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Deadspin - A Major League Pitcher's Guide to Baseball's BS Unwritten Rules

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None of the players passing along their wisdom seemed to realize that it was all completely arbitrary. No one came close to acknowledging, "You know, it's stupid and none of us know where it came from, and before we go fracturing some poor rookie's wrist because he looked too happy about going yard on a vet, we should really sit down and ask ourselves if the punishment fits the crime."

It is called policing the game and it 'came from' the beginning. Just like hockey.

Fracturing a wrist because a rook admired a HR too long does not fit the crime....how often does a rook have his wrist fractured compared to how many times he got stung in the back or the ribs or the butt?

It would be one thing if there were consistency across baseball—if everybody followed the same rules, then there'd be some de facto weight behind them. Instead it's 30 different teams with 30 different unwritten rulebooks.

They are all different teams with different personalities in the clubhouse and different skips at the helm. Why would we want them all to 'obey' the same unwritten rules? Baseball is not robotic...THANK GOD it is filled with individuals applying their own logic to games...THANK GOD.

"That suit stuff is the kind of thing the Yankees do, not the Padres."

Good.

When I was with the Jays, everyone was quiet in the presence of Roy Halladay. You got out of his way, didn't talk to him during his routine, and kept any conversations with him short. He was one star that set the tone for the whole locker room. When he was around, the organization talked about how everyone should emulate his work ethic and how it made the clubhouse a place of business. When he left, everyone talked about how his personality made the clubhouse a dark and moody place, and players need to know balance to succeed.

Roy Holladay? One of the best pitchers during that era? If not THE BEST...yeah let us NOT emulate that guy! LOL

Let's say a young player shows up on a club. He's a cocky, talented, overly expressive player. He's on a team where the management doesn't want to rein in its players' exuberance, and he's surrounded by older players that don't care about how much showboating you do, as long as you do your job, all of them saying things like, "You can act however you want as long as you do your job. All that matters is winning."

Now let's say that team goes up against a team where, when young players make it to the bigs, they're surrounded by veterans who think rookies should be seen and not heard, and if they step out of line, the older players are going to smack them back into it. Their chief tenet is, "You respect the game, you play it the right way, and until you've got three years in the show, you haven't done anything yet." What happens when that first team's young player admires his home run? Is it his fault if his opponents get pissed?

Yeah...it is. If the kid is too stupid to realize who he is playing and wants to stare down a HR...fine go ahead. Be ready for that team to most likely throw at you. Grow up and accept responsibility for your actions. Just because I knew in my house it was cool to walk around with my under wear on doesn't mean I am spending the night at a friends walking around in my underwear...I knew that as a 5 year old.

They'll perpetuate their received wisdom about what "playing the game the right way" entails, and on it will go, cycle after cycle, players learning to play the game correctly as first laid down by God knows who, with the nonbelievers being summarily shunned.

They will perpetuate it if they were successful and still in the game. It 'worked' for them...they are still around. Why not give another player the same treatment? This is not torture...it is MILD hazing....again grow a pair and stop whining.

If kids actually followed baseball's unwritten rules in everyday life, they'd end up in the principal's office or in juvie.

And if they tried body checking other kids or tackling them or any other thing from a sport in everyday life they would be in trouble.....so would I as an adult. What the hell does that have to do with what adults do in the MLB?

The Yasiel Puigs of the world are destroying America's pastime because they flip bats and jog with swagger?

Man this guy is a whiner. No he did not say 'destroying the game' he said:

bout how they're disrespecting the other team, and the game, and setting a horrible example for the youth.

Nothing about destroying the game there. Assume it all you want, but that is not what he said.

What a shabby, house-of-cards argument that can be demolished by anyone who remembers being a kid.

90% of HIS arguments in this commentary are shabby...he is right about that at least.

When I was young, looking for a role model, I liked guys like Ken Griffey Jr. I liked him because he was talented, but there were lots of talented players. What made him stand out to me was that he had the audacity to turn his hat backwards. He showed his personality. He had fun.

I she really trying to compare Griffey with Puig somehow? Griffey was HIGHLY respected and respected the game...Puig SEEMS like a thug/punk. Both GREAT players (Puig still needs a few years IMO), but really? That is the comparison he is going with? A hat backwards=what Puig does pretty much on the daily? <LOL gif inserted to demonstrate the hillarity of this>

laugh.gif

So here's Greg Dobbs, saying that when a young gun hits a homer and looks entirely too happy about it, the logical and correct response, the one that shows our youth how to handle disappointment, is to physically harm the perpetrator or his teammate.

Yeah pretty much. Suck it up Nancy.

Yes, if you go to the parking lot to fight a guy for pimping a homer, that's a sign of a man who respects the game. Whoops, no, sorry, that's the sign of an idiot and a criminal.

FINALLY the guy makes a good point. One that I agree with 100%. You DO NOT take the game outside the lines.

The problem is the jump he is making with the unwritten rules and this. That is not one of the unwritten rules. He is trying to demonize one by comparing it to the other as the same. they are not. Ask ANY MLB player what they think about that and 99% will say 'noway you take it outside the lines' (well everyone except maybe Grant Balfour...the tool), but he is making another horrid comparison to try and bolster his point.

How else can you rationalize breaking someone's wrist, hand, or skull with a beanball as an acceptable form of punishment? How else can you justify committing assault and battery as a learning tool?

How many times is this dude going to try and compare a ball to the ribs/butt/back to breaking someones skull or beating them up in the parking lot? Because news flash dude, they are not the same. The payback will 95% of the time result in a sore rib/butt/back...NOT a concussion or a beating in the parking lot. Nice try though.

Cubs catcher John Baker said baseball's frontier justice is OK because, unlike in other sports, you can't physically retaliate in-play. As if baseball would be a better sport, and a superior example to the youth it's ruining by its flagrant display of exuberance, if you could simply call time out and beat the **** out the player doing it.

It sure as hell would get rid of the behaviors in a hurry...one way or the other. That I can assure you. I do not condone it or think it is right, but yeah it would end the histrionics REALLY quickly if the guy doing it knew he had to fight the other guy after doing it.

After wishing he could take his frustrations out to the parking lot, Gomes likened baseball service time to ranks in the military, saying—and this highlights a real misunderstanding of how the military works—"the more you move up the ranks, the less the unwritten rules apply to you." As if a four-star general can unilaterally bomb a country he's not at war with, or rush in from left field to smash Yunel Escobar in the back during an argument that has nothing to do with him.

ANOTHER failed analogy...JHC this guy will not stop. I think I am going to make it my mission to expose this phony.

(Assuming he survives the barrage of behavior-adjusting fastballs sent at his head in the meantime.)

And there he goes AGAIN! LOL This whole thing is comical. How many fastballs are thrown at guys heads in the MLB a year? An ENTIRE year? Hundreds of thousands of pitches thrown a year...how many get up near the head? How many of those are intentional? LOL

But at no point did I think the proper response was to put another player's career or health in jeopardy because I made a mistake and the hitter did what he'd trained all his life to do.

Annnnnd again. Career in jeopardy? From what? Broken pride at getting beaned in the ***?

Awaiting the first TLDR comment.......come on...you KNOW you want to.

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I think he's referring to Clemens hitting Maybin on the wrist after Maybin took him deep in his first MLB game. (I don't remember if Maybin's wrist was broken.) I didn't like Clemens before and I liked him even less after that game.

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Yeah and I distinctly remember Griffey flipping off Sparky as he went to first after Sparky had him intentionally walked earlier in the game.

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I think he's referring to Clemens hitting Maybin on the wrist after Maybin took him deep in his first MLB game. (I don't remember if Maybin's wrist was broken.) I didn't like Clemens before and I liked him even less after that game.

It has happened. That whole diatribe was comparing something that happens RARELY to the everyday unwritten rules of baseball. They are not the same. That was my point.

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Yeah and I distinctly remember Griffey flipping off Sparky as he went to first after Sparky had him intentionally walked earlier in the game.

Did he really? lol

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Great article. Only thing that would make it better is if he addressed other stupid "rules" like not bunting to break up a no hitter or not stealing a base/taking an extra base with a big lead. Baseball's unwritten rules are nothing more than justifications for inflicting physical injury upon someone who hurt your ego by being better than you that particular moment.

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seems like the guys who need to "suck it up nancy" are the pitchers who give up a home run to a rookie and cant handle it so they nail him during his next at bat.

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seems like the guys who need to "suck it up nancy" are the pitchers who give up a home run to a rookie and cant handle it so they nail him during his next at bat.

Most handle it just fine...until the batter stares it down.

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Most handle it just fine...until the batter stares it down.

dont give up a home run then if you cant handle the batter watching it go out of the park, its a natural human reaction to want to watch. it seems like that unwritten rule comes from thin skin pitchers.

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dont give up a home run then if you cant handle the batter watching it go out of the park, its a natural human reaction to want to watch. it seems like that unwritten rule comes from thin skin pitchers.

Then the batters should have no problem with guys like Weaver or Balfour staring them down after a K?

The pitcher wins 7 out of 10 times. They do not grand stand after every good pitch or K.

It is showing up the other guy. Sometimes the other guy deserves it...most times he does not.

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Then the batters should have no problem with guys like Weaver or Balfour staring them down after a K?

The pitcher wins 7 out of 10 times. They do not grand stand after every good pitch or K.

It is showing up the other guy. Sometimes the other guy deserves it...most times he does not.

how is watching the ball go over the fence showing up the pitcher?

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How is it not?

Is being happy about something you did necessarily about showing the other guy up?

It is an honest question. It is seemingly always assumed the batter is doind what he does to embarass the pitcher. I've seen instances where that seems to be the case, but I've seen plenty of other HR trots that looked no different from the others that somehow isn't OK because a pitcher got into a twist about it because he did.

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And as to the suggestion that showboating is a recent development, Bouton talks about it in Ball Four, which chronicalled the 1969 season (45 years ago!), and according to at least some pitchers then, Dick Allen, Reggie Jackson and Frank Robinson were among the ***holes ruining the game with their general ***holery and needed to be hit with a pitch to be taught a lesson.

Bouton thought hitting a batter with a pitch was stupid and reckless, FWIW.

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Did he really? lol

Yes, and it was suggested by some in the Detroit print media at the time that Griffey was a punk.

Edited by Mr. Bigglesworth

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It has happened. That whole diatribe was comparing something that happens RARELY to the everyday unwritten rules of baseball. They are not the same. That was my point.

And his point that the potential harm done when it does happen, even if it is a remote chance, isn't worth the perceived self policing benefit.

He also thinks the threat of being hit with a pitch for excessive celebrating is too much a punishment for the crime.

Edited by Mr. Bigglesworth

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Because his interaction is with the ball and his success.... if a pitcher strikes out someone and pumps his fist going back to the dugout, that's far different than staring down the hitter.

I had a guy strike me out and show emotion and it made me feel good actually. We had a rival school, one that included a fight the previous year even among adults. So it was an emotional game. When he struck me out he yelled out. I was mad about striking out but my ego was higher since he was happy to have gotten me. We knew all of their players and they knew us.

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I agree with the article totally. I think unless the batter moonwalks around the bases with both middle fingers up, hollering to the pitcher about how the only thing he hit harder that day was the pitcher's mother, then it isn't anywhere near a big deal. The batter should be allowed to admire his work and be happy about excelling at his job. Just like the pitcher can dance on the mound, pump his fist, yell after a strikeout, or whatever he wants to do. Seems like an odd thing to be mad about but maybe I'm just too "new school".

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I agree with the article totally. I think unless the batter moonwalks around the bases with both middle fingers up, hollering to the pitcher about how the only thing he hit harder that day was the pitcher's mother, then it isn't anywhere near a big deal. The batter should be allowed to admire his work and be happy about excelling at his job. Just like the pitcher can dance on the mound, pump his fist, yell after a strikeout, or whatever he wants to do. Seems like an odd thing to be mad about but maybe I'm just too "new school".

I guess so because to me it is about respect. Seemingly; a long lost art of sorts.

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I agree with the article totally. I think unless the batter moonwalks around the bases with both middle fingers up, hollering to the pitcher about how the only thing he hit harder that day was the pitcher's mother, then it isn't anywhere near a big deal. The batter should be allowed to admire his work and be happy about excelling at his job. Just like the pitcher can dance on the mound, pump his fist, yell after a strikeout, or whatever he wants to do. Seems like an odd thing to be mad about but maybe I'm just too "new school".

Won't somebody please think about the children?

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I agree with the article totally. I think unless the batter moonwalks around the bases with both middle fingers up, hollering to the pitcher about how the only thing he hit harder that day was the pitcher's mother,...

I would pay to see this!

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