Rewriting the Unwritten Rules
The best retaliation is playing the game.
Ahh the unwritten rules of baseball… you know those rules made up by the old school baseball crowd that support bunting runners over from first to second and sacrificing an out, although it decreases your run probability? Yes, those… Unfortunately, there are plenty of current and former ballplayers that stand by these “unwritten rules,” as if they’re written in the U.S. Constitution.
I’ll admit. I do support some of these “unwritten rules” — don’t talk about a no-hitter, don’t step on the base line coming on and off the field, etc. These are fine. Baseball is a superstitious sport, and every ballplayer knows and embraces that. Hell, Ben Gamel cracks open a Red Bull with his metal spikes and shotguns it every game. To each his own. Baseball is just different. That’s why we love it. If you don’t believe me, peep here:
There are these other rules that REALLY irk me. The first is don’t bat flip. Sorry, but you can stop watching if you don’t like bat flips. I’ll use the argument narrow-minded nimwits use in Twitter mentions, arguing how players should be paid less. It’s just a game. EXACTLY (even though I care about this game maybe a little too much). Games are fun. These guys get to play a game for a living, so how come they have to act like they’re giving a formal business presentation to the crowd? News flash: they don’t. Bat flip a single. Bat flip a double. Bat flip a homer. Hell, bat flip a walk, for all I care. If you’re passionate about your performance, and it isn’t hindering your play, I’m all for it.
The second is throwing at a batter after he gets a hit off you, or much like yesterday’s White Sox/Royals game, hitting a batter after he celebrates a hit or home run. This is dumb for a plethora of reasons:
1. You risk the injury of another player, so you can throw a tantrum because you didn’t do your job as well as that other player. MLB pitchers can mostly throw over 90-100 MPH. When they target a hitter, they’re using a weapon. I say if a pitcher throws at a batter, that batter should be able to charge the mound with his bat. This is a new unwritten rule, guys, so it must be followed!
2. You let emotions control the game in a negative manner.
3. You risk the possibility of players being ejected by umpires. This can unfairly impact one team more than the other (i.e. Tim Anderson being HIT BY A PITCH AND BEING EJECTED). You change the trajectory of the game and potentially have an imbalance of talent ejected from the game. See my fellow writer Pat Comiskey’s blog on Joe West ejecting Anderson.
4. You put a man on base and put your team in a worse position than before that at bat. This is just stupid. If I recall, baseball teams win by scoring runs. Baseball teams score runs by putting men on base. You’re doing the opponent a favor by plunking him!
The third “unwritten rule” I cannot stand is retaliating by throwing at a batter, after your teammate just had the same thing happen to him. I get baseball is an emotional game, but isn’t it a little counterintuitive to try to potentially injure an opponent when they did the same thing to your teammate? Well, if you want people to act like professional adults and not bat flip, maybe you should do the same and pitch the ball.
The best retaliation is playing the game. Try to get your opponent out if he bat flips on you. Strike him out. Then Moonwalk, Millie Rock, and take out your phone to call your mom after you do. This is a way better way of getting back at your opponent. I’m all for an occasional brawl. The Barrett/Pierzynski fight is an iconic memory I will never forget. Heck, I side with anyone who defends himself by charging the mound or sticking up for a teammate, but don’t let the “unwritten rules” of baseball, enforced by the “fun police” ruin the great GAME we all adore.
Featured Photo: Chris Tejada (@FotoGenocide_)