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A-Rod, Dallas Braden and baseball etiquette

Apr 23, 2010, 1:30 PM EST

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. Chuck - Apr 23, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    Rule or no rule it boils down to class. Jeter would never do this, he has class. Arod is just an *ss!

  2. Noel - Apr 23, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    Been watching/following baseball all my life and have never heard of this rule. Some people have and some people haven’t, It does not excuse Dallas Braden’s behavior in channeling Carlos Zambrano in the dugout. If you have a problem with something ARod did then confront him about it, don’t yell at him while walking to the dugout. Then to go on TV and call the area where he pitches the “center of the universe” is just plain stupid.
    The next time Braden walks near the batter’s box after a backing up a play at home plate, the batter should get mad and yell “stay out of my box! This is the center of my universe!”

  3. MK - Apr 23, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    It’s interesting how just about every commenter here criticizing A-Rod is calling him names, many of which are painfully unclever. Clearly a total stranger running across the back of a pitcher’s mound is something a lot of people are taking very personally.
    Strike that…it’s not so much interesting as so, so very sad.

  4. Peabody - Not Sherm - Apr 23, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    Well, if he’s pitching in the Majors he’s really not a “wannabe”, now, is he?

  5. PJ - Apr 23, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    I’ve played all my life and STILL play recreationally. And most adult leagues feature players who worry waaay too much about “unwritten rules”. I’ve never heard this one, though I can’t imagine myself jogging across the mound in any event.
    Alex Rodriguez is many things… a jerk, a poor sport, a cheat. But — and it pains me to say this — he’s getting a bum rap here. I’ve never heard of the kid who was pitching but I’ll say this: I’m guessing Rodriguez avoids the mound completely if it’s Nolan Ryan or Greg Maddux up there.
    Somebody tell this kid to shut up and EARN some respect. Too many kids today — athletes or otherwise — want respect they don’t merit. What an idiot.

  6. D-Luxxx - Apr 23, 2010 at 3:43 PM

    I didn’t play baseball in high school or college, but I have heard of this rule. Notice the few people on here who have are pitchers. That’s your area, if you don’t belong on the mound, you stay off of it. This is something that was told to me by my little league coach, and it still holds true today:
    “There’s a reason it’s called the ‘pitcher’s mound.’ It’s his.”
    A Rod is a prick. That doesn’t make him any less talented, but he’s still a prick. Plain and simple. Even if you’re a Yankee’s fan you have to be able to see that. If not, then you’re probably a prick too.

  7. YANKEES1996 - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    The A’s pitcher Braden is BABY, A-Rod breaks an unwritten rule and he storms off the field yelling, has to be escorted by his manager, throws his glove and kicks over a bunch of cups in the dugout, lets talk about Little League… shall we? My grandson plays pee-wee league basball and he and the kids on his team don’t act that way, this Braden guy is a jerk and he is in the Majors? They should fine his dumb a$$ and suspend him for his lack maturity. But everyone in the country is anti A-Rod so continue to blame him.

  8. Joey B - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    “And how many soldiers died in Iraq & Afghanistan today so that this would be the biggest issue of the day in some people’s lives.”
    Then why are you in here reading a BB if there are so many more important issues going on?
    IRT ARod, it’s kind of common sense. I’ve never seen anyone run across the mound in my 40+ years of watching BB. It’s kind of weird that it would even happen. You don’t walk through the other team’s shoot around prior to a basketball game. You don’t run past the opposing teams’ territory in a FB pre-game stretch. Just ARod being ARod.

  9. BigBBFan - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    The fallout from this totally insignificant event is proof positive that $30,000,000 creates a lot of envy, petty behavior and downright lying by others such as players, writers, TV announcers and a whole host of blogers with an IQ well below the Mendoza line.
    First I watched the replay, A-Rod did NOT walk on the pictchers mound, he walked on the backslope of the pitchers mound…big difference here.
    The person that has no class here is is Dallas Braden. Oh well I guess if you are as insignificant in the baseball world as he is you are desperately looking for your 15 minutes.

  10. Kurt - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    Get real people. Yelling “HA” on a popup?? R u kidding me?? If there were grenades going off in the background the guy still should have caught it…MAJOR LEAGUE PLAYER…POP FLY. give me a break. u can’t catch that, RETIRE IMMEDIATELY!!!!!! don’t blame anyone else for you not being able to catch what a little leaguer could have caught at 6 years old!

  11. stackers1 - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    It’s just A-Rod being Manny.

  12. Drew - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    Did anyone watch Baseball Tonight last night? They talked to Braden. He said something along the lines of “The pitcher’s mound is in the middle of the field, because when I’m pitching, I’m the center of the universe.” Karl Ravech questioned him on that, and he didn’t seem to be kidding around. I have to say, it sounds like someone with an overinflated sense of self was definitely involved in this situation, and I’m not sure it was A-Rod, though he’s of course the usual suspect.

  13. J Dub - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    Exactly. A-Rod wouldn’t be nearly as hated if he just owned up to doing that type of crap. All he’d have to do is grin and say “You caught me” and he’d be some fun loving guy playing a game. Instead, he takes the deny till you die route and he becomes an a-hole.

  14. whitty - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    Stole this from a comment at River Ave. Blues, but it’s funny:
    http://www.flipflopflyin.com/flipflopflyball/bradenia.png

  15. YankeesfanLen - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    Everyone breathe deeply, do a yoga pose, have a beer. Put on a replay of the triple play, the real play of at least April.
    Even I’ll accept the loss (actually they have 49 left in my book) and don’t let puerile foolishness weigh to heavily.
    The obligatory: Leave ARod alone.

  16. Bud - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    I played ball in high school and early college. I just found out about this rule and I apologize to those that I have offended in the past. I have stepped on mounds countless times passing through towards the dugout.

  17. Johnny - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    Throw at his head? Ray Chapman is on line one and wants to have a word with you.

  18. Evan - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    That’s irrelevant. You’re entitled to your opinion, but I think for most people (including yourself) anything Arod says/does is classless. If Craig, our sportswritter/blogger has never heard of the rule, we can assume that most people have never heard of it. We can also assume that Arod MIGHT be telling the truth when he says he’s never heard of it and that he didn’t even realize that Braden was yelling at him. Assuming that’s all true, than I don’t blame Arod for calling out the “little doggy” that was barking at him.
    .
    This situation reminds me of the infamous Pedro/Karim Garcia incident. I think that situation was more black and white, but the parallels are there. Regardless of who was right or wrong, the media always tries to create these feuds so they can write about it and sell more advertising. The “big name” player has everything to lose and nothing to gain if they have a feud with a no-name player. That’s why, 9 times out of 10, the big name player is going to belittle the “no-name” guy before eventually pusing the “no comment” button.
    .
    Finally, everyone needs to stop comparing Arod to Jeter. I am so sick and tired of hearing, “well Jeter would never do something like this…” Arod is not, and never will be, Derek Jeter. If Derek Jeter represents the classiest you can be, John Rocker probably represents the lowest class imaginable. I’d say Arod fits somewhere in between, but he’s far “from classless”.

  19. JimmyCanuck - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    For all those who say they’ve played ball all their lives and never heard of this rule, I have a question: So did you go running across the pitcher’s mound whenever it was convenient? Did you see other player’s doing that?
    Just curious.

  20. Mike - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:38 PM

    Can’t we just say it’s a case of A-Rod being A-Rod? That seems to work for everything Manny Ramirez does. But the pitcher did come off looking like a baby.

  21. billybill - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    I know what you mean.Kinda reminds me of Paul O’Neill.

  22. Nasty Boy - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    As most people on this site , I’ve never heard of this unwritten rule either . I’ll tell you one thing though , if I was Arod I would have taught this little pimp some respect . Where does this nobody come off trying to make a super star like Arod , or any other veteran ballplayer look bad . Arod should knock him on his ass the first chance he gets. I think it will be interesting the next time they meet , and that will be at the stadium in New York . If I know anything about the Yankee pitchers , one of them will take it out on one of Oakland’s star players . Oh I forgot , they don’t have any stars.

  23. hotshot - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    I can’t stan A-Rod but this is a stupid hiddend rule, like the many they have i baseball and golf..Just silly stuff.

  24. PJ - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    @JimmyCanuck,
    About the only time you’d possibly do it is if you were returning to first base after a foul ball in the outfield or if you’d made an out and were returning to your team’s dugout. Otherwise it really wouldn’t happen. In all my years of playing I don’t recall doing it. I guess that’s why I never heard of this “rule”… But even if it weren’t a rule, it just seems the mound is a place everyone but the pitcher intuitively avoids.
    Either way, Rodriguez has always been a dimwit. And the sports world is littered with brilliantly talented, intellectually-challenged superstars just like him. Doesn’t justify this nobody pitcher spouting off.

  25. geezstring - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    Both guys are jerks but this pitcher started it – and he has no where to go. I have never heard this unwritten rule before and have played and followed baseball all of my life. I actually believe this pitcher was trying to make something out of nothing because you have never heard his name before yesterday. Let’s not automatically assume that just because an “unwritten rule” has been around for a long time that it should stay. The insane “rule” about throwing at batters for certain reasons…. well, that one we all know about at least. But you cannot think that these unwritten rules should be accepted when throwing at a batter should never be accepted. This pitcher will go away A-roid will never change.

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