"Stealing signs" on a baseball diamond is a major no-no, even if there's little mention of it in the rulebook. It's part of the game's hallowed if unwritten "code," enforced only by watchful opponents.
Unfortunately for one allegedly overzealous subcircuit judicial candidate in Chicago, when it comes to stealing signs - real life campaign signage planted on people's lawns - there's not so much a gentleman's "code" as some very serious statutory law standing in your way.
Such is the predicament now facing Democrat Carl Boyd, who, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune, was arrested the day before he won a March 20 primary when police say they caught him trolling the streets, ripping off rival Chester Slaughter's campaign signboards and stashing them in his car.
Luckily for Boyd, the election went off before the story was made public and, none the wiser, voters handed him a decisive victory, with more ballots being cast for the alleged sign thief than the rest of the candidates combined.
Boyd, who is for now still set to run unopposed in November, faces misdemeanor charges of stealing the signs and a possible suspension from the Illinois bar.
Court hearings on the horizon, Boyd's lawyer told the Tribune yesterday he is confident his client, "a great guy," will be cleared of any alleged crime. Boyd himself has gone a step further, saying the cops lied in their report.
Whatever Boyd's fate, he might find some comfort in his alleged actions taking their place in a long line of political "dirty tricks."
Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., a close friend and longtime colleague of potential vice presidential nominee Sen. Marco Rubio, was accused in September, 2002, of running a truck full of his opponent's mailers off the road just minutes before the deadline to deliver its potentially damaging load.
Rivera, never charged, was elected to the statehouse the next day. A decade later, he's moved on to Washington, and in November is expected to win a second term as the Republican congressman from Florida's 25th district.
Carl Boyd's day in court - on the wrong side of the judge's bench - has been set for later this month.