All of Baseball’s Unwritten Rules
Plenty has been written about young San Diego Padres phenom Fernando Tatís Jr. hitting a grand slam on a 3-0 pitch while his team was up 10-3 last week. Opposing Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward chirped about the incident, calling it a violation of “baseball’s unwritten rules” and chiding Tatís for his actions. Aside from the fact that this was Tatís’ first Major League grand slam or that he is one of the hottest players in baseball right now… he eventually apologized for ignoring the take sign and swinging away at the pitch.
Which made us start thinking of “baseball’s unwritten rules.” What exactly are they? Some are well-known, like never talk to your pitcher if he is working on a no-hitter. But what about the other rules? The big question is – Is baseball really such a traditionalist sport anymore? It certainly has changed a lot since veteran catcher Carlton Fisk yelled at flashy rookie Deion Sanders for drawing a dollar sign in the batters' box and not running out a pop-up back in 1990. (Sanders was hitting .100 at the time).
But given the amount of cheating, scandal, and behind-the-scenes drama that baseball has endured throughout the years, is swinging at a 3-0 pitch really that bad?
In 1998, steroids ran the game. In 1986, Dwight Gooden missed the Mets’ World Series parade due to a cocaine binge. And, in 1997, David Justice had multiple affairs while married to Halle Berry. Like flawless, beautiful, talented Boomerang-era HALLE BERRY. That to me is a bigger problem than Tatís Jr. trying to put some distance between the Padres and the Rangers…
More and More Controversial Issues
As the baseball elites argue for the sanctity of the game, I find myself recalling more and more controversial issues. What about Keith Hernandez drinking beer in the clubhouse? Barry Bonds' mistress coming forth and claiming he repeatedly spoke to her about his steroid use and that his testicles had shrunk to the size of peanut M&M’s. Pete Rose betting on his OWN TEAM for crying out loud… And the infamous 1973 announcement by the Yankees’ Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson that they were SWAPPING WIVES.
Yes, these two pitchers held a press conference where they announced that their wives and kids would be switching houses and moving in with the other man. Kekich’s wife, Susanne, moved in with Peterson, and Peterson’s wife, Marilyn, moved in with Kekich. MLB commissioner Bowie Kuhn said that he received more complaints about this incident from fans than he did for enforcing the rule of the designated hitter. Three months later, Kekich and Marilyn split up. Peterson and Susanne are still married to this day. Crazy right? Wife-swapping? HOW HAS THIS NOT BEEN MADE INTO A FILM?
So go ahead and bat flip if you feel like it. Toss your helmet off like Bryce Harper when you run the bases. Swing at a 3-0 pitch while you’re up seven runs. Especially if you are 21-years-old and the future of the game. Baseball’s unwritten rules are still out there, but in a league where players regularly chew tobacco products during a game, criticizing a young superstar for his actions seems a tad hypocritical.
In the meantime, play Run the Table this week. I’m announcing that Justin Verlander and I will be swapping wives. What’s happening, Kate Upton? You ever date a game show host?