Let’s set the scene for you …
At Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre was ejected from the team’s game against the San Francisco Giants. Bench coach Bob Schaefer, the Dodgers’ second-in-command as it were, also had been ejected leaving batting coach Don Mattingly in charge of the team for the game’s final innings.
Mattingly has been around baseball for decades and he well knows what most baseball fans also know – a coach or manager only can visit a given pitcher on the mound once; on the second visit, the pitcher has to be removed from the game. Mattingly went to the mound to talk to All-Star reliever Jonathan Broxton and the rest of the LA infield, took two steps off the mound then turned back apparently to answer a question asked by first baseman James Loney.
The problem? As soon as Mattingly stepped off the mound, his first visit was complete; when his foot hit the dirt again, that now was his second visit. Out of the dugout sprang Giants manager Bruce Bochy to make sure the umpires knew what what just taken place. After a conference, out of the game came Broxton.
Visiting a pitcher during the course of a game is a very basic, very uncomplicated act. And if a manager does it incorrectly it can have dire consequences, at least as dire as can be when dealing with a game.
Real estate runs the same way. As I’ve said in this space many times, you don’t necessarily need a real estate agent to sell your home. Some of the marketing that I complete for my listings can be done by someone else willing to pay for a shared hosting account, photo tour software through Real Estate Shows and with the time to put all of it together.
Similarly, buyers don’t necessarily need their own agent. They can rely on the honesty of the listing agent, knowing all the while that the listing agent represents the seller and has absolutely no responsibility to the buyer outside of the Code of Ethics’ fair dealing clause (which has been known to be trampled even in deals involving two agents.)
As long as everything is done correctly there are no issues. But when something goes wrong, such as a foot put out of place at the wrong moment in time, the circumstances can be dire and can cost real money.
Look through Trulia Voices any given day and you’ll see question after question asking for advice about a purchase contract already signed (questions better saved for the buyers’ agent, but I digress) when these questions are little different than asking how best to contain an elephant in your backyard after it’s rampaged through the house. Good question, just asked way, way too late.
If not all agents fully understand the contract, would you reasonably expect someone buying or selling a home for the first time in years to know the particulars? (Which brings up a side note I’ll have to expand upon later … for all the talk of how consumers want agent rating systems, talk usually started by the companies who are trying to put these ratings together, how are you going to rate someone’s knowledge of the purchase contract? Shouldn’t that matter maybe a little bit?)
Don Mattingly, a 30-plus-year veteran of the game, knew the rules and broke them without realizing it had been done. Would you sitting in the mezzanine having never before coached or managed been able to avoid the same pitfall if you were in his shoes?
Postscript: Here’s the most interesting part of all, at least to me. The umpires got it wrong, too. There’s a little-known codicil to the two-visit rule which, if enforced correctly in this case, would have left Broxton in the game to face the next hitter before being removed. Mattingly also would have been ejected, leaving the Dodgers with Vin Scully running the show as best I can tell.
Umpires are drilled incessantly about all details of the rule book before, during and after the season (they also presumably are told the difference between fair and foul, out and safe but that’s another story.) Not one of the four had any idea that they were misinterpreting the rule that Mattingly didn’t realize he’d broken.
The moral … if it’s not easy for the experts, why expect it to be easy for the general public?