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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Writing down baseball's unwritten rules

The past few days, we've heard a new round of debates about baseball's so-called "unwritten rules.'' They are the things that aren't written down anywhere and, technically, aren't against any rules. But tradition and sportsmanship suggests you just don't do it. So here's one take on just a few of baseball's unwritten rules.

Bunting to break up a no-hitter
If it's before the seventh inning, no one should have an issue of trying to bunt while the other pitcher has a no-hitter or perfect game. There's too much game left. After the seventh, it gets dicey. If the score is 1-0 or 2-0, getting on by bunting would bring the winning or tying run to the plate. Who should have a beef with a team being more concerned with winning than helping boost the other guy's resume? Rays manager Joe Maddon said he wouldn't have had a problem with a player bunting in the ninth during Dallas Braden's perfect game last Sunday. But the score was 4-0 then and, at that point, it seems like it should take more than a bunt to bust up the perfect game.

Arod Crossing the pitcher's mound
The Yankees' Alex Rodriguez was called out recently by A's pitcher Dallas Braden for running over the pitcher's mound on his way back to first base even though Braden was not on the mound at the time. Is this even an "unwritten rule''? Former Mets star Keith Hernandez told the New York Times, "I don't know if there is an unwritten rule, but I would never do that.'' Here’s a question: If Derek Jeter instead of A-Rod had done this, would there have been an uproar? Then again, I get the feeling Jeter would not have done this.

Sign Stealing signs
One might argue that stealing another team's signs is cheating. The other side would say that if you don't want your signs stolen then do a better job keeping them secret. The best reason not to do it is it could be dangerous. If you misread the sign and a hitter thinks a curveball is coming, he's liable to catch a fastball with his face. And if the other team suspects that you're stealing signs, then a hitter is ... liable to catch a fastball with his face.

Stealing with your team way ahead
You don't run with a huge lead late in the game. Trying to score more runs when you're already up 10-0 in the eighth inning is like throwing bombs in football with your team up by five touchdowns. You're just trying to run up the score and embarrass your opponent. There are too many games during a season and what comes around, goes around. Right or wrong, the other team might get angry enough to plunk one of your hitters. Is it worth risking that just to win by 11 runs instead of 10?

Rod Yelling at an opposing player on a pop-up
A-Rod did this, too. Back in 2007, as A-Rod was passing Blue Jays third baseman Howie Clark during a pop-up, he yelled something at Clark. Thinking it was shortstop John McDonald, Clark backed off and the ball fell for a hit. That's just bush-league. Players have their eyes to the sky. They're trying to avoid colliding (and possibly injuring one another) while trying to make a catch. And because so few out there are actually a big enough weasel to do something like this, it's no wonder opponents are easily duped. Plain and simple, this is cheating.

Posing after a home run
Not cool, but so many players do it these days that as long as you don't stand at home long enough to start getting mail delivered there, it seems to be (sigh) acceptable. But, pitchers should be allowed to pose on the mound after every strikeout. Fair is fair.

Agree? Disagree? Is there such a thing as unwritten rules? Which ones are on your list of baseball taboos?

[Last modified: Monday, June 14, 2010 2:44pm]


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