Monday’s White Sox loss to the Toronto Blue Jays may have been urged on by whistles from the first-base coach, Daryl Boston.
And, it could make for a little fun for the rest of the series and the next time the two teams meet at Guaranteed Rate Field in July. It could also create some discomfort in the ears of players and fans.
Accommodating a shortcoming
According to an article by Colleen Kane with the Chicago Tribune, Boston never learned to whistle on his own. So, to accommodate his shortcoming, he simply bought a whistle to use while working as an MLB coach.
It appears that Donaldson was not having the whistle. After he hit his home run off of Reynaldo Lopez, Donaldson whistled back at the White Sox dugout.
Boston’s whistle, a Canadian-made Fox 40 (according to Kane), irritates not only Donaldson, but the Kansas City Royals have complained, too. This doesn’t deter Boston from using it. And, using it a little more when he knows it irritates opposing players.
Intentionally causing ear pain
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In fact, according to Kane,
"“Boston found out it bugged Donaldson and blew it before he stepped to the plate during the game.”"
It is easy to understand why a whistle in an enclosed ballpark like the Rogers Centre would be problematic – even with the crowds that they draw in Toronto.
Why use a whistle at all?
But most of all, it seems odd that an MLB base coach would need to use a whistle to get the attention of his players. Why wouldn’t the outfield simply look to the coach between pitches? They aren’t middle-school boys on the ball field. It seems like poor preparation on the part of the coach.
As someone who is easily irritated by the sounds of 4th-grade recorders, cheap plastic water bottles, and that damn drum in Cleveland, I can relate Donaldson’s frustration with an obnoxious whistle. And, as much as I hate to type this, It’s a bit “bush league” to blow a whistle during an at-bat, too – especially from a coach. Yes, it’s not against the rules, but it seems like it is against basic human dignity.
Other methods of communication
Sure, you can tell a guy he sucks or is overrated while he’s batting, but whistling just seems wrong. Not only is the sound irritating, but it seems insulting to all of the players on the field and the fans in the stands. And, if the opposing players are able to use it to their advantage – like Donaldson did – it might be time for Boston to retire the Fox 40 and use a more adult method of communication.
With all of the fear of sign stealing in today’s game, blowing a whistle seems to go against protecting signs. If the coach has to make noise to get the attention of certain players, the opposing team can use that whistle to start capturing signs. Isn’t there a better way?