After a few weeks that saw the Chicago Cubs handle any type of ball hit in play by the opposition like the proverbial hot potato, Major League Baseball has banned the use of the word “routine” from the broadcast of any Cubs game in 2013, as it relates to a Cubs player attempting to field a batted ball.
Announcers are still allowed to use the word to describe such events as a Cubs hitter grounding into a routine double play or striking out with runners on base, for example. Broadcasters caught using the word in an inappropriate manner face a $500 fine and/or suspension.
“Based on the Cubs fielders’ ineptitude so far this season, we felt the home viewer of these games was being misled by, say, Len Kasper calling a fly ball hit directly at Alfonso Soriano a routine fly and then having that ball bounce off Soriano’s forehead and into the stands,” said commissioner Bud Selig. “It’s become an epidemic with this team and we want the fan at home to get a more realistic sense of the game from those professionals calling the action over the airwaves.”
Last week alone, despite a modest three-game win streak, the Cubs committed 85 errors leading to 112 un-earned runs, looking like a team of five-year-olds playing their first game of whiffle ball. Manager Dale Sveum was unable to explain how a club of supposed adults skilled in the trade of baseball could lack the basic motor skill of closing the glove on a fly ball or the aim to throw a ball anywhere close to a base to secure a force out.
Cubs radio play-by-play man Pat Hughes has decided that instead of the word routine, he’ll use such terms as “impossible,” “tricky” and “LOOK OUT!!!!” during his game-calling.