Big League Stew - MLB

Perhaps I've been wildly misled about this whole jail thing, but I was under the impression that being behind bars and missing out on the simpler pleasures in life was pretty much the whole point of being punished.

To my surprise, that's apparently not the case in Iowa. On Wednesday, a judge in Van Buren County let Randy Barker out of jail so that the 'diehard' Red Sox fan (right) could go see Boston's 9-2 win in Kansas City with his father and brother.

Barker had been in the middle of serving two concurrent 10-day jail sentences for violation of a protective order on another man in Keosauqua  — the Des Moines Register has all the details — but magistrate Benny Waggoner still thought it'd be OK for the family to pick up Randy, use the tickets they had purchased earlier and then return him after seeing Josh Beckett(notes) up close.

(No word on whether or not Barker was able to get a few orders of short ends and a large strawberry soda from Gates Bar-B-Q — which would quite possibly be my last meal on Earth if I ever found myself on death row — before heading back to Iowa.)

Here's what Barker's court-appointed lawyer, Margaret King, said in court documents:

"These ball games are among the few pleasures the defendant has in life. He had been looking forward eagerly to attending this game with his family,"

Look, I'm not one of those people who think the American penal system should turn toward the Gulag, nor do I think this guy should be breaking rocks like Jean Valjean.

But letting a guy out of jail so he can go keep score at Kauffman? Yeah, I think that pretty much defeats the purpose of putting someone in jail. Actions have consequences and sometimes those consequences mean staying in smalltown Iowa and not being able to see a relatively meaningless baseball game in big time Kansas City. In a state that's full of Cubs fans with easy access to Chicago, this is a heckuva precedent to set.    

Since I sound like my third-grade principal, I'll stop right there.

At any rate, Mr. Barker's mugshot presents a lot of Photoshop possibilities and the devil inside me thinks we should hold a contest à la Puck Daddy's Gloating Bruins Fan. Send any and all imaginings of Barker's night at the ballpark to Once we gather enough submissions, we'll put 'em together in a post. Go forth, creative Stewies!

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