What Are the Rules? by author Tony Candela – 03/14/2022

What Are the Rules? by author Tony Candela – 03/14/2022

What Are the Rules?


By Tony Candela


The opening verses to a classic social consciousness song of the Great Depression go like this:


They used to tell me I was building a dream

So I followed the mob.

When there was earth to plow or guns to bear

I was always there, right on the job.


They used to tell me I was building a dream

With peace and glory ahead…

Why should I be standing in line, just waiting for bread?


(“Brother Can You Spare a Dime?”, Jay Gorney, Yip Harburg, 1932)


The heroes of World War I came home to a lot of hope for a better world. After all, the war to end all wars had been fought and won and America was the deciding factor. Health and wealth were the American dream and a culturally-bound promise. The Great Depression shattered their and everyone else’s dreams and the bread line was the reward for their efforts. The rules were broken. This week the news was filled with two other rule-changing events, the war in the Ukraine and the Major League Baseball Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations. The Russians are making a mockery of not only the Geneva Convention, but common decency when they bomb, missile, and mortar schools, apartment buildings and hospitals and when they renege in surprise-attack fashion on cease-fire, safe passage agreements. Of course the biggest one was the rule they broke when they invaded the Ukraine to begin with. Some people are seriously talking about new cease-fire and perhaps even war-ending agreements. I hope they are successful.


Meanwhile and much more fun, Major League Baseball will eliminate the defensive shift, a maneuver that permits infielders and outfielders to move to positions on the field where batters are known statistically to hit the ball. This cuts off a lot of hits and squelches the offense. Americans love offense, so this rule-change should result in more hits, on-base action, and runs. Another rule designed to bring more offense is the designated hitter rule which the National League will adopt at least for a year. This has historically enabled poor hitting pitchers to be replaced in the offensive line-up with good hitters. In another rule change, they will eliminate the ghost runner during extra-inning games in the post season. The runner on second base rule was designed to shorten games by gifting the team at bat with a runner in “scoring position” at the beginning of an extra inning. Also, next year, they will institute a pitch clock. When no one is on base, a pitcher must deliver a pitch to the batter in 14 seconds; if runners are on base, 19 seconds are allotted. In addition, they will make the bases bigger so runners attempting to steal a base will have more material for their foot or hand to contact when sliding in. Finally, although they are trying to solidify a standardized strike zone, they voted down for the time being the robo-umpire. This contraption has been experimented with in certain minor and professional leagues, but MLB is not ready for them yet. I still need to get through March Madness, an aspect of college basketball I truly adore, but my first love has always been baseball.


Speaking of love, I leave you with this quote from a song by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black, and Charles Hart from the musical “Aspects of Love (1989):


Off into the world we go

Planning futures, shaping years

Love bursts in, and suddenly

All our wisdom disappears

Love makes fools of everyone

All the rules we make are broken

Yes, love, love changes everyone

Live or perish in its flame

Love will never, never let you

Be the same


Anthony R. Candela, Author


Saying aloud what should not remain silent.


Stand Up Or Sit Out: Memories and Musings Of a Blind Wrestler, Runner, and All-around Regular Guy

A memoir about life lessons learned, especially through sports


Vision Dreams: A Parable

A sci-fi novella about how a dysfunctional society forces people to go to extremes, including four blind people who seek out artificial vision.


Christian Faith Publishing, 2019




Tony Candela has worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor, supervisor, manager consultant and administrator for more than 40 years in the field of blindness and visual impairment. His work has included promoting literacy and employment of blind persons and a special interest in enhancing the career preparation of blind persons who wish to work in the computer science field. He is a “retired” athlete, loves movies, sports, reading, writing, and music, including dabbling in guitar. Read more at



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