Thursday, September 2, 2010

Rules of engagement

Contributed by Auggie
Likely beanball recipient

“There’s no crying in baseball”. That was a cute line from the movie ‘A league of their own’, unfortunately it has no basis in reality. Major league baseball has once again proven to have a bigger collection of pansies than Cypress Gardens.

What’s rattling my cage today? It’s the seemingly endless “unwritten” rules of baseball, violation of which are punishable by beaning from a cowhide orb hurled at 90 mph. Just this past year I have learned that you can’t try to bunt for a hit if the opposing pitcher is throwing a no hitter (it’s perfectly legal according to the written rules), and you can’t cross the pitcher’s mound on your way back to the dugout after making an out (see Braden, Dallas).

The latest example comes from the Florida Marlins-Washington Nationals game earlier this week. A quick recap: National’s player Nyjer Morgan was beaned early in the game for being a jerk (hey, that’s what you get). He calmly jogged down to first base and then promptly stole both second and third base putting him in position to score on a sacrifice fly, which he in fact did. In his next at bat, the pitcher threw a fastball behind him, purportedly because he had the audacity to steal those bases when his team was TRAILING by 10 runs. That's right, his team was behind and presumably trying to catch up. I’ll bet the bum doesn’t recycle either. I would have applauded him for continuing to play hard when his team was down but I’m obviously not fluent in the unwritten rules of baseball. Incredibly, Morgan is the one being vilified in the press because, well, he's a jerk. Maybe the rule is that jerks can't steal when down by 10 runs - we may never know.

I’ll venture to guess that stealing bases when you are ahead by 10 would bring the same punishment. Who can keep us with this? Here’s an idea: why not write these rules down so everyone knows them? Or let the pansies have a league of their own.

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