Skip to content

All Hail the breakers of the unwritten rules

Aug 13, 2013, 11:33 AM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers Getty Images

Bryce Harper. Yasiel Puig. Anyone else who fights against the dumb unwritten rulebook which, apparently, mandates that no fun or expression be had on a baseball field. Those are the men who Sports on Earth’s Tomas Rios hails:

Baseball’s obsession with notions of “class” and “respect” and “tradition” and “endless other vagaries no one cares about” are largely to blame for this static state of affairs. Follow a team for a season and you’ll become intimately familiar not only with the RULES, but the frequent Victorian fainting couch trips that follow transgressions against the RULES. Grown adults flopping about dramatically, back of palm on forehead, reaching for yet another opium calmative — all because someone has dared sully the gentleman’s game.

I can’t disagree. It is entirely possible to show flair and emotion and have some damn fun without being a bad sport or a bad teammate. As long as you aren’t mocking the opposition (in an absolute sense; not under the dumb codes baseball players have developed) and as long as you aren’t pissing off your teammates, go forth and be demonstrative, my friends.

  1. thomas844 - Aug 13, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    A lot of people seem to forget that baseball is, in fact, a GAME. Too many players treat an MLB game like a day at the office. That’s why I love watching guys like Puig, Harper, Phillips, etc.

    • raysfan1 - Aug 13, 2013 at 12:42 PM

      “The umpire says ‘play ball,’ not ‘work ball.'”
      –Wille Stargell

  2. yahmule - Aug 13, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Decent article until it devolved into utter absurdity:

    “A 22-year-old Mike Trout may be the best baseball player alive, but he doesn’t have the instantaneous appeal of either Harper or Puig. That sort of charisma is just as rare as the ability to make major league pitching look pedestrian, which is why both players are such ubiquitous topics of conversation.”

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 13, 2013 at 12:24 PM

      I would say that is fair. Trout is spectacular at baseball, but he does it all in a very businesslike manner. There is not much flair outside of the performance itself.

      One can debate, of course, whether that is a good or bad thing. But for all of Trout’s abilities he has not really developed the clut-fandom of Puig or Harper, outside of the SABR guys in MVP debates

      • yahmule - Aug 13, 2013 at 12:51 PM

        I would say anybody who can’t see that this young man plays with a joy for the game is simply not looking very hard. He plays just as balls out as anybody and he certainly appears to be enjoying himself out there. Maybe not quite as many grins this year as last year because the Angels are having a tough season. His fundamentals are very sound and he doesn’t Cadillac. I would say he has just as many fans as Harper or Puig, but he gets less attention from ESPN and the other places people voluntarily go to dumb themselves down every day.

      • nbjays - Aug 13, 2013 at 12:54 PM

        I agree Yahmule. Trout leads Harper in every offensive category in the game, and is a much better baserunner and defender. The only thing he doesn’t lead Harper in is sports media hype.

  3. raysfan1 - Aug 13, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Mmmm…opium!

  4. jeffbbf - Aug 13, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    sorry…not buying it. First, there is plenty of celebrating in baseball. The difference between baseball and, say, football, is that baseball players tend to make a spectacle of themselves on a walk-off hit. Football players love to celebrate ALL THE TIME. Losing 31-7? Celebrate after a sack! Get up after catching a pass and make the 1st down sign! Dance in the endzone after closing the gap to 31-14! Fans loved Walter Payton. When he scored, he dropped the football, or gave it to an offensive lineman to spike. Nobody ever complained that he wasn’t “entertaining” enough – it was enough just to watch him play.

    Baseball is a 162 game schedule. The spectacular happens all the time, and players know that one day (or play, or at-bat) they could be celebrating. The next, they may look horrible. Just better to keep the act somewhere down the middle most of the time.

    • natslady - Aug 13, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      Agree. If you celebrate all the time, it loses meaning. Especially if you celebrate “personal” events, like a meaningless solo homerun. Save it.

    • yahmule - Aug 13, 2013 at 1:41 PM

      This is so true. I watch Bronco games I taped from the early 80s. A guy will make a great tackle for no gain, slap hands with the nearest teammate in an understated way, and head back to the huddle. Now it isn’t uncommon to see a guy will make an arm tackle 15 yards downfield and get up beating his chest. There is a difference between honest emotion and contrived self aggrandizement.

    • kevinbnyc - Aug 13, 2013 at 1:43 PM

      I’m all for the “act like you’ve been here before” attitude, but it’s nice to see guys who actually appear to be having fun. A lot of guys just seem to be out there because they have to be. Kevin Youkilis stands out in my mind. Guy could have been standing at 3rd base or at his mother’s grave-side. You’d never know the difference.

    • paperlions - Aug 13, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      You aren’t fooling anyone.

  5. blacksables - Aug 13, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    I agree. By all means should people not respect each other or believe in any traditions. None of that has any place in the world at all.

    • clemente2 - Aug 14, 2013 at 6:15 AM

      Reading comprehension, much?

  6. jimsjam33 - Aug 15, 2013 at 3:42 AM

    Just saw Puig win another impossible game for the Dodgers tonight with his throwing arm and insane base running . Most exciting player since Pete Rose .

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Why is Wren out and Gonzalez is not?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Castillo (2639)
  2. J. Hamilton (2061)
  3. J. Heyward (2055)
  4. M. Trout (1950)
  5. D. Ortiz (1893)
  1. J. Ellsbury (1853)
  2. D. Jeter (1845)
  3. S. Pearce (1839)
  4. C. Kershaw (1826)
  5. A. Pagan (1757)