Most baseball fans know the main rules of the sport. There are even more rules than those though, in fact there is an entire culture of “unwritten rules” that many players follow to either show respect to their fellow player, or for practical reasons that are supposed to help your team have a better chance. Some of these rules have a place and are there for good reason, but some rules are just stupid. Here, is a list of some of the best, and worst of these rules.
Worst- Don’t Steal with a big lead late in games
I get it, you don’t want to show up the other team too much. That shouldn’t be your concern though, your concern should be to win the game. History has proven no lead is secure, and you need all the runs you can get. In 2001 the Mariners had a 12 run lead over the Indians going into the 7th inning. The Indians ended up tying the game, and eventually winning in extra innings. A difference of only one more run could have won that game for the Mariners.
Not running up a score out of respect is an unwritten rule in many sports, but it is one I have never understood. Score as much as you can, and make sure you have a lead at the end of the game. You don’t take the final part of a game off because you have a big lead. If you start laying back, you won’t be able to just snap back into play if the other team does start to make a comeback. I say play hard until the game is over, and don’t worry about the other team’s feelings.
Best- Don’t steal when greatly behind in a game
In contrast to the last unwritten rule, it actually makes sense to not steal late in the game if you are behind. The entire purpose of stealing is too get a runner into scoring position. If you are down by a lot though late in a game, you don’t need one run, you need a bunch. There is no point in trying to get runner across if it is at the risk of getting an out. Every out is precious when behind late in a game, don’t waste it by getting caught stealing. Your team is going to need extra base hits anyway to make a big comeback. Only steal if that one run is going to make a difference.
Worst- Don’t admire a homerun
I can go both ways on this one. It is stupid to stand in the batter’s box and watch a homerun because you don’t know if it is going to
be a homerun. On the other hand, pitchers shouldn’t be offended every time a player shows emotion after hitting one. I am sick of seeing players get mad just because someone takes a little too long to round the bases, looking at you Brian McCann. The game is meant to be enjoyed, and as long as a celebration doesn’t disturb the game, who cares.
I don’t want to see guys acting like fools on the field and showboating, and there is some wisdom to the saying “act like you have been there before.” I also think that players need to stop over-reacting every time a guy looks at his home run for a second, or takes a little longer to round the bases. Especially with young players, who actually haven’t hit many home runs. It is a game, have a little fun.
Best- Don’t show up your fielder’s
When a defense continuously makes mistakes behind a pitcher, it can be frustrating. Making a fuss about it though isn’t going to help, and it will only anger your teammates. It is almost never a good idea to show up a teammate in any sport, and that is no different for baseball. Your team is going to make mistakes, and moving on for them is the best way to deal with it.
Acting out will cause troubles in the clubhouse, and the media will make a big deal about it. Any issues with a team mate are best dealt with in the clubhouse, where you can keep it out of the eye of the public.
Worst- Don’t talk about a no-hitter
This one is more for fans and broadcasters than anything is. If you are a player and it is your teammate throwing the no no, then yes, leave him alone and do not distract him. For everyone else, it is just silly superstition. You aren’t going to jinx the player, they can’t hear you. Go ahead and discuss the potential for a no hitter.
In fact, announcers should be mentioning it, it is their job to keep the listeners informed. If I come into a game late, I might not know there is a no hitter being thrown. They should be mentioning something as important as that at the top of every inning so viewers know what is happening. Otherwise, viewers coming in late, ot viewers who aren’t as attentive, wont necessarily know there is a potential for history in this game.
Best- Don’t steal third with two outs
The saying is, never make the first or last out at third. If you are at second, you are already in scoring position, and there isn’t much to gain by getting to third. If you are fast enough to be considering stealing the base, then you are already fast enough to score from second on most singles. Most of the benefits on being on third over second base are because you can score on sac fly’s and ground balls, but that doesn’t matter if there are already two outs.
This rule isn’t absolute, and if you know you can steal third, go ahead and steal third. It has some benefits, for instance you can now score on infield singles and passed balls. You had better make it to third though, because ending the inning by making an out in the field is embarrassing and you will probably have your ear ripped off by your manager later for doing so.
Worst- Don’t Bunt to break up a no hitter
If your team is having trouble hitting, then you should do whatever possible to get on base. It is not the other team’s job to make it easier to get a no hitter. If you have a speedy player up to bat who is a good bunter, have him bunt. Anything to get momentum going. Winning should be the main concern of your team, not helping the opposing pitcher get his place in history. Do what you can to win the game, you can worry about the other teams feeling later.
Best- Let the Center Fielder make the Play
There are few more embarrassing things in the MLB then two player colliding in the field. To avoid this, it is best to let one guy try to make the play. That should usually be the Center Fielder, as they generally have better range and are the better defenders. This way they can avoid running into each other and letting the ball drop.
Players are too busy tracking the ball during the play to see you waving them off most of the time, so it is best to just go by the standard of, if two guys can make the play in the OF, let the center fielder make it.