Game 6p: Even Andy Wouldn't Try to Pull this Off
MMS claims scrimmage game victory while backpedaling agreement
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Written: Aug 20, 2010

"The point is, Verdasys had 9 players and thus had a bargaining chip they could present. MMS did not."

At the start of Game 6, Verdasys Softball had 9 players (8 guys, one girl), while Mass Medical Society (MMS) had only 5. Clearly, MMS did not have enough players to field a team, so their only course of action was a forfeit. But instead of handing them a forfeit, Theo Emmett offered MMS to take a 9-0 loss. They agreed, and so the two teams then played a non-binding scrimmage game for fun. Simple enough, right? Think again.

Agreement? What agreement?

It all started out with an innocent-looking email from the commissioner. “Both of you have claimed victory at the game on Tuesday, August 3. Who really won?”

Perhaps MMS mistakenly reported a win for some other game with this one? Perhaps someone mistakenly reported the scrimmage game results as the official game results? Coach Wolan emailed the team captain of MMS, repeated the terms of the agreement on the field and asked for clarification.

The MMS team captain, Raju, responded. At dispute were three matters: “Did MMS agreed to a 9-0 lose?”, “Did MMS play a legitimate game?” and “Did Verdasys have enough players to field a team?”

“Did MMS Agree to a 9-0 Loss?”

There is a reason why the Verdasys Softball bench approached that of MMS. They were there to offer MMS a 9-0 loss so that they would not have to accept a forfeit. It is a league rule that if a team collects three forfeit in one season, not only is the team expelled from the league that season, but for the following season as well. In essence, Verdasys was trying to give MMS a break after other teams in the league acted in kind to Verdasys.

According to Raju, neither he nor anyone else on the MMS bench agreed to take a 9-0 loss. “The 9-0 talk that I remember was someone mentioning it when in the previous games they didn’t have enough players, they didn’t want to forfeit but give the other team an advantage.“

“If we had agreed to a 9-0 loss, I would know about it. I was the first to reach the field and I was the one who spoke to your team.”

"When it’s past game start time and someone from the other team is coming to your bench, it should be obvious that he’s not there to reminisce about past games."

But that is not how Theo Emmett, the acting team captain for Verdasys, remembers it. “Raju was there but not involved in the conversation, so he doesn’t know what was agreed and is causing all of the confusion. I suggest finding the person who did represent MMS in the conversation. If they can’t produce that person, then I am the only actual source. I was involved.”

When it’s past game start time and someone from the other team is coming to your bench, it should be obvious that he’s not there to reminisce about past games. He was there to talk about what to do about today’s game. If Raju was the team captain, he should have been talking with Verdasys about why only 5 people from his team showed-up, not meandering in the background.

Furthermore, it should be obvious that Verdasys team members Ryan Grimard and Usha Shama did not drive down to the field just to watch some birds fly. They came to play in a game. After it was announced the game was not official, they left to go do other things. They would have stuck around otherwise, especially Ryan.

“Did Verdasys Field a Legitimate Team?”

Without a doubt, MMS only had 5 players. Verdasys, on the other hand had 9: 8 guys and 1 gal. Two other ladies were supposed to show up, but turned back at the last minute. Had they come, Verdasys would clearly have had the minimum of 7 guys and 3 gals.

According to league rules, neither team had enough players to field a team, so both should take a forfeit.

However, it is not uncommon for a team that is short a player or two to still be allowed to play. In the leagues this writer has encountered, some sort of handicap is negotiated if a team is unable to deliver a certain number of players. For example:

  • If a team only has 8 players, then a “courtesy catcher” from the other team is provided. This catcher is there to catch pitches and does not make plays at the plate.
  • If a team is short a lady, they will be forced to field with one fewer outfielder and (depending on the situation) forced to take a phantom out in the batting line-up. Double that if two ladies are out.
  • A good example of these rules being obeyed in a competitive league is what happened in Game 11 of the 2007 season. The opponent only had one girl and 8 fielders, but still won!

    The point is, Verdasys had 9 players and thus had a bargaining chip they could present. MMS did not.

    Did MMS play a legitimate game?

    According to league rules, a game is official when:

  • Both teams have the required number of players, and
  • Lasts 4 or more innings
  • The game was ultimately a 6 on 7 match-up. (Recall that Ryan and Usha left.) Even if the two teams did agree to play a real game, it would not be exciting; a base hit into the outfield can easily lead to an ITP HR. Furthermore, the game only lasted 3 ½ innings until Verdasys said they had enough and left.

    While it is true MMS scored more runs, it should have been obvious that Verdasys did not see it as a legitimate game after Ryan and Usha left prior to the start of the game. Had Verdasys won this scrimmage game, Coach Wolan would not be so cheap as to call it an official league win. (If you don’t believe us, then we invite you to read the game summaries of the last 99 games coach Wolan was involved in. You will see that he is not afraid in taking a loss.)


    There was one other comment Raju made that is interesting:

    “I wasn’t aware of the 9-0 forfeit agreement, because we have not forfeited a game so far this season and if we wanted we could have definitely forfeited this one and not show up.“

    In other words, MMS knew they did not have enough players even before the start of the game. The courteous thing to do would be to alert the other team of their situation, not intentionally show-up shorthanded. Even Coach Wolan has enough sense to alert his opponent ahead of time if the team expects to be short-handed.

    Ok, so what is really going on here? What REALLY happened?

    So why is MMS all upset? The writing staff did some investigating and learned of an interesting story.

    According to the team captain of Milestones, both the M’s and MMS squared off in their first game of the season. Though MMS had at least the minimum of 10 players, the M’s only had 5. Per league rules, the M’s should have forfeited and the MMS awarded the win. However, the M’s offered to play a 5 on 10 match, but only if it were to count. MMS agreed.

    Even though the M’s were severely undermanned, they still managed to beat MMS with ease. In fact, MMS gave up after 4 or so innings of play! MMS was not happy by the outcome and protested the results with the commissioner.

    It is clear that MMS had a bone to pick in Game 6. They knew ahead of time that they were not going to have enough players at the game. Instead of alerting Verdasys of their situation, they showed-up shorthanded anyways. After all, if they were going to forfeit, why not take a chance and see what happens?

    Milestones group wronged MMS, so MMS tried to wrong Verdasys. Perhaps the take-home message is "Two wrongs don't make a right"?

    At the game, it is clear that a discussion for MMS to take a 9-0 loss instead of a forfeit was made. Perhaps if MMS “lost” the scrimmage game they would have honored that agreement? But MMS got lucky and held a lead in the scrimmage game until Verdasys lost interest and left.

    It was reported that some of the players on MMS were disappointed after Verdasys said they wanted to leave. Why? Perhaps they wanted the game to last longer so it could not be disputed for length. Perhaps they wanted to snatch a win from the jaws of defeat much like the M’s did to them. Or perhaps they were so hungry for a win that they would do anything for it?

    After the game, MMS reported the scrimmage game results as an official game victory. They did so knowing that Verdasys would report a 9-0 win. One could argue that they broke their agreement after realizing that Verdasys did not have enough women on their team, which means that they did NOT have to accept a loss.

    But if that was true, why not just report to the commissioner that neither team had enough people? This writer’s only guess is that MMS knew they were going to end-up taking a loss, so why not drag Verdasys with them for something they felt was “sneaky”? Or perhaps they felt they might get lucky and grab a win, much like how the M’s claimed one against them?

    Commissioner’s Ruling

    The commissioner issued a final verdict in the game. Since neither team could field the legal number of players including women in the batting order, the official decision has to be a forfeit for both teams. Thus a “double forfeit” was issued.

    As for MMS’ disputed match-up against Milestones, it is believed that a “double forfeit” was also awarded. This assumption is based on the number of wins vs. number of losses awarded for the 2010 season.

    Coach’s final word

    The commissioner is correct: if we just showed-up to the game with the correct number of women this would have been a no brainer. If MMS went to the commissioner and reported a double forfeit instead of a win, I would not have much of an argument.

    However, I am not happy with the way in which MMS handled this incident. They knew they would not have enough players, but said nothing. It’s bad enough that they wasted our time preparing for a game that never was. What really gets me is how they tried to claim a win after this ordeal. Do you know how much time I wasted on this matter so that what, MMS could force a double forfeit instead of just taking a loss? At least we had a team that could play a scrimmage game. They didn’t.

    Verdasys Softball will respect the decision made by the commissioner and will acknowledge that it not only denies Verdasys of their only win of the season, but that the decision puts Verdasys in last place of the division. However, because of how MMS conducted themselves through-out this ordeal, we at Verdasys Softball will not acknowledge the loss to MMS and will not log it internally or on our website. (We ended-up acknowledging the loss the following season because it’s fun telling people that we have a "double forfeit" in our loss portfolio.)

    Editor’s Notes: This is the writting staff's 100th game summary.

    Game 6 | Game 6s (Scrimmage)

    Andy Wolan is a reporter and photographer for Verdasys Softball. This story was not subject to the approval of the league or its clubs.