The unwritten rules of baseball are stupid – USA TODAY
On Tuesday night, the Houston Astros were blowing out the New York Yankees (a weird sentence to type being a baseball fan for the last two decades) when Carlos Gomez just missed tagging a Chris Capuano pitch. The Astros were up 9-0, but Gomez was still upset with himself for flying out, so he flipped his bat towards his own dugout and muttered something to himself.
The Yankees did not like this. Apparently enraged that a player would be disappointed with not performing well, some of the players started yelling at Gomez.
He had no idea why.
“I did not understand very well what people were yelling at me,” Gomez said. “I just asked, ‘Why are you yelling at me?’ And then someone came out of the dugout and started screaming, and I said, ‘Shut up, shut up; if you want to tell me something, come here and say what you have to say.’”
This enraged Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who then yelled at Gomez to “play the game the right way.”
This all leads to the obvious question: What on earth is going on here?
This has been pointed out by countless baseball writers before, but allow me to join the chorus: The unwritten rules of baseball are stupid. They don’t make any sense and they never have.
The unwritten rules of baseball allow you to throw a baseball 90 mph at someone for admiring a home run, but (apparently) don’t allow you to be disappointed with an at-bat if your team is winning by too many runs.
Gomez never gloated. He never rubbed the Astros’ lead in the face of the Yankees. He was mad at himself for not doing his job well.
The believers in these so-called unwritten rules of the game say that they exist to protect the integrity of the game. To keep hot-dogging and primadonnas out of the game. I don’t believe that anymore. I believe the unwritten rules of the game allow grown men to be angry and act like children, and when they’re called out on the behavior, it allows them something to fall back on.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was mad his team was losing. When he and his players lost their minds and acted like petulant children, screaming at Carlos Gomez for doing nothing at all, they knew they could fall back on the old “unwritten rules of the game” line and they would be fine.
By falling back on that logic, it allowed the Yankees to put the onus on Gomez, who had done nothing.
Gomez was the one not “playing the game the right way.” They were just there to keep him in check.
This is ridiculous.
If anything, Gomez’s reaction should be a good thing, if we’re trying to adhere to the rules of the old fogeys who believe in baseball completely. Even though the game wasn’t close, Gomez was trying his hardest. He wasn’t taking an at-bat off. When he didn’t succeed, he was upset with himself. This is how the game is supposed to be played, right?
But no, the Yankees were mad, and they flipped out, and when it came time to explain themselves after the game, they relied on the fact that Gomez has had on-field incidents before and fell on the logic that makes old sportswriters feel all warm and fuzzy inside, those unwritten rules that the glorious Yankees were just trying to uphold.
This is dumb, and so are the unwritten rules of baseball.