Ditch baseball’s “unwritten rules” and help save the game

It should come as no surprise to the loyal readers of this blog that baseball is my favorite sport. That’s why it stings a little bit that baseball is becoming less popular to watch and play…especially among those age 30 and younger.

I can see why this is happening. Baseball equipment is expensive to play, the pace of the game, the performance enhancing drugs and the fortunes of the nearest major league team over the past 15 years have contributed to the decline. But I believe one of the things that make baseball unique – the “unwritten rules” is the primary reason for the decline.

Mind you, there’s nothing illegal about the “unwritten rules” of the game, it’s just…well…you’renot supposed to do it. The unwritten rules are sort of hard to explain…fortunately I have a recent conversation between my son and I to help shed some light….

“Did you see the news this morning?”

“No Dad…what happened?”

“A pitcher had a no-hitter going and a batter bunted to break up the no-hitter and the pitcher was pretty ticked”

“Why, Dad?”

“Because he broke an ‘unwritten rule’…you’re not supposed to break up the no-hitter with a bunt”

“But Dad, aren’t they trying to win the game? So you can’t try to win the game if you’re going to break an unwritten rule?”

“Apparently not”

There are some other unwritten rules too. Never show any sort of emotion when you hit a home run,and don’t trot around the bases too quickly or too slowly. Don’t show any excitement after you make a nice play in the field and pitchers…don’t throw the ball inside to a batter even if they are crowidng the plate. The penalty for this is usually a pitch thrown at the offender’s head the next time up.

In case you missed it, this is 2014. Kids and young adults like pizazz, a little flash and dash. It’s why 15-footers in basketball don’t show up on SportsCenter. Hey, baseball players…stop being so sensitive. Don’t want a hitter to “show you up” after hitting a home run? Don’t let him hit one in the first place. Don’t want a fielder to shoot an imaginary gun when he throws you out? Be smarter when running the bases. “He showed me up…I’m gonna get him next time he’s up”. No, he beat you…stop throwing a fit about what he did after he made a great play…learn from your mistake and do better next time. There’s all this talk about people who celebrate aren’t “respecting the game”. I would think the player who is failing to learn from the great game is disrespecting it more than the person who made the great play.

Baseball is a beautiful game…but it’s got to keep up with the times or it might keep going by thewayside. In all other sports when an athlete makes a great play it’s cause for a celebration. Look at a soccer player when he/she scores a goal…a football player when they make a great run or catch or tackle. When a baseball player makes a great play he or she is too concerned about what everyone else thinks rather than their own emotions. Sure,there’s the element of “act like you’ve done it before”. But what happened to “act like you’re proud of what you did”???? That sounds like a sport I’d like to play and that I love. Not the one where I can’t play to win…but have to play by someone’s unwritten rules.



Paul Williams

I am a sports nut who has tried to make the transition from athlete to athletic....err....supporter of my two children and their athletic endeavours. I am also a former sports reporter for The Arlington Times, Marysville Globe, The Skagit Argus and The Coeur d'Alene Press. Follow me on Facebook or on Twitter (@PDub4170).

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