Never mention a no-hitter while it’s in progress. Don’t take the bat out of your best hitter’s hands by sacrificing in front of him. Don’t steal third with two outs. Never make the first or third out of an inning at third base. Never put the tying or go-ahead run on base. These are some of the unwritten rules of Baseball that we’ve all grown up with. Yesterday, Oakland A’s pitcher Dallas Braden informed Alex Rodriguez of another unwritten rule. One that Alex and some members of the media claimed to have never heard of before.
Never run over the pitcher’s mound during an inning, and never, ever step on his rubber.
To be honest, this one is nothing new to me. I’ve heard this one before, but never with the qualification about the rubber. Pitchers consider the mound to be their office, where they do their business, and as such they don’t appreciate people invading what they consider to be their personal space while they’re working. It’s not something that comes up very often, most Baseball players would simply run around the mound for a variety of reasons, even between innings. Here’s what Braden said about the incident:
“I don’t go over there and run laps at third base,” Braden said afterward. “I don’t spit over there. I stay away. You guys ever see anybody run across the mound like that? He ran across the pitcher’s mound. Foot on my rubber.”
When asked about the incident, Alex acted perplexed. He said:
“He just told me to get off his mound,” Rodriguez said. “That was a little surprising. I’ve never quite heard that. Especially from a guy that has a handful of wins in his career.”
Color me dubious. A-Rod has had a history of questionable incidents on the field, from the ball slapping incident with the Red Sox Bronson Arroyo to the ‘HA!’ shouting incident with Toronto third baseman Howie Clark. Alex has been in the game far too long to have never heard of this little bit of Baseball etiquette. It may have been a bit of gamesmanship, an attempt to get under Braden’s skin, who is not a hard thrower and had the Yanks off balance all day. Or it may have been his way of saying ‘I’m A-Rod and you’re a rookie’. His comment about Braden having ‘a handful of wins’ certainly bolsters that charge. Or maybe he’s just so wrapped up in himself that he doesn’t consider the feelings of others. Whatever the explanation, these incidents always leave me scratching my head with Alex.