"Oh stop it! Just. Stop. Please."
That was my initial reaction to the latest bench-clearing, bullpen-emptying scuffle that took place in Major League Baseball between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers. The brouhaha involved that of the Pirates ace, Gerrit Cole, who gave up a triple to the always flamboyant, Carlos Gomez, and felt "disrespected" by Gomez's...shall we say, "admiration" when the ball left his bat.
As always, these instances always lead to the regurgitation of baseball's "unwritten" rules. You know, the rules that aren't real, but for some reason carry a much larger presence than some of the real rules in the sport. Baseball has held these "unwritten" rules in some cases, as the holy grail of the sport, with some acknowledging them as what sets baseball apart.
Don't stand and admire the ball you just sent into the upper deck, four hundred and fifty feet away. Because, all you did was successfully pull of the hardest thing to do in sports in hitting a baseball. Not a big deal.
Don't stylize and/or showboat on the field. Because, baseball, a game of failure, is no place for emotion or celebration.
Just put your head down and run around the bases after a home run. Because, baseball isn't in the entertainment business like everyone else.
You cannot steal bases when you are up by a large amount. After all, comebacks don't happen in baseball, right?
You can never bunt to break up a no-hitter. You know, the same way you're not supposed to make a lay-up if you haven't made a field goal in basketball...oh wait, no, not a thing?
Don't cheer, dance, do fancy handshakes, or enjoy yourself in the dugout when you're winning. No enjoyment is allowed in baseball.
Don't step on or cross the pitcher's mound. Because, that's his domain. Right, A-Rod?
I think you get where I am going with this.
|Hey, if guys want to do this and embarrass themselves, let them do it!|
Look, I love baseball. Like, seriously, LOVE the game. I'm that guy that enjoys the College World Series over March Madness. I'm the guy that would have two games on in his living room and that would be my happy place. Yes, I'm nuts. But the very thing that drives me crazy, especially recently, is the sport's inability to get past these dumb "unwritten" rules which holds it back from evolving. Something it needs to do greatly.
Pete Rose, not exactly the most honorable man, but he was a pretty good baseball player, made the following comments on baseball's unwritten rules:
“I used to get screwed when we had a seven-or eight-run lead, because I couldn't bunt for a single or I’m ‘showing up the opposition. Guys that are home-run hitters can continuously just swing from their ass and trot around the bases. I remember one time we had a 7-1 lead in the sixth inning in Houston, and J.R. Richard was pitching. I hit a single to right-center and I went to second. He threw at the next two hitters because I was showing the team up! What am I supposed to do when I got a 10-run lead, just go up there and strike out?”
While the sport is still flourishing, it still lags behind football and basketball in terms of sheer entertainment value. The other sports have passion, individuality, style, entertainment, emotion, and yes, even class. There aren't these ridiculous, over the hill rules that handcuff the players and restrict the competition.
Baseball takes itself too seriously. And that's from a die-hard fan.
The game has yet to find the balance between being able to honor it's history and evolving with the times. People want to see their players show emotion. We want to see the entertainment factor. Guys we can recognize from a team of similar laundry is what drives the sports and entertainment industry.
Look no further than the World Baseball Classic on how fun things can be if we drop these idiotic "unwritten" rules. Those games were fun to watch. Especially, the Dominican National team.
So yes, after seeing this latest scuffle surrounding baseball and it's idiotic rules, baseball needs to find a way to rid itself of these ridiculous customs and conditions that have yet to be written or documented after one hundred years, yet still exist and are powerful enough to dictate written rules and the freedoms within a game.
After all, if Gerrit Cole has such a problem with Gomez posing after crushing one of his pitches, maybe he should, you know, get him out out next time? Possibly by doing so the correct way - within the rules that are real and not part of ancient baseball folklore.
Huh, imagine that?
Huh, imagine that?