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Sitting on bench takes on new meaning

Special for the Republic

By Brian Anderson

July 9, 1998

I guess you could say that I've always had an inquisitive mind.

I'm always thinking about why things are the way they are and if they seem illogical, to try and change them.

When I was a kid, I would always try to argue my way out of things. My mother said, "You ought to be a lawyer."

I didn't become a lawyer, but I did become a judge, at least for a day in our team's Kangaroo Court, which we have every couple of weeks or so.

In the court, players, coaches and other guys with the club are accused of various offenses, then judged and fined. It kind of uses humor to create a bit of team unity.

Fines are levied for not having our "A" logo showing on our stirrups, too much allegiance to a former team or too much fraternization with the opponents, or doing stupid kinds of things. But there always has to be evidence and/or a witness to help bring the charges.

Our four veteran players - closer Gregg Olson, center fielder Devon White, third baseman Matt Williams and shortstop Jay Bell - usually serve as the judges.

Fines usually start at a few bucks but could go higher, depending on the offense. All the money goes into a big pot and builds to the end of the season. I'm not sure what will happen to the money, although we could have a heck of a party - maybe hire Guns N' Roses to play.

Like I said earlier, I'm inquisitive and speak my mind - i.e., argue. So I recently started talking about the way the judges were handling something or other, so they fined me for insubordination and decided to let me be the judge - you know, "OK, kid, it's all yours."

Doesn't it figure that when I was the judge, Manager Buck Showalter was brought up on charges. I was kind of caught in the middle. I sort of had to fine him, but there were some guys who thought I was too lenient. I figured it was probably all over for me, so I told the equipment guys that they'd better pack my stuff so I could head to Triple-A Tucson.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I'll probably get fined for talking about this, about being the judge. It will be a heavy offense. But what the heck.

I kind of wonder what it would be like to switch jobs with a judge for a day.

Wearing the long robe would be interesting. Maybe I could put our logo on it, or have different-colored ones for different days, like we do with our uniforms.

Maybe I could wear one of those white wigs like they do in England. I probably need one now, anyway, with this haircut I just got. I apologize to all the people who are offended by it. It's horrendous.

I went into a walk-in place in Houston and the person who cut it had no idea. I guess I was too trusting. She said, "I think I got it about an inch shorter on one side." Real nice. I guess the line on the side of my head is a dead giveaway.

If we did switch jobs and a judge took my place on the mound, he'd probably fake an injury so he could collect disability. I don't think there are too many judges who are very athletic. I don't think they could throw the sinker.

When my pitches stop working, hopefully later rather than sooner, maybe I could become a judge for real.

See you on The People's Court.

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