perfect guy to run it.

Actually I believe the Court started in Frank Robinson's first year here in 1966.

I still remember a photo of him with the working end of a mop on his head as his judge's "wig".

It kept the guys loose, and with ballplayers' great sense of humor, must have been a lot of fun for them.

Now if we can only come close to the results on the field that the '66 team had.

Zaun should be the number one contributor. Can't lay down a bunt, can't throw anyone out. If it is a double steal is the fine dobled?

I thought Eddie Murray was the most memorable judge, wearing the mop on his head etc?

I really beliueve that the Frank Robinson inspired and officiated Kangaroo Court started when he first came here and was in effect during the 1966 championship season.


If they're really going to go through with this idea, they should do it up right and see if they can get F-Rob to be there for the first session of court, dressed in robes and passing the gavel on to Zaun. Demper could be the baliff.

Oh, and film it! As long as they're going to have fun, might as well go all the way with it.

With the prospect of another season of Sunday minor league baseball ("players need rest if there's a day game after a night game) the court should be held on Monday mornings and include Trembly. It appears again this season he's even trying to win on Sundays.

the kangaroo court is good for the team. hopefully the money will go to charity. with the major league min pay at over 400,000 using the money for a party is a crime in any court. for those looking for info on hill check our roch's blog on masn (can i write in masn, i guess i just did) hill is expected to pitch on the sidelines for the o's at tex and return to the minors to pitch often until the team is comfortable bringing him up. it seems andy m is going to bring guys up slowly but you would hope if eaton has two more starts like the first one and bass has two of the next 3 relief performace's are like is last 2 you would hope anyone including sammy stewart or even pete reichart or eddie watt would be promoted.

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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