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Who wrote the unwritten rules?
A bunch of bitter old white dudes named Corny and Cletus or some crap
The greatest player ever traded for James Shields (sorry, Mike Montgomery), Fernando Tatis Jr. set off a firestorm of tedious arguments about baseball’s dumbassed unwritten rules when he (gasp!) swung at a 3-0 pitch and hit a grand slam with a seven run lead.
So what? So here’s another tedious argument about baseball’s dumbassed unwritten rules.
Not really. I just want to figure out who wrote these rules so sacrosanct that nobody dared write them down. Wait, what? Why are there rules that nobody had the good sense to even save them on a piece of paper?
What are the unwritten rules anyway? As far as I can tell they consist of:
Stop trying to score runs when you’re kicking the shit out of another team, even though the object of the game is to kick the shit out of other teams and since baseball has no clock to run out and in theory no lead is ever actually safe, it makes no sense to stop scoring, ever.
Don’t steal bases when you’re kicking the shit out of another team because…uh, the catcher is probably tired from having to squat so much while his team is getting walloped? Actually, I think I can make a half-assed defense of this one. It’s nice to keep force plays in order so if the batter hits a grounder maybe they’ll turn a double play and we can all go home sooner.
If a guy on your team gets hit by a pitch, your pitcher has to hit somebody on the other team or he’s a wimp, and then one of this teammates gets to punch him in the dugout.
Similarly, if a guy on your team gets hit by a pitch, he gets to spike the shit out of the second baseman or shortstop when he runs to second base. Wait, how many guys have to get hurt just because a pitcher hit somebody with a pitch?
If your fans golf clap sacrifice bunts and occasionally give a mildly polite clap when an opposing pitcher shuts their team down, they get to wear the much coveted banner (with matching gold trimmed bib overalls) of Best Fans in Baseball™. They get to do that even if they have a very long (and ongoing) history of being horribly racist, because, well, Bob Costas said they were the best once on an NBC Game of the Week.
You can’t bunt to break up a no-hitter, even if it’s a 1-0 game in the eighth or ninth inning and the object of the game is to get on base so somebody can drive you in to take the lead or tie the game. The reason for this is apparently that it makes Bob Brenly really mad, even though after listening to him announce Cubs games for seven years, pretty much everything makes Bob mad. Ten years after Ben Davis broke up a Randy Johnson no-hit bid with a bunt in a 1-0 game, Bob was still pissed. Seems healthy.
Don’t bat flip or stand at home plate and watch homers. Which, our dearly beloved and dearly missed Luis Valbuena always said, “fuck that” to. (It’s really the dumbest ‘unwritten’ anything, ever.) Bat flips are cool, and if you hit a ball really far, you shouldn’t just be allowed to stand and admire it, it should be mandatory.
You are never supposed to talk about a no-hitter while it’s in progress. This one has really gotten out of hand. I grew up understanding this one to be that nobody on the pitcher’s team mentions it, not to him, not to each other. But it has somehow turned into something that is supposed to also apply to the announcers? How dumb is that? There’s a reason Pat Hughes says he’s “reporting from Wrigley Field” or wherever he is. The announcers’ job is to tell us, the listener or viewer what’s going on. Not mentioning a no-hitter to the audience seems like not doing your job, doesn’t it? How’d you like to turn on a Cubs game and see that they’re winning 8-0 in the eighth and figure, “Screw this, I’m gonna catch up on The Floor is Lava on Netflix, this one’s in the bag.” And you have no idea that Kyle Hendricks is no-hitting the White Sox on like 74 pitches. You’d feel like an ass and you’d want to throw bags of poop at Len Kasper’s house. This unwritten rule wasn’t devised to keep announcers from jinxing anything. It’s safe to assume it was un-written before the games were routinely broadcast at all. Happily, neither Len or Pat adheres to that nonsense. They’ll tell you a no-hitter is being thrown because a) they have no impact on whether it happens or not and b) IT’S THEIR JOB TO TELL US THIS STUFF! (Actually, this year with no fans in the stands they might want to whisper it so the pitcher doesn’t hear them, but otherwise, they’re fine.
So this leads me to my original question. Who came up with these archaic rules? They all seem meant to suck the fun out of the game.
The rules are old, and they almost all deal with one team either losing badly or being embarrassed by the other team or both. So clearly they were devised by some bitter old white dudes who played on really shitty teams and got smoked, a lot. They made up a bunch of guidelines to try to make being badly beaten somehow more palatable and less humiliating. But hell, even making these rules up should be humiliating. Screw them. I really don’t care what a bunch of assholes on the 1906 Boston Braves thought the hidden etiquette of the game should be. Why does anybody?
We’re Americans, and if we know anything it’s that losers don’t get make the rules, unwritten or written or whatever. So, from now on, we don’t have to follow any of them, they’re all bullshit anyway.
It’s a good one. Go listen to it. Twice.
The guys are Kyle-less for this one, but Andy and Sam soldier on and try to make sense of winning three games in three days against the Cardinals and somehow losing two. They discuss if Javy has forgotten right field exists, wonder if the Cubs have installed a sign-up calendar for slumps so they don’t overlap and bemoan yet another season where the team tries to get Kris Bryant to play through an injury that would likely just heal if they’d let it. Andy pitches his ideas to improve Marquee’s graphics (again), they wonder if perhaps Taylor McGregor has an outstanding warrant in Missouri. They throw cold water on the Sox series because a) it’s not a rivalry and never will be, and b) both teams are going to make the playoffs no matter what happens in any of these games. They also list all the things Eloy can’t do, and it’s long. And just when they think they’re done, they bring up Adbert and why the hell he’s been wasting away in South Bend, and then, is Craig Kimbrel…good again?
This weekend is Cubs-Sox and honestly, I can’t even be troubled to pretend this is a big deal. To me, they’ll always just be the team with the most boring possible nickname in sports who think their terrible 80s uniforms were cool, and I won’t remember who won this series six days from now. But hey, go knock yourselves out.