Take your hat off at the dinner table.
Hold the door for your party if you are there first.
Don’t microwave fish in a public kitchen.
Let people off the elevator before entering the elevator.
Don’t ask for cash as a gift.
Never show up to a party empty handed.
Pick up your dog’s poop.
Don’t kick someone when they are down.
Be on time…..this one’s for Short Matt.
Announce when you are leaving……this one’s for Short Matt, too. He get’s you coming and going!
Don’t tug on Superman’s cape.
Don’t spit into the wind.
Don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger.
Don’t mess around with Jim [Clancy].
DENVER, CO – These unwritten rules of life are pretty easy to follow considering most of us aren’t visiting Krypton anytime soon. They are basic tenets we require of each other to prevent anarchy on the smallest of levels. They are not laws. They are not ordinances. Yet, we as a society expect these things from one another. Like all rules, when they are broken there are consequences. When a former salesperson who worked for me put fish in the microwave, he didn’t get the Glengarry Glen Ross leads for a week. When my friends attend a party at my house and don’t bring beer they are directed to the skunked Bud Light that has been in the fridge for six months. When my brother asks for cash for Christmas he gets a gift card to a store that doesn’t have a location within one hundred miles of his zip code. When Matt shows up thirty minutes late for a beer then disappears out the back door half way through said beer, I conveniently don’t write a column the following week. These rules exist to create order out of daily chaos. Their importance cannot be diminished. The Unwritten Rules of Baseball exist in kind with the unwritten rules of life.
For some crazy reason some esteemed contributors on this site can’t comprehend some of the Unwritten Rules on the Diamond, so I am here to clear them up.
Don’t swing 3-0 in the 9th with the game in hand.
Let’s get this monkey off our backs first. Unless it’s game 162 and you need a hit to achieve a .300 average or some other record, you just don’t do it. Just like taking your hat off at the dinner table as a sign of respect, you don’t run up the score as a sign of respect. Your opponent has already had a bad enough day. At the Major League level the guys in the other clubhouse are likely going to lose their jobs if they have enough bad days. Would you take a low performer at their job and put them on blast in front of a group of colleagues when you know they are going to get fired anyways?
Don’t celebrate a home run when you are significantly behind.
Would you brag to your significant other about doing one thing on your honey do list when you weren’t able to complete the other five tasks? Would you tout yourself to your boss when if lost the company money?
Of course not. No bat flip or lolly gagging jog around the bases is warranted when you fail. There is no I in team. One might have a good individual performance but a loss is a loss. Just ask any power hitter that has played for the Pirates over the past twenty years how many times they wanted to bat flip and didn’t down ten runs. You just don’t do it.
Pitchers don’t call out the fielders when an error is made
First off, that runner isn’t counted in the ERA if they score so it’s no sweat off your contract negotiation. Second, stay in your lane. Your job is to throw the ball. Their job is to field the ball. When you get to the dugout no one is going to come over to the prima donna pitcher and give him crap for not being able to throw a strike on that day. Mutual respect is an important thing on a baseball team. All unwritten rules have consequences. This particular offense has special consequences. If a pitcher has a habit of doing this to his team it is the catcher’s responsibility to tell the next hitter what pitches are being thrown.
Don’t step on the white lines
I once played with a guy who routinely intentionally screwed up the lines in the first inning as a sort of counter tradition. His strike zone was always two balls bigger on all sides than everyone else’s. Respect the field or the umpire will disrespect you.
Don’t talk about a no hitter
This one is simple. No one likes a jinx. Chances are that the no no won’t happen anyways. Why be the doofus that can be blamed as a scapegoat?
Don’t bunt during a no hitter
This one is not so simple. Say you earn a walk and the pitcher’s spot is up next. That is an acceptable bunting scenario. Otherwise you must earn breaking up the no-no. Bunting to end a no-no is like eating vegan cheese. Everyone knows it’s not cheese. Just because you got a bite of vegan cheese does not make it cheese.
Never make the first or third out at 3rd base
You have nearly just as good a chance to score on a base hit from second as you do from third. Don’t waste chances running into outs.
The centerfielder and 3rd baseman take whatever they want
Think about the center fielder and the third baseman as benevolent kings that occasionally want to screw their subjects wives. It is not only their right. It is their duty. When the serf underlings in the outfield or the serf underling shortstop try and usurp either infield or outfield king people get hurt. If they want the ball they get it. Period. Why you might ask? The CF is, generally speaking, the most athletic and best fielder in the outfield. He has the best chance of making every play he can get too. In the infield the third baseman is moving toward first base which makes the play easier than the SS moving away from first base.
Hit the ball where it’s pitched
Last, but certainly not least. Hit the ball where it is pitched. The shift hasn’t ruined baseball. Hitters have. The shift works because pull hitters allow them to work. What non-baseball people don’t realize is that for the shift to work the pitcher has to induce a hit into the shift. The most common way to do this is to set a hitter up with a fastball inside then come back at the hitter with a breaking pitch away. This causes the hitter to be off balance with the barrel making contact in front of the plate, thus causing the hitter’s hands to roll over a grounder to the desired side of the field. Hitting the ball where it’s pitched beats the shift. If a curveball is thrown away, stay back on it and poke it into right field. Instantly, no more shifts. If the pitcher pounds the ball inside to force the hitter to hit into the shift, foul it off and wait for the curveball.
Come back tomorrow for Short Matt, who will post ramblings thirty minutes late, then leave two hundred words early, mid-sentence.