The great thing about baseball is that it is constantly changing. The latest innovation was when baseball commissioner Bud Selig ordered Atlanta relief pitcher John Rocker to have psychological testing for cussing out New York fans in Sports Illustrated. Everyone agrees that Rocker did not use politically correct language when describing the people who sit in Shea and Yankee stadiums.
His remarks tilted toward racism when they made fun of New Yorkers who have green hair.
The commissioner had to do something drastic to put out the fire. The real problem is that New York baseball fans are the most verbal of any in the world of sports. They pay big money to cuss and yell at the opposing team. They have even been known to pour draft beer on the visiting teams as they come out of their locker rooms.
That's not the least of the problems. The commissioner has now ruled that if a player retaliates against home fans, he has to go to a psychiatrist.
Almost everyone who has been there agrees that if the opposing player uses the same language as the fans, his sanity should not be questioned.
If a pitcher tells the fans where to go, then psychiatrists have to assume he is sane.
Only a baseball player who says nothing and rubs dirt on his uniform when booed should have his sanity questioned.
The Atlanta citizens who support Rocker maintain that if the players have to be tested, New York fans have to be tested as well.
These are some of the test questions fans would be asked as they go into the park:
* Do you hate the Atlanta Braves as much as you do Lyme disease?
If the answer is yes, you're okay.
* When was the last time you wanted to kill the umpire?
Any answer will make you sane.
* Do you believe in the death penalty for someone who tries to steal second base?
This question doesn't deserve an answer.
* The pitcher is on the mound; bases are loaded. It's three balls and two strikes. Suddenly a voice from the stands yells, "Your mother can't even cook meatballs." Does the pitcher throw the ball at the plate or the person in the stands?
It's your call.
* What would you do with the tobacco in your mouth when you wanted to say something to a person in the stands?
* The man sitting next to you is a stranger. He says, "John Rocker not only doesn't know how to take the 7 train to get to Shea Stadium, but he also doesn't even know how to pitch when he gets there." The correct response should be: "I can't comment about that. I'm his psychiatrist."
(C) 2000, Los Angeles Times Syndicate