There are many unwritten rules in baseball. The game has been around for over 150 years. As the game has evolved, some of these rules have gone by the wayside. Some of them still remain. Many baseball fans still remember the high socks and putting your head down after you hit a home run. These are the “old school” fans who recall with fondness Willie, Mickey, and the Duke.
The game has evolved. It is played by players who are more diverse in background and have grown up in a culture of showmanship. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Baseball is trying to sell its image and build its brand worldwide. If baseball wants to do that, then it will have to appeal to the millennial generation across the globe. Let’s look at a couple of unwritten rules that should be gone.
Not Bunting in a No-Hitter or a Blowout
Recently we saw a few of the Minnesota Twins players get a little riled up at Chance Sisco bunting in the 9th inning of a 7-0 blowout. Brian Dozier, the team’s All-Star second baseman and union rep, was particularly disparaging, as was Jose Berrios. Dozier brought up the point that the Orioles didn’t hold Ryan LaMarre on, which showed that they weren’t expecting the Twins to steal. The Twins didn’t steal but they still employed the shift against Sisco in the 9th inning. Yesterday, Dozier was being somewhat of a hypocrite by stealing second with two outs in the 9th inning of a 7-3 ballgame.
Yesterday, Andrelton Simmons bunted for a base hit against Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians in the 5th inning of a no-hitter. This, supposedly, is also a no-no. There were some Indians fans complaining, but no one from the team has spoken yet.
The question is, where do we draw the line? Should we? Shouldn’t we let the players play, and if a team is employing the shift or trying to take advantage of the advanced metrics that have become so prominent in baseball, shouldn’t we, as fans, encourage our teams to do what they can to combat that?
The Bat Flip
Jose Bautista basically started this argument in October of 2015. When he hit the home run off Sam Dyson in the playoffs, there was a huge backlash. Bautista has always had an attitude between the lines. He’s one of those guys who, if he was on your team you loved him, and if he was on the opposing team you hated him. Whatever your opinion may be, he had flare. MLB wants to promote the game and make it worldwide. This is the way to do it. Show some emotion. Let’s see some emotion, especially when hitting a go-ahead home run in the 7th inning of a tie game in the playoffs.
The Last Word
There are a few unwritten rules that players still hold to that are being excised out of the game. The thing to remember about baseball is that, unlike football, basketball, and hockey, you can’t directly go at players. In the other sports, you can fight or hit someone to exact your revenge. In baseball, you may have to wait for months or even years before retaliating. Sports figures are a superstitious lot and they also don’t forget transgressions against them. Retaliation has all but stopped in baseball, but there are still some that hold on to these antiquated rules. They need to be dropped and players need to get back to playing the game and having fun. It will make the game more enjoyable for the players and the fans, and isn’t that what baseball wants?