Monday, June 21, 2010

The unwritten rules

Baseball is unique in that we have so many rules that exist outside of the rulebook. These rules aren’t etched in some book, but instead, they are passed down from coach to player and player to player, and in some cases, they are held more sacred than the rules the boys in blue are required to uphold.

These certainly aren’t all of the unwritten rules most players follow - creating such a list would be impossible, as almost every league, level, organization, and region seems to have their own interpretation of many of the rules to follow.

• Don’t try to embarrass another team once you’re beating them handily. Stealing, bunting, etc., is unnecessary when leading by 8 or more runs. Keep hitting doubles by all means and try to score, but don’t try to rub it in. The exception to this rule being in a championship game or other such contest that carries significant weight.

• Don’t throw at the other team’s pitcher. In high school and college this goes unheeded, but in pro ball, this is a good way to start a donnybrook.

• Even when attempting to disrupt a play, such as breaking up a double play, never intentionally try to injure an opposing player. You’re not a tough guy because you try to hurt someone; you’re a major douche bag. Knock him down, for sure, but don’t try to end his career.

• Unless you’re a big leaguer, when you hit a bomb, don’t stand there and look at it. The next guy might get one in the ear.

• Don’t show up the umpire by drawing lines in the dirt… You’re gonna get tossed. If you have to complain, look straight ahead and say what you have to say without letting the world know you didn’t like the call.

• Never show up a coach or teammate. This can be done in a number of ways, but here’s a couple examples: If someone misses a sign and you get throw out or left out to dry as a result, don’t throw your hands up, yell across the field, or do anything else. Go to the dugout like nothing happened and then deal with it. If a guy makes an error, keep your mouth shut until you get to the dugout. If a called play fails, don’t mean-mug the play caller.

• Don’t look at the catcher’s signs while you’re hitting. Stealing signs is a part of the game, but peeking in the box is for cowards.

• If you’re gonna steal signs, at least try to be sneaky. Being obvious about it makes you look bush, even if everyone knows it’s expected.

• Only throw at another player to protect your teammates or if a guy tries to disgrace your club.

• If you’re gonna throw at a guy intentionally, hit him below the shoulders. No matter how big a tool he is, he doesn’t deserve to suffer a serious injury.

• Don’t step on the first baseman’s ankle when you cross the bag. That thing is plenty wide enough for you to hit it without crippling the guy standing there.

• Don’t bunt to break up a perfect game or no hitter. That’s chicken shit, I don’t care what anyone says. Unless the post season is on the line, if the guy is tossing up a perfecto after 7, be a man and swing the bat.

• If you’re way up and the other team throws a wild pitch, advance. It’s more embarrassing for you to stay put. You humiliate the other team more by “taking it easy on them.”

• If you’re not a pitcher, don’t cross the mound during a game.

• Don’t get caught stealing 3rd with 2 outs.

• Don’t make the 1st or 3rd out at 3rd base.

• Don’t throw at a guy because he’s playing good… I.e., don’t drill someone because they’ve been raking and you’re sick of them pounding doubles off the wall.

• Players: don’t goad or yell at opposing coaches or staff.

• Coaches: don’t goad or yell at opposing players.

• Never laugh at a player, whether he is an opponent or a teammate, because he lacks talent or ability. Also, never laugh when an opponent gets injured.


That’s about it for now, feel free to post any others you believe in or that I’ve failed to list, or post comments to agree or disagree with any that I’ve mentioned!


  1. Don't run through stop signs at third base if you're not 180lbs. You'll end up on your ass.

  2. Coaches: if your pitcher makes a pitch that you strongly disagree with and want to rip his head off for, dont call him out across the field. Go out to the mound and chew on his ass or wait till he comes back to the dugout.

  3. The exception to the above would be in an instance where the coach calls a pitch, and said pitch gets shaken off in lieu of a pitch that winds up knocking down the center field wall!

    Well said though, Varny!

  4. In his defense, I will say that Varny wasn't aware at the time that the pitch call was from the dugout, so it was an error of communication and not an act of defiance gone wrong. That said, here's one for the list:

    If a coach is calling pitches and you shake one off, it better not end up anywhere but in a defender's glove.

  5. Coach, it actually went OVER the LEFT FIELD wall haha.. but touche.

  6. Or Coaches, if a pitcher shakes off a pitch wait till you ask the catcher when he gets in his side of the story. Then ask the pitcher to step a side so you can get his veiw. Only then tell him about said shake off.

  7. Sorry, coaches don't have to hold their player's hands. As a coach, you reserve the right to react harshly if you believe a player is out of line. If after the fact, you find out that they weren't, it's prudent to clear the air and admit you jumped the gun. If you took the time to pull every guy aside who does something lame-brained you'd spend more time patting asses, asking for feelings, and explaining your thoughts than you would coaching.

    Let's not forget that players are never entitled to hear what a coach is thinking. They are the player and the coach is the coach. As long as a coach isn't abusing his boys or going to outrageous limits, it's really only an optional courtesy to tell a player anything other than when they go in or out of a ballgame or what they are expected to do.

    Fortunately at CV, we tend to extend a bit more courtesy 99% of the time.

  8. Another rule: Don't respond to unruly fans. Ever. You aren't playing the bleacher bums. They can call you whatever they want, insult you and your club, or whatever other ignorant garbage that they can think of, and it should affect your play. If they knew enough for their insults to matter, they wouldn't be screaming from the stands.

    Also: Coaches, don't respond to players in the opposing dugout. I actually broke this rule a week ago and I shouldn't have. After the fact I felt like an idiot, and I'm sure that's exactly how I came off.

  9. I agree with everything except the pimped homeruns. If its long gone, watch it or bat flip or something to show everyone and the pitcher (so that he doesn't even have to turn around) that you knew it was gone. hahahaha

    reference: YouTube "Tristan Farrell pimped out bat flip homerun" or "Tristan Farrell bat flip pimp job homerun"
    -Both are prime examples of things not to do for you coach


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