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Friday, June 24, 2022

Lethargy, sleeplessness and ‘general stupidity’: Inside Kangaroo Court, the complicated legal system at Orioles clubhouse

Inside a box above a table in the Orioles clubhouse, small slips of paper each hold the misdemeanor charges, awaiting the court’s decision – the Kangaroo Court. It is a system as old as baseball, often kept out of the public eye.

But for Baltimore, there is nothing to hide. Possible charges include being late for team meetings, missing the national anthem or sleeping in the clubhouse. Then there’s a special rule, which right-hander Jordan Lyles concocted: “General Foolishness (Area/Clubhouse/Anywhere),” it reads.

What comes under “common stupidity”?

“You know it when you see it,” said infielder Chris Owings.

It is part of an elaborate judicial system of a major league clubhouse, with a greater focus on laughter than actual discipline. Fines vary from $50 to $500, depending on the severity of the violation. When the court is in session, no one can speak unless called by a judge, and while a player can appeal against a charge, the penalty is doubled if the appeal is lost.

For as long as first baseman Trey Mancini has been with the Orioles, the Kangaroo court has not been setup. But he experienced it first at a youth baseball camp and then at Notre Dame — “You throw people out to do questionable things like this,” he laughed — and met many legends such as the Lyles, the catcher Robinson Chirinos and the Owings. In 2015, the system took shape in Baltimore this month, joining the Orioles for the first time on a recent road trip to St. Louis and Detroit.

He hasn’t even hit the court this season. But as the box gets heavier, containing about 20 slips of paper, that’s sure to come soon.

“The day we get them all out and read them, I’m sure it will be fun,” said first baseman Ryan Mountcastle. “It’s getting closer.”

When Mountcastle experienced kangaroo courts in the minor leagues, fines hovered between $5 and $20, a more reasonable amount for players that are far less than the majors. He may still be a little taken aback by the cost of the violations, so he has never named another player.

He knows he’s there, though. When he slipped into second base on May 8 and hurt his ankle, he assumed he was out. He went off the field until manager Brandon Hyde asked him to stay on the field. Right-hander Logan Glaspie could also appear on the Kangaroo Court when he threw the ball into the dugout from his first major league strike instead of saving his first strikeout ball.

“People are starting to, if they catch themselves, they’re a minute or two late to the meeting, they’re putting themselves in,” Mancini said. “It’s also been great. But more than that, it’s a fun thing to do for the team. Team empowerment. That’s the best part of it.”

The Orioles have yet to decide who will be the judge, although Lyles speculates that it will likely be himself or Mancini and that it will involve wearing a wig. There are also jurors who are elected to consider whether the player in question is guilty, leading to the imposition of a fine. All of the money deposited goes toward the end-of-season team dinner—a reward for the idiotic legal system that has infiltrated the Orioles’ clubhouse.

“It’s been a long season,” Lyles said. “People make mistakes and don’t use their brains very much and are called to it.”

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World Nation News Desk
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