MLB: 4 Reasons to abolish baseball’s unwritten rules

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 17: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres celebrates after hitting a grand slam against the Texas Rangers in the top of the eighth inning at Globe Life Field on August 17, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 17: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres celebrates after hitting a grand slam against the Texas Rangers in the top of the eighth inning at Globe Life Field on August 17, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

As the old adage says, “rules are meant to be broken,” so too should MLB’s unwritten rules.

Oh MLB, if only unwritten rules were written. There’s been at least a good two weeks for things to settle down from the Fernando Tatis Jr. grand slam to let cooler heads prevail and to touch the “unwritten” topic of baseball and that is looking at the rules that are not written but need to be remembered.

“Do not hit against the shift”, “don’t steal bases,” “don’t steal bases or strut after home  runs when behind a large margin”, and ” don’t swing at 3-0 pitches or otherwise run up the score when ahead by a large margin.” Quotes courtesy from Anthony Castrovince of The fact of the matter is unwritten rules are subject to confusion, improvising and ultimately  fantasy that is sincerely silly when it is all said and done.

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Here’s a reason why the Unwritten rule book in baseball needs to be thrown out and never remembered again.

Pitch Better?

The biggest pet peeve about unwritten rules in baseball is that it absolves the original player or players of their responsibility. Instead of chastising a batter who hit with bases loaded and the lead maybe focus on a better pitch. Instead of targeting Machado who came up next, try a solution that may not have been referenced before which is pitch better?

Not only did Fernando Tatis Jr. hit the home run, but he hit a home run with the bases loaded. So that means that the pitcher did not make any effective pitches prior to Tatis Jr. in order to get out of the inning.

The blame is easy on a young player earning his money by doing what he’s supposed to do which is produce at the plate. So the argument would to respect your opponent and that’s ok, but this is the Majors. These are professional players and if you wish to be respected then make a good pitch to get out of the inning.

We get it, the culture of MLB is tradition, rules, and over a century of a gentleman’s game with respect. However, the need is too serious at times and not fun to follow.

Stop Taking Away The Fun Of The Game

Imagine, if you will, that you’re 22 years old and you just added to your career stats that you have your GM and manager look at you badly because of having fun. Keep in mind this same player had to apologize for doing what you’re supposed to do which is love the game.

The old heads have got to stop holding onto rules that are stripping this game of fun. This is the new generation of players and if you want to attract new viewers and keep this game fresh in the 21st century then let Tatis do his thing.

When did hustling and being great become such a crime against the game? The fact of the matter is we are seeing a baseball season out of a pandemic. To even have a season at this point is just a wow factor. Probably one of the most exciting things ever. Only to be squashed because a few players are in their feelings for giving up a home run.

In 2019, didn’t Rob Manfred sign off on a  commercial saying “let the kids play”? I understand not showing someone up,  and maybe the players of the past had some valid points, but this is Major League Baseball, a business. Doesn’t hurt to have a few good times as well.

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Let’s face it, all unwritten rules are not policed equally. It’s hypocritical!

A.J Preller, the Padres General Manager worked with the Texas Rangers from 2004 to 2014. To add,  Jayce Tingler, Padres Manager who worked with the Rangers from 2006 to 2014 both called out Tatis Jr for his grand slam.

The ironic thing about all of this is they were both with the franchise when the Rangers scored 30 runs against the Baltimore Orioles.  However, we’ll just overlook that because unwritten rules are enacted when it is coinvent.  The Giants won against the Rockies with 23 runs in a blowout, but not one mention of an unwritten rule was broken.

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This is the reason why a lot of the new generation has scratched their head and allowed their eyes to gloss over when learning about these things.

Moving Forward

If MLB wants to grow and regain some leverage with their neighboring sports in revenue such as the NHL and NFL, then they’re going to have to curve the culture of sore losing. Unwritten rules just seem to be made up depending on how they hurt someone’s feelings. They’re often the product of pearl clinching moments that just make very little sense.

The pitcher throwing at Machado post-Tatis’s home run was just as barbaric and uncivilized as many claimed hitting a 3-0 grand slam was. If you don’t want someone to bunt during a no-hitter than don’t make a pitch for it to be bunted.

At some point, you have to wonder if winning is more important than some forgotten made-up rule. The Mariners blew a 4 run lead this season. Should they have just laid down? No, because the bottom line is that this isn’t the minors and if running up runs is so important then adapt one of their rules to implement an 11 run mercy rule.

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This is the majors and everyone is a professional. Let them play and let winners win.