Letter: ‘He got away with it for the first inning ….’

Deflategate has nothing on West Marin softball …

Yesterday I heard Jerry Rice interviewed. Asked if he ever heard of anything like Deflategate before. He said “No.” Neither had I until I remembered:

Thirty-three years ago we formed the West Marin Slow-Pitch Softball League.

The home team was required to provide two, new-in-the box softballs per game. The umpires were required to monitor their use. As you can imagine, in practice, new-in the-box became new-out-of the-box to best available, subject to visiting managers’ approval. In time, compliance slacked, but as both a team manager and league umpire—no potential conflict-of-interest there—I was hyper-vigilant.

One game I umpired, the manager of The-Home-Team-Most-Likely tried to slip in a Restricted-Flight Softball when the visitors, a team of heavy hitters, were up, then replace it with the non-restricted model after his team retired the side. He got away with it for the first inning, but suspecting something was wrong, I called him on his “mistake” and checked the ball before he could do it in the second. For the rest of the game I required him to have me approve the ball before he tried to enter it in the game.

As I recall he made Belichick and Brady seem contrite and cooperative.

Elliott Kolker, Stinson Beach

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