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A-Rod, Dallas Braden and baseball etiquette

Apr 23, 2010, 1:30 PM EDT

Alex Rodriguez mound incident.jpgWe talked about this one a bit already, but let’s go deeper.  Here’s Dallas Braden after l’affaire A-Rod-walky-over-the-moundy:

“The long and short of it is it’s pretty much baseball etiquette. He
should probably take a note from his captain over there, because you don’t run across
the pitcher’s mound in between an inning or during the game. I was just
dumbfounded that he would let that slip his mind.”

And here was A-Rod’s response (see full video of his comments here):

“He just told me to get off his mound. I was a little
surprised. I’ve never quite heard that, especially from a guy that has a
handful of wins in his career. I’ve never even heard of that in my
career and I still don’t know. I thought it was pretty funny, actually.”

I wrote this morning that I had never heard of that particular unwritten rule. Since then, however, I’ve done a bit of Googling and read some stuff some other people have written and I think it’s safe to say that it’s at least a minor unwritten rule. It’s not up there with “don’t steal second when you have a 10-run lead” or “don’t go one-flap-down on your home run trot unless you’re Jeffrey Leonard,” but it exists. It may be a dumb rule — as so many of the unwritten rules are — but it’s a rule and ballplayers seem to care about such things.

Which causes A-Rod’s comments to ring hollow. That guy has been around baseball his whole life, so I’m assuming he’s heard of it.  He may or may not have walked across the mound with the intention of getting under Dallas Braden’s skin — maybe it was just a brain lock — but his response was truly intended to.

The “handful of wins” line was particularly egregious. As a person who occasionally gets ripped because he doesn’t have the background and experience many others do in this business, it hits a little close to home. I hate it when guys make irrelevant appeals to authority like that. I’m guessing everyone on the Athletics team, all of whom are younger than Rodriguez, hate it too.  It’s probably going to get A-Rod a ball in the back the next time these teams face each other. Which will set off a whole other set of unwritten rule compliance and analysis, but let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.

As for Braden, I like his pluck.  The “get off my mound” is a bit too Gunnery Sgt. Hartman for me, but good for him for not backing down from what he perceived to be a challenge to his authority and dignity and all of that stuff. Get off my obstacle, Pvt. Rodriguez.

Of course if he gets lit up for seven runs in three innings the next time he faces the Yankees, he will have lost this match in the third set. Fair? I dunno, but that’s just how it works when you starting playing these macho, territorial games.

UPDATE: Speaking of territorial games, Flip Flop Fly Ballin’ has mapped out this whole issue in terms that I think all of us can understand.

123 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Ryan - Apr 23, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    What a complete and utter prick. A-Rod breaks unwritten rules, let the pitchers break unwritten rules right back: head hunting. No one else is more deserving.

  2. APBA Guy - Apr 23, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    Full Metal Jacket is indeed half a great movie. You probably heard the story that when Kubrick was auditioning R. Lee Ermey he kept prodding him to be more abusive. Evidently the production assistants were laughing like recruits so Ermey just lit into them until they were terrified, then Kubrick gave him the job on the spot.
    Braden will get lit up at some point. That’s been his history. And he’s pitching with some foot issues, so he looks like Jamie Moyer’s clone right now. The Yankees looked like they couldn’t wait to get on the plane yesterday, so they helped him out by not being their usual patient selves. He did throw a lot of first pitch strikes though.

  3. John - Apr 23, 2010 at 1:48 PM

    I’ve been around baseball all my life. Played in college, etc, and I’ve never heard of that rule either

  4. Pete - Apr 23, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    That little infield exchange was priceless. Say what you will about right and wrong – that was just quality entertainment…

  5. John - Apr 23, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    How about Braden calms down a bit? Of all the things a batter can do to “show up” a pitcher, this might be the LEAST offensive. Especially since nobody would have even noticed it happened if this guy didn’t make such a big deal and start literally screaming on the field abou it.
    A-Rod is always going to rub people the wrong way and deservedly so…he simply can’t help being an oblivious jerk sometimes. But what does the old “ball in the back” accomplish? The A’s are going to feel tough for about 2 seconds? Is A-Rod going to all of a sudden “respect” Braden and his teammates? What a pointless waste of time…

  6. Goofin Around - Apr 23, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    There are 3 things on A-Rod’s resume..
    1. Trying to knock the ball out of the pitcher’s glove covering 1st
    2. Yelling “Ha”(or something) on a popup
    3. Running over the mound.
    These are all things I would do playing with friends in a pickup game. You’re just messing around with each other.
    Maybe it doesn’t really belong in pro-baseball, but I still think it’s funny. (And I bet they have a laugh about it in the clubhouse, excepting the smacking the glove one)
    Baseball is a game kids play, and although in actuallity it’s probably not the case, my hope is that he hasn’t left that part of having a good time from his childhood.
    On a differnt slant, I appreciated the comment I saw that was, if Joba did the same thing as Braden then people would be screaming about the Yankees sense of entitlment.

  7. sam - Apr 23, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    all i can say is that i never ran across the mound when i played and i dont think i saw anybody do it either.. and even if u havent heard of the rule i would bet that you still didnt run across the mound just out of respect.. i like braden calling out arod personally

  8. Wh - Apr 23, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    We’re talking about A-Rod, the same guy who slapped the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s Hand, lied about his steroid use, called off the shortstop on the popup when he was running the bases, etc. This stuff shouldn’t surprise anyone.

  9. bobcrs - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    Just another MSNBC fake headline grabber to get you to click into the page to see some Ads…..”Controversy”???!! Does anyone care!

  10. Rick B. - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:02 PM

    I’ve never heard of that unwritten rule, and I haven’t seen any comments about other players saying it is an unwritten rule. And look at the video…it’s not like A-Rod ran across the top of the mound and kicked the rubber…he ran across the edge of the mound, which was on his path between third and first. He should go out of his way to avoid that? Why? Braden looked pretty foolish.

  11. Neil - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    How is anyone surprised by this? The last incident that jumps to mind, as a proud Canadian and Jays fan, was a play where A-Rod gave a fake “mine” call behind a third basemen. He was standing on third, denying what he had clearly done as the bigscreen showed a close-up of him calling the ball while running behind the third baseman. And then the ump doesn’t call him out for it and he’s laughing with Giambi about it in the dugout. If my ten year old did that in a little league game he’d be watching at least the rest of that game and more if he didn’t run over and apologize after the game. I hate the Yankees, but I respect a lot of their players (Jeter especially). A-rod is the biggest douche in baseball (funny Mark McGwire still gets ripped as a hitting coach yet nobody even mentions A-Rod and steroids anymore) and has no respect for the game that made him millions. And I bet, supressing my seething anger, that he’ll sure get a pass to the Hall of Fame.

  12. Dan - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    Played SS in HS and in college. Never heard of it. With that said, hardly heard of the A’s either…lol

  13. Nick - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    Regardless of if you hear about that rule or not you don’t run across a pitchers mound. As a pitcher you see the mound as yours, just like the inside corner of the plate. You own it.
    A-Rod was wrong, but I dont believe Braden should have continued to yell at him after the inning was over. It’s a no no, but he got real angry about it.
    Also A-Rods comment about having a handful wins was bush league as it comes. The man has been playing baseball his entire life, and to make it to the Majors for any amount of time you have to be great.

  14. Brett - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    I think there is a way to make your point and a way to not make your point. If A-Rod ran across Nolan Ryan’s mound, he would not have said a single word. The only thing Ryan would have done is put one 98 miles per hour between A-Rod’s numbers and then darned him to do something about it.

  15. Jamie - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    The difference, of course, being that running across the mound is not life-threatening in any way.

  16. thisisbeth - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    The problem with minor unwritten rules is that some people don’t hear of them. Other players may not run across the mound not because of conscious knowledge of the rule, but something subconscious in never seeing anyone don that. Some might chalk it up to something like some pitchers refusing to step on the foul lines when they enter or exist the playing field. I will give A-Rod the benefit of the doubt for not knowing the rules (and I’m not a Yankees fan; I do not like them at all). I will give Braden some credit for calling out A-Rod. However, I think Braden may have been a tad over-dramatic in his calling out of A-Rod. Yelling at him from the mound: good. Continuing the beef after the game: Over-dramatic.

  17. Cory - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    A-Rod was going to walk around the mound, but realized how badly Bud wants to speed up the game, so he took the quickest possible route.

  18. Eddie Beck - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    I couldn’t have said it better Ryan.

  19. Ryan - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    I don’t understand why Braden is getting any backlash over this. Maybe I’m hypersensitive because I was a pitcher, but I definitely wouldn’t want some guy running across the mound when I was pitching, Pitchers spend so much time getting the rubber and their landing spots set for a reason. That’s how you mess up knees (not to mention any mental effect due to perception) and A-Rod, despite what he says, knows better. He’s lying, just like he has repeatedly in the past. What an asshole.

  20. Angelos - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    Silliest thing I’ve ever heard.
    Maybe Mr. Braden should go back to geometry class, reacquaint himself with the “shortest distance between two points” axiom.
    Never in my years of baseball playing and fandom have I heard of this “unwritten rule.”

  21. Mike - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    “Don’t run over the pitcher’s mound out of respect?” Respect for what? Should I not touch first base out of respect for the first baseman, how about home plate and the catcher? Running over the mound after you’ve made the last out, really? Did it warrant the childish tirade Braden displayed in the dugout? You’ve got to be kidding me. I am a Yankee fan and always have been. I like A-Rod, but have not always agreed with his actions, but on this one I think Braden had the brain lock. Maybe after he gets his 20th win it will become “his mound,” but I doubt it. If this were Nolan Ryan or Roger Clemens or Whitey Ford or someone of that stature they may have more of a right to call it “my” mound, but I’m still not sure! Were A-Rod’s actions in the other 2 instances bush-league? Sure, but lumping this in is just stupid. So he gets plunked next game because of this perceived injustice and then the benches are warned or maybe one of the A’s gets beaned back (would indlude a name if they weren’t floundering in obscurity). Braden goes 7 and 9 and they watch the playoffs from home. Move on.

  22. Wow, Just Wow - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    Dallas Braden? Really? His first name alone makes him a target of contempt to most NY fans. But his little melt-down just makes him look like he’s got too much sand in his ‘gina.
    A-Rod should do a “Dutch” on him and give him a 2009 WS ring tatoo on his forehead.
    WTFC about this…did you see the triple play?

  23. Superdoc - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    I played baseball for 15 years. Little league, high school and college ball. I followed baseball for much longer. I have NEVER heard of this “unwritten rule”

  24. Wow, Just Wow - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    Yeah, that yell A-Rod let out during the Jays game cost them a playoff spot. Those Jays are simply awesome and A-Rod ruined everything…

  25. Wayne - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    Was a pitcher in HS and in college. You do not run over the mound, you are invading the pitchers space and you know you are going to pay for doing that.

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