Thursday, June 4, 2009

Baseball's Unwritten Rules

Being a long time baseball player myself, i'm intimately aware of some of the more obvious "unwritten rules" of baseball. Mostly because, I've seen the fights and beanings that break out when you break them.

But I always love it when they come into play in the majors. Most recent example: Josh Beckett took a no-hitter into the 7th, but it was Gerald Laird's bunt attempt in the 6th that really set some people off. It went foul; Becket loss the no-no in the 7th and plunked Laird in the 8th. Upon hearing this I immediately thought two things:
- served him right getting hit for bunting
- Beckett threw at him on purpose

(as it turned out, he got hit with a 2-2 fastball, which pretty much means he wasn't trying to hit him. Had he gotten hit w/ a first pitch, or a 1-0/2-0 fastball ...different story).

This wasn't the worst recent example. Schilling had a perfect game broken up in the 8th by a bunt single in 2001 (as remembered by Rob Neyer's article). Lots of people up in arms about that situation.

Some other common "unwritten rules" in baseball. Most of these are only in place "... with a big lead."
- No stealing with more than a 5 run lead
- don't swing for the fences on a 3-0 with a big lead.
- Don't try to break up a double play hard unless the game is close
- Don't barrel over the catcher unless the game is close (think about Utley's "slide" into Flores where he nearly broke his leg last year).
- Don't do anything to show up a team that you're beating handily, in general.
- If you're not a bunt hitter, don't bunt to break up an historic pitching event (no hitter and especially a perfect game).

So, thoughts. Do you agree with unwritten rules and do you think a bunt attempt is a bush league way to break up a no-hitter?

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