Rules of baseball - The Unwritten Rules

Do you know what's great about the official rules of baseball? They're already great. From the different ground rules of each ballpark, to the little known quirks that will teach even the diehard fan a thing or two from time to time, dramatic changes aren't necessary. Like with any sport, tweaks will be needed from time to time, but for the most part, baseball rules are well enough left alone.

However, there is one horribly antiquated part of baseball rules that is long overdue for dismissal -- the hallowed unwritten rules.

Simply put, it's time for these rules to go. Don't stare too long at your homerun. Don't celebrate a strikeout. Don't steal a base with a big late lead. Don't stare into a dugout. Essentially, any emotion shown in the game of baseball needs to be both reserved for the right moment, and controlled to a modest level.

Throw it out. Just throw it all out. Stop trying to be the enforcers for the history of the game, you look ridiculous doing it. (I'm looking at you, Tony LaRussa). Stop worrying about what the other team is doing and worry about your own team. If you want to teach your players to play the game a certain way, that's your right. It's neither your right or responsibility to worry about how the other team plays the game.

Baseball is a completely different and more diverse game than it was 50 years ago. Players come from all regions of the globe and all walks of life and cultures, and celebrate their accomplishments in different ways. Many not ever know or understand the nuances of the history of the game. Yet, baseball continues to be the only sport in which throwing a dangerous object at the ribcage of another individual is accepted because 'he didn't play the game the right way'. Quit trying to police the enthusiasm of a young man who has worked his whole life to get to this point.

Furthermore, some unwritten rules don't even make good strategic sense. Managers have complained about having no-hitters broken up with a bunt in a 2 run game. One team's desire to see history does not take precedence over the other team's right to try to give themselves the best possible chance to win the game. And that team stealing 2nd with a 5 run lead in the 8th? Perhaps they're not trying to show up the other team, but they may simply not trust their bullpen. Either way, it's not an item to be policed.

While I'd like to see these unwritten rules gone tomorrow, the truth is that it will take a cultural shift before we see it take place. Remember, there was a time in the sport of basketball when dunking was considered to be showing up the opposing team. The good news is, I think that Major League Baseball is seeing a gradual shift in that direction, and the time will likely come when we look back on the enforcement of baseball's unwritten rules and find it humorous in retrospect. Take heart when that happens, Mr. Carpenter -- you'll find a way to explain it to your kids one day.