No-rule-at-all is a good rule

Wiley A. Hall 3rd

October 16, 1990|By Wiley A. Hall 3rd

The following is of greater moment than you might think: There is still time for major league baseball to adopt my no-rule-at-all rule for this year's World Series.

The no-rule-at-all rule. It runs trippingly across the tongue, doesn't it? I ought to get it patented.

Put simply, the no-rule-at-all rule would call for major league baseball to adopt no rule at all to resolve the difference between the American and National leagues in the World Series.

As you know, NL pitchers hit, but pitchers in the AL are replaced in the batting order by a designated hitter. Each league claims its way makes for more exciting baseball.

Baseball has tried to reconcile the two rules in the World Series since the AL took the bats out of pitchers' hands in 1973.

For a long time, they would play by AL rules one year, and NL rules the next. This year, they play by the home park's rules. For instance, pitchers will be required to hit in the home park of the Cincinnati Reds. In Oakland, both teams will be able to use a designated hitter.

But under my proposal -- call it Wiley's Law if you like -- the league would make no attempt whatsoever to reconcile the two forms of play. The decision would be left to the individual managers.

As a matter of fact, the results could be interesting. Which would a manager choose? More offensive punch or greater maneuverability?

Granted, this is a unique approach to conflict resolution: Keeping your hands off. Minding your own business. Letting nature take its course. But bureaucrats and legislators everywhere should take note: The no-rule-at-all rule is suitable for all occasions.

* Meanwhile, down in Washington: Last Thursday, thCongressional Black Caucus summoned the Japanese ambassador to Capitol Hill and "demanded" the resignation of Japan's minister of justice, Seiroku Kajiyama.

Kajiyama, you recall, had said that a Tokyo brothel tended to "ruin the atmosphere" of its surrounding neighborhood in much the same way blacks ruined neighborhoods for American whites.

Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-7th, caucus vice chairman, told the envoy that the caucus' demand for Kajiyama's resignation is "non-negotiable." He warned that the group is prepared to call for massive boycotts of Japanese products if its demands are not met. Yesterday, the caucus scheduled a second meeting with the ambassador for Oct. 24.

The caucus may not have to call for massive boycotts, however. A lot of people have told me they already been avoiding Japanese products on general principle.

* And closer to home: Jo Ann Robinson, a history professor aMorgan State University, has provided some historical perspective on the school system's school-based management proposal that is too precious not to share.

She enclosed quotes in support of such a plan from administrators and advisory committees dating back to 1948.

In that year, for instance, superintendent William Lemmel suggested that each school form a "school community council in which the faculty and parents would help plan the city's educational program for each given school community."

In 1964, a Citizens School Advisory Committee called for much the same thing, noting that "the quality of education increases when citizens are given opportunities to participate in educational planning."

The Model Cities Pilot School Project recommended the same thing again in 1969, and a few years later, in 1972, superintendent Roland Patterson endorsed a similar proposal using almost the same words as his predecessor in 1948.

Robinson included excerpts from successive reports on school-based management by the Greater Baltimore Committee in 1982 and 1983.

And then she concluded with almost identical endorsements from the school-based management advisory committee of 1988 and the current public schools restructuring committee.

So, what are we to conclude from all of this?

First, that school-based management must be an awfully good idea since people have been begging for it since World War II.

And second, that the school system may have been doomed by some 1940s curse to a Twilight Zone of endless experimentation and study. So, although we might endorse this latest proposal and hope for its success, it might be wise that we not hold our breaths waiting for its implementation.

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