Unwritten rules in baseball and their fallacies
Baseball is a very traditional sport and it is a fools errand to dispute the died in the wool traditionalists view on the sport; however, as Coach Gundy at Oklahoma State would say “I’m a man, I’m 40!” And as such, I need to call bull on my fellow curmudgeon on their sad devotion to the old ways.
1. Don’t talk about a no-hitter in progress
Ok if we want to talk about telling a pitcher or an active player about the no-hitter, I will give you that there could be some psychology that could influence the game. But, we live in 2018, there are no super natural forces that jinx, hex, vex, or anger the “gods of baseball” when we speak of such things. This is superstition or as I call it “Stupid-stition.”
I watched Chris Bosio’s no-hitter, I was there for King Felix’s perfect game against Tampa, and I recently watched James Paxton’s no-no. I talked about their games while in progress. Nothing bad happened. Seriously, no ill effects became of my conversations. Point 1 has been debunked.
2. With 2 outs do not steal 3rd base
This one is more difficult as it involves strategy. However, is the strategy completely founded? What if you have a Rickey Henderson, a Willie Mcgee, a Harold Reynolds, or a Dee Gordon? Well, the case is changed immensely as you have an A+ talent who can change the course of the game. If you have John Goodman or me trying to steal a bag, don’t do it. But if you have an elite player, put the game in their hands and put pressure on that pitcher. As Mr. Spock would say: it is only logical.
3. If a teammate is plunked then retaliate
There is are huge “ifs” here. If your teammate is a jerk and deserved it…let it go. If it was an accident, let it go. If it is a close game…let it go. In other words, some people deserve it, sometimes it was an honest mistake, and don’t jeopardize a win over an HBP.
Additionally, retaliating is dumb, if the pitcher really wanted to hit you in the head he would and there is nothing you could do about it. The occasional pitcher is wild and there is noting you can do about that. If you feel a pitcher has an agenda, you better be willing back up your end of the bargain.
4. Do not step on the pitcher’s mound
Ok I will side with the unwritten rules here. That is a dishonorable act. The pitcher’s mound is as the Melinials call it a “safe space” for the pitcher. It is holy. You do not step on it as one would not tug on Superman’s cape or spit in the wind.
5. Do not bunt during a no-hitter
Who says? This is a terrible unwritten rule. At the MLB level, you are paid millions of dollars to win. Granted if the game is 12-0 in the 9th inning with 2 outs, you might as well swing for the fences. However, if you are down just a couple runs and you can be the tying run on base, you need to do what you need to do to win the game. That pitcher is trying to take your paycheck away from you, you need to do what you can to win the game.
6. Do not rub yourself after being hit by pitch
In baseball, there is a moral code t be a ‘man’s man’ and not show any pain. I agree that you do not want to look like a diva; however, if you got hit on the wrist in game 20 of a 162 game season, you owe it to the team to take your self out and get the x-ray. Save the tough guy attitude for the playoffs when it matters.
7. Do not stare at home runs
Hogwash! Stare at your home run, you did a great job and you don’t need to spare the pitcher’s feelings. There is no reason to point at, yell at, or debase the pitcher directly; however, it is ok to be happy with what you did.
It is not your duty to make the pitcher feel better about themselves. For the sake of the length of the game, please do jog around the bases. As well, there is no need for an end zone celebration when you cross home plate. But, by all means take in your homer, there is only a finite amount you will ever get in life.
8. Sluggers do not bunt
The heck with that! Sluggers need to bunt when the time calls for it. For example, when Kyle Seager sees an enormous shift, he needs to lay a bunt to force the other team to play him straight up.
A slugger who is in a slump, maybe they should lay a bunt with a man on 2nd and zero outs. It will help his confidence knowing that he can help the team.
A slugger who also has speed, should consider the bunt as well. Often the 3rd baseman play very far off on right handed batters, it would behoove a righty slugger to lay a bunt and do what is best for the team, by getting on base.
9. Do not steal during a rout
Base stealing is a risk, but if you are losing, this may be the only way to get back into the game. If you are down by 12 runs in the 7th, by all means do what you need to do to get back in the game. If you are ahead, maybe call off the dogs just to end the game sooner.
This one depends also the level of play. If you are at the MLB level where the money matters, all bets are off. If you are a college team playing a lesser opponent, then maybe ease up. And if you are in beer league softball, lighten up and don’t steal–ever. But this is the Bigs, steal when you want, it isn;t your job to stop you, it is their job to stop you.
10 Dont step on the foul line when the inning ends
Ok this is the old “step on a crack, break your mother’s back” analog. And while this is seen as superstition, this is a clearly true and accurate unwritten rule. It is just plain dumb thing to do.
If you step on the foul line when taking or leaving the field, you invite disaster by stepping on the line. I have personally stepped on that foul line and bad things happened to me and my family. True story. So I shall never do so again and I advise you to never do so either.