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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. Ditto - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    Can we just give A-Rod an imaginary fine for breaking this unwritten (imaginary) rule and move on? Really?

  2. YANKEES1996 - Apr 23, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    Reminds me of Carlos Zambrano…

  3. Elvis - Apr 23, 2010 at 5:05 PM

    I agree with you. Saw Baseball Tonight and I almost had to clean out my ears when Braden said the pitcher’s mound in the middle of the field because he’s the center of the freakin’ universe. And to think I thought it was because it was easier than pitching from right field! Boy, he has an inflated sense of self. I’d hate to see him get upset when there’s a REAL crisis. Obviously, A-Rod was just pulling his leg. It reminds me when I was a kid sitting in back seat of the car sticking my hand in front of my sister’s face, invading her space telling her, “Not touching you, not touching you!!” It’s a kid’s game where adult men get paid ka-jillion $$$!!! The fate of the universe doesn’t rest on this. But it sure makes for great entertainment. Can’t wait to see when the A’s come to NY – that’ll be good.

  4. Bill - Apr 23, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    John, I ‘m with you and my baseball playing goes back to the late 50’s thru the 70’s. I also was a pitcher & never ever here that. And I think I porbably did that a lot, because, if I was left on first or third and headed to the dugout there would be no way I would have walked around the mound. And sorry a pitcher could not say that it is his only. I think he needs to get a life.

  5. Ryan - Apr 23, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    Tell him I can’t talk, I have Joba Chamberlain on the line already.

  6. SpankMonkey - Apr 23, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    First, idiot NY fans will ALWAYS defend ARoid. He’s a total puss just like most NY fans. Geeze, I would not do Madonna with any of you NY groupies tiny pee pee. I am not huge baseball nerd but I HAVE heard you don’t go into the pitchers kitchen. Go to the closet and grab that gay ass too tight pin strip tee shirt with he sleeve ripped off and worship your boyz … in private please.

  7. ROBERT GREENE - Apr 23, 2010 at 5:26 PM

    Agree with 90% of all writers on subject. Alex was perfectly in his rights to walk across the field ( which he had to ) and as I saw the game he never stepped on the rubber or NEAR IT. He crossed over just touching a little of the mound. I as a pitcher never ever have heard of such a thing. I was pro and amateur. Everyone if crossing where the mound was in the line of crossing walked over it. Who in their right mind would walk all the way around a pitchers mound when walking across from third to your dugout or from first to your dugout across the field. This pitcher Braden is a crybaby for sure and for sure can’t carry A-Rods underware let alone play with him. A-Rods got more class in his little finger then Braden in his entire body. Braden better go back to grade school and grow up. Bob Greene

  8. weez - Apr 23, 2010 at 5:28 PM

    you are an idiot. pitchers already break your no headhunting unwritten rule numerous times a year. figure it out.

  9. markbath - Apr 23, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    If Alex gets hit by a pitch the next time he plays against these whiny babies I hope he drops the pitcher with a haymaker or a baseball bat up side the head. What a whimp Braden is.

  10. JB - Apr 23, 2010 at 6:03 PM

    Arod didn’t run across his “Landing Spots” watch the video for crying out loud.

  11. Jim - Apr 23, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    I said-a Hey! (Hey!), You! (You!), Get offa my mound!
    Don’t hand around, two’s a crowd.
    But Kate can stay.

  12. ex-AT2(AW) - Apr 23, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    I was a bullpen pitcher in college. I recall jamming a batter who grounded out. He ran across the mound to congratulate me on my nasty knuckler that was actually a split. I said “thanks”. If I knew this rule….I would have shown him my “knuckler” and “split” his nose.

  13. David - Apr 23, 2010 at 6:37 PM

    Every pitcher who face A-Rod from here on out should fire one at his head or back at least one at bat for the rest of his career.

  14. Old Gator - Apr 23, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    Have we really wasted almost ninety posts on what some juvenile idiot prima donna of a pitcher with balls bigger than his brain by several magnitudes expectorated in the direction of a guy who’s going to be glaring frozenly down at his grandchildren from a plaque in Cooperstown years after they’ve forgotten where grandpa’s grave is?

  15. chris - Apr 23, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    John, I have heard of the rule. Grant it, I have been around baseball all of my life, but I am a woman and I knew it! Nonetheless, A-Rod was arrogant which does not help his cause. Even if it is a silly rule!

  16. San Francisco Ed - Apr 23, 2010 at 7:22 PM

    These unwritten rules of baseball are killing me and turns me away from the game more and more. Just shut up and play the game. There are no such thing as “unwritten” rules.

  17. Anthony - Apr 23, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    This will be something Braden can tell his kids one day, how a guy with no career was able to stand up to one of the games all time greats.

  18. Bill Hendricks - Apr 23, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    It is an unwritten rule whethe you are too stupid to have ever considered it or not.
    The same way that in trafic, ‘stop’ signs are really only for idiots too stupid to know that they are approaching a dangerous point in the road, where cars or people intersect. A normal wise person knows they should stop even without the sign. The sign is there mainly for stupid people.
    So I agree that Braden, rather than waste words on a stupid person, should just plunk him good next time they square off. Just the way Bob Gibson or Nolan Ryan would.

  19. Big Harold - Apr 23, 2010 at 8:21 PM

    I’ve followed and played baseball for about 45 years and I never heard of this “unwritten” rule. Braden’s entire rant is complete horse$hit and he comes across as a total punk. On a day when A-Rod was instrumental in a triple play what is the headline, .. Dallas Braden’s nonsensical outrage? The ONLY reason this BS minor incident is getting any traction is that A-Rod is the alleged culprit. Somebody on the A’s should tell Dallas to be quite and act like a grown up. There is a significant percentage of baseball fans that can’t stand A-Rod and look for every opportunity to dump on him. That’s OK, that why he gets the big bucks, he can deal with it. But, this is a non-issue.
    There is an old saying that the best revenge is living well. Twenty years from now, A-Rod will be in the HOF and Dallas Braden will be the answer to a trivia question.

  20. Son of Shane Mack - Apr 23, 2010 at 8:24 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.
    I’m sure that there are lots of unwritten rules that the public and those “experienced” ballplayers who just play beer-league softball or something in the posts above aren’t aware of.
    I guarantee that A-Rod knew exactly what he was doing in this instance – dissing the pitcher. He just didn’t think he’d get called out for it. Typical play for him – he’s always acting like the rules – written or unwritten – don’t apply to him, since he’s special or something. Whatever. At least he’s with the Yankees, where he belongs.
    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.

    No you don’t. Just watch.

  21. Mike G. - Apr 23, 2010 at 8:31 PM

    I was taught this in Little League when I was nine years old.

  22. phillip - Apr 23, 2010 at 9:28 PM

    Braden is 3-0 with an ERA of 2.77 that is all star material hardly a no namehandley

  23. KELLY - Apr 23, 2010 at 9:29 PM


  24. TC - Apr 23, 2010 at 10:05 PM

    Jeter’s thoughts?

  25. mgflolox - Apr 23, 2010 at 10:53 PM

    I wonder how many defenders A-Rod would have if he’d “choked” last postseason? Jus’ curious.

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