When the Mets decided Tuesday to institute a kangaroo court for this year’s club, it was more significant than simply adopting one of baseball’s time-honored traditions. And more than just a gag, too.
After a decade of clubhouse factions, divided loyalties and too much losing, the Mets finally have the self-esteem to start policing themselves, and are comfortable enough with each other to do it in a joking manner.
“If guys want to get lazy, or do their own thing or get on their own plan, so to speak, we have guys watching and they know they’re going to get fined,” said Tom Glavine, who was appointed judge based on his 18-year seniority. “It kind of keeps everyone in line in a fun way. It speaks to the camaraderie of the team that guys are willing to sit down for a while, bust on each other and have fun.”
(Chief Justice Tom Terrible wonders if he’ll have to fine himself $35 million)
The details may differ from club to club, from college teams to the major leagues, but the premise is the same for every kangaroo court. During the season, anyone who sees an infraction writes it down on a slip of paper and stuffs it into the court-specified box. When the box is full, Glavine calls the court into session, and the crimes are read aloud to the entire clubhouse.
The accuser must have at least one witness, and the defendant can fight the charges rather than immediately pay up. But if he loses the case, Glavine can then increase the dollar amount for wasting the court’s time. Everyone is included — the medical staff, the coaches, even Randolph — but a person’s salary is taken into account when the fine is determined.