If the Unwritten Rules Are So Great, Write ’em Down

Baseball is such a romantic sport, people love it for so much more than just the sport itself. The ballpark is like a cathedral to many and as such some of the silly unwritten rules of baseball have become a religion.

Don’t flip your bat and taunt a pitcher you just took deep. Don’t try to hit a position player pitching with the same gusto you would a relief pitcher. Don’t run up the score. Pitchers have the right to exact justice when they’ve been wronged or the team has been wronged.

I could go on all day with this nonsense.

It just cropped up again the other night in the Twins and White Sox game. The Twins Broadcast didn’t like this 3-0 swing by Yermin Mercedes.

That wasn’t too much really. The announcer said he didn’t like it, but it didn’t seem like it was going to be a big deal, then in steps the White Sox manager Tony La Russa to make sure everyone on his team knows this won’t fly on his team.

None of the talk mattered because the next night…

And as if that wasn’t enough on this silly incident Tony La Russa was A-OK with it.

All of this because one team was getting blown out and threw a circus act on the mound yet somehow were surprised when they saw clowns under the big top.

I said in the headline if these rules are so great, let’s write ’em down. If they’re worth fighting for, let’s make them official.

I don’t really mean it, I’d much prefer everyone just grow up.

For instance, I’ve seen people lose their minds about Fernando Tatis Jr. flipping his bat after a homerun, but many of those same people praised Jacob Stallings after his.

This is a game.

Now, I’m a guy who prefers the way Barry Sanders acted after a touchdown than much of what I see today, but I’m not playing the game. I prefer when pitchers can pitch inside without worrying that an inside pitch that gets away will be seen the same as a dome seeking missal.

When did we lose the ability to tell the difference?

Enter Greg Brown…

No can of worms there.

You might as well hand Anthony Rizzo the batting crown right now, and invite every other player to hang over the plate.

I love this sport, but it’s desire to fix things that aren’t broken and break things that are fixed is unmatched.

Tell you what, if you don’t want guys to swing against your position player, don’t put him on the mound. Because if they still count the hitting stats, guys can’t be expected to just stand there. Maybe give a team losing by 10 runs in the 7th the ability to just say, game, and eat the loss. I mean if we’re saying because you’re losing the other team should stop trying it’s not a real game anyway.

Think that’s ridiculous? Honestly, I kinda do too, but I’m battling idiocy with more idiocy. No matter how chubby and adorable the player, you put him on the mound, he’s a pitcher. Tough.

Let’s take this to real life.

When driving, there of course are rules of the road. Most of you took a driving test, granted it might have been 40 years ago, but you took one. You know the rules for turn signals, and passing through a yellow light, moving over for ambulances, there are a ton of them.

Here in Pittsburgh, we have what’s referred to as the Pittsburgh left, it’s essentially a “rule” unwritten of course, where you gun it to make your left the second the light turns green and the opposing traffic just let’s it happen. Now, drive to North Carolina on vacation and try it down there. You’ll get beeped at and flipped off.

It’s an unwritten rule because it simply isn’t a rule. It’s very technically an unsafe practice that we assume the person across the way is in on. When they aren’t and start to go, we are the ones beeping and flipping off, like they violated a “rule”.

How about someone weaving in and out of lanes on I-279 and then when you catch up to traffic they wind up behind you. Don’t you sit back in your car seat and pump your fist a bit for seeing that person get theirs? How about when someone is flying past you when you yourself are speeding a bit then you see them pulled over down the road.

Point is we celebrate our victories, and the defeat of people we didn’t feel were following the rules every day, baseball is no different.

At some point, this is just a game, and warts and all players are going to have different ways of looking at situations. We either leave room for that, or we write them down and enforce them.

If coaches like La Russa are going to reanimate their corpse to coach into their 100’s it’s likely nothing changes.

I’m over it, just play baseball and shut up. Flip the bat, dance around like an idiot, run backwards if you want, but I’m not gonna cry if the dude get’s drilled in the ribs either, it’s always been part of the game, and unless we move to brain implants to decipher intent, it always will be. I’m sure Houston could use info like that somehow.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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