Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Baseball's Unwritten Rules

Anyone who follows baseball, has probably heard announcers and fans refer to the sport's unwritten rules. These are the sort of guidelines that backers say ensure that good sportsmanship is followed. I say hogwash.

There are many such rules that managers and players like to whine about whenever they feel their opponent has treated them in an unprofessional manner. Some of the rules are supposed to keep teams from running up the score. Others are supposed to protect the integrity of the game.

Cubs Manager Mike Quade is the latest to whine cry foul. Quade claims multiple teams have their own "rule book." The latest team to set Quade off is the Los Angeles Dodgers. Their offense was a steal attempt in the 5th inning with the pitcher batting and the Dodgers up 8-1.

Never mind that the Cubs threw the runner out at 2nd. The poor, poor pitiful Cubs knew that they had no chance of coming back, so why, oh why didn't the Dodgers know it, too.

Quade's other beef is with the Milwaukee Brewers. Outfielder Carlos Gomez had the audacity to steal two bases with his club up six runs. I guess the fact that the Brewers blew a three-run, 9th inning lead on Opening Day doesn't matter to Quade.

It also doesn't seem to matter to him and others who insist on the sanctity of these rules that no lead seems safe anymore. Maybe it's a vestige of the steroid era, or maybe it’s because of the more hitter friendly ballparks that have proliferated, but many teams have the capacity to score runs in bunches.

Maybe this code made sense when teams played for one run at a time and rarely hit home runs.

It seems to me that if players and managers are going to be paid (or overpaid many would say) they should play until the last out. How Quade and others can justify the idea that teams should stop playing because of a gentleman's code is mystifying.

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