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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.

30 Responses to “Alex, and the unwritten rules of Baseball”

  1. Alex has definitely had his moments in the past of bonehead moves but it seems he’s not the only MLB player who says he’s never heard of this particular unwritten either including Keith Hernandez and Rick Sutcliffe.

    I understand the kid wanting to protect his mound and stand up for himself but he went a little overboard IMO. Make your comment and move on, got too emotional with the Jeter, do the math, etc. Seems like it really got to him.

    The A’s have a chip on the shoulders and jealousy of the Yankees. You can read Duscherer’s comments before the series to see it.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    Right, and those comments may have seemed like an opportunity to poke a stick in their ribs. Like the way Joba always throws at Youkilis’ head and Paul O’Niell was always drilled when the Yanks played Pinella’s Seattle teams. If someone comes across as high strung or ticked off, certain players will look to rattle their cage.  (Quote)

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  2. Braden has come off as high strung or ticked off before this? I referenced another pitcher’s comments from April 18th. A chance to irk the whole team? I guess, I dunno. But if your emotions make you act like crazy cat lady that’s a you problem.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    I was just speculating about Braden’s temperament as one possible explanation. But judging by the way he laid into Alex, both during and after the game, it’s safe to say the guy is a bit of a hothead.  (Quote)

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  3. Sorry, Steve, but you couldn’t be more of-base here. None of the players on BBTN had ever heard of this, and neither had others around the game for a long time. Rick Sutcliffe literally had no idea what Braden was talking about. While it may have been an issue in the 60′s, it is pretty plausible that Alex never heard of this  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    I don’t doubt that different pitchers will react differently to something like this. Rick Sutcliffe wears ‘I Love to fart’ T-shirts, so I doubt he has anger management issues. Braden took umbrage, and I don’t think he was wrong to do so. I thought Keith Hernandez’s response summed it up nicely. He said this:

    “Keith Hernandez, the former first baseman and current Mets broadcaster, said that he did not know if there was one (unwritten rule), either.

    But as for running across the mound himself, Hernandez said, “I would never do that.”

    It’s just something most players would never do, especially in the middle of an inning while the pitcher is standing right there.  (Quote)

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  4. I thought this was covered far more than it should have been. This incident, which we didn’t even see live, got more coverage on ESPN than the game did. They even brought on Braden to explain what happened. But that’s cause of Arod I guess.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    Bingo, a small story becomes huge if it involves Alex. That comes with the territory of being of being one of the biggest stars in the game.  (Quote)

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  5. Maybe ARod responded to Braden like he did because he wanted to show a little restraint and not physically fight him on the field. Braden acted like a petulant child, screaming profanities and throwing his glove. ARod gets criticized for not responding “like Jeter would”, which is a ridiculous and stupid meme, but plenty of other players would have been looking to tango after Braden showed him up like that.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    Yeah, Braden clearly overreacted and didn’t explain himself very well. But Alex was the instigator here, so he doesn’t get absolved by Braden’s reaction.  (Quote)

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  6. This strikes me as a weak attempt to take a shot at A-Rod now that folks can’t bring up the not clutch and no rings stuff anymore. Stop with the nonsense. A-Rod did nothing wrong.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    If you read my posts on a daily basis, you’ll know I treat him fairly. I praise him when warranted and criticize when I think appropriate. If you want completely biased pro-Alex coverage, then you’ll be unhappy with about half of my pieces, which means I’m doing a good job.  (Quote)

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  7. Why would you assume Arod knows about this “unwritten” rule when so far, most people are saying they never heard of it?
    I have yet to hear anyone say ‘yeah I’ve heard of that before’. Except for you Steve.

    This is such a non issue. If this was any other player, no one would be talking about it.  (Quote)

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  8. There’s no rule about stepping on the base line when walking on and off the field either, but I’m gonna bet that Rodriguez has never committed that baseball sin. As for Rick Sutcliffe, after suffering through his commentary on countless occasions, I think that drug testing for baseball announcers should be a new network requirement. And regards Keith Hernandez, he is an expert — on how to darken up your hair to pick up hot chicks.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    Bad argument. One is a superstition and the other a matter of etiquette.

    But on the plus side, your Sutcliffe and Hernandez lines were hilarious!  (Quote)

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  9. Oh please, this kid from Oakland (what’s his name again? I seriously was going to scroll up to find it but thought he wasn’t even worth that) is looking to make a name for himself and thinks that he is a peer of A-Rod’s. He is trying to show that he is an equal, which he is certainly not. You had your day big guy, now go back to your mediocre baseball career and shut up. Here’s a piece of etiquette for you, no matter what sport it is at no matter what level-respect the veterans and especially respect those who have more talent than you ever dreamed of having-be polite and humbled to be on the same field/bench as them.  (Quote)

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    Groundscrew Reply:

    Oh please, Brian. Do you really believe that star players are above the game itself? Would you be so judgmental if Joba Chamberlain yelled at Joe Mauer for taking a stroll over his pitcher’s mound? If baseball rules, written or unwritten, don’t apply to everyone, the whole game’s in the toilet.  (Quote)

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  10. ARod probably used his “standing” among the MLB players to try to play a mind game with Braden to get him off target.

    I mean, it is also likely ARod’s personality, but probably not the ONLY factor.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    It’s possible, I can’t help but think back to Alex cutting his Baseball teeth in Seattle under Lou Pinella. Lou LOVED to rattle a player’s cage, he did it to Paul O’Niell relentlessly and did the same to every umpire who made a call that he didn’t like. Lou got that from Billy Martin, who was as combative as anyone who ever managed. I’m not sure that was what happened here, but I can’t dismiss it.  (Quote)

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  11. I just can’t get over all the play this getting. Even if it is unwritten rule and A-Rod broke it, what is the big deal? Seriously? Is he murdering baseball history again? This is the sort of thing that happens twenty times over in every baseball game played, every day. Pretending you caught a ball you trapped? Check. Deking a guy at second that the throw is coming in? Check. Chin music? Check. Wiping out the back line of the batters box? Check. If this is an unwritten rule, and a bit of hazing, trying to rattle a guy who is holding the Yanks in check, what’s the issue? Seriously? I mean, can the game be a game again? Do we have to perpetuate this idea that athletes have to uphold some overly romanticized code of ethics that never existed in the first place? Even if A-Rod did something wrong, he did nothing wrong. And it certainly doesn’t belong in the news in any capacity.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    He’s held to a higher standard than some Shelly Duncan type. He’s a Yankee, he’s a humongous star, and he has the biggest contract in the game. He signed up for all three of those, so he can’t cry foul when the downside of those things rears it’s head. It’s part of the deal. If he was smart, he would hold himself to a higher standard and avoid these situations, understanding the nature his own celebrity.

    To his credit he doesn’t cry ‘woe is me’ but many of his most ardent supporters do on his behalf.  (Quote)

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  12. Do Sutcliffe’s announcing style and the fact that Hernandez is in a lame commercial mean their remarks should be discounted? Why would all of those people, who played thousands of baseball games between them, lie to protect Arod?

    Some jack-ass kid trying to make a name for himself loses it, and ESPN is all over it. It reminds me of when Arod first went to Texas, and they showed every K for the first few weeks of the season.

    Why do some people assume that since it’s Arod, he must be in the wrong?  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    The pattern of behavior argues against him. It’s not like this is some anomaly. At this point he doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt anymore, at least not from me.  (Quote)

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  13. I just can’t get over all the play this getting.Even if it is unwritten rule and A-Rod broke it, what is the big deal?Seriously?Is he murdering baseball history again?This is the sort of thing that happens twenty times over in every baseball game played, every day.Pretending you caught a ball you trapped?Check.Deking a guy at second that the throw is coming in?Check.Chin music?Check.Wiping out the back line of the batters box?Check.If this is an unwritten rule, and a bit of hazing, trying to rattle a guy who is holding the Yanks in check, what’s the issue?Seriously?I mean, can the game be a game again?Do we have to perpetuate this idea that athletes have to uphold some overly romanticized code of ethics that never existed in the first place?Even if A-Rod did something wrong, he did nothing wrong.And it certainly doesn’t belong in the news in any capacity.  

    Quote and fan’d.  (Quote)

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  14. To prove how insignificant this all is, I heard that AJ Burnett is hosting an “on the mound camp out” during the second inning of tonight’s Yankees-Angels game. No big deal here, just instead of camp fire songs, all those who come to the picnic will have to sing chin music.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    If AJ’s hosting, you know there will be plenty of pie.  (Quote)

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  15. Excellent post i would like to say you that you are doing fantastic job keep it up  (Quote)

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  16. Here are the rules: You don’t pull on superman’s cape; you don’t spit into the wind; and you don’t pull the mask off the lone ranger  (Quote)

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