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Tim McCarver tries to have fun with the “unwritten rules,” fails

Oct 17, 2013, 8:30 AM EDT

The other night golfer Hunter Mahan, obviously a baseball fan, tweeted something about the unwritten rules hubbub involving Yasiel Puig:


That’s the top retort for most folks who don’t take issue with on-field demonstrativeness and makes a lot of sense.

Fox’s producers decided to run with that, however, and had Tim McCarver reference the tweet and jokingly argue that if a golfer had no problem with a violation of unwritten rules in baseball, then he’d clearly have no problem with violations in golf too. So he suggested some violations, such as letting pro golfers wear shorts, talking while one’s  opponent is hitting, walking over putting lines and to driving into foursomes in front of you. Here’s a screen grab:


Two problems with this, of course. First: these wouldn’t be violations of any unwritten rules.  They’d be violations of actual rules.  Pro golfers are not permitted to wear shorts by explicit PGA rules. USGA rule 16 prohibits players from touching putting lines. The USGA also explicitly spells out the contours of golf etiquette with respect to talking while other players are hitting and allowing space between you and the group in front of you.

The second, and much bigger, problem with this: looking at golf as any sort of model of behavior and decorum for baseball in the first place. Golf has a stick so far up its hind end that even Brian McCann, Chris Carpenter and Tony La Russa would tell golfers to chill the heck out, dude, and try to have a little fun out there. The last thing I’d ever want is anything akin to a golf sensibility spilling into baseball.

In any event: until the MLB rules talk about what one can and one cannot do when they do something good in a baseball game, all of this talk remains ridiculous.

  1. cur68 - Oct 17, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    I wander if FOX producers are in awe of McCarver or something? How do they let him go to air with this stuff? His analogy so clearly fails, yet they let him run with it. Are they too timid to say “Tim, this is crap. Re-do it”? Perhaps it isn’t awe. Perhaps they hate his ass. Actually, I bet that’s it. They say “Hey! Tim’s gonna make a fool of himself! Coolio! AIR, that baby!”

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:01 AM

      I tend to wander a lot to. Sometimes I’ll be surprised where my wanderings take me. I found this nice little bakery not too far from home. It’s good to wander about.

      And I agree, I’m pretty sure these guys were actually laughing while Tim was rambling.

    • paperlions - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:45 AM

      I doubt that the Fox producers of baseball games are actually baseball fans or sports fans in general. They are producers. They probably have little idea what is crap and what is not with respect to the sport….if producers had any clue whatsoever, they wouldn’t always be interviewing people no one wants to hear from during games and those dumb ass manager interviews would be gone, and so would side-line reporters….because any sports fan just wants to see the action and to have commentary that supplements and enhances the viewing experience, whereas producers are approximately 0-for-infinity in their attempts to meet the sports viewers wants and needs.

      • cur68 - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:49 AM

        About the only time I can recall when a scheduled sideline interview was pretty awesome was when Evan Gattis’s dad was being interviewed JUST as Gattis homered for the first time. That was cool. Otherwise…meh.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:49 AM

        They’re all too busy watching FOOTBALL! To enjoy the subtleties of a game like Baseball. Because FOOTBALL!!!!!!! is so mainstream and popular and only the cool kids like FOOTBALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • nbjays - Oct 17, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        If Fox producers had a single clue about what is and isn’t crap with regards to baseball, they wouldn’t have McCarver and Joe “I Love Me” Buck on there in the first place.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 18, 2013 at 5:10 PM

        I am with you on the side line reporters. Conversely, I am saddened that I am apparently the only person who enjoys the Managers in-game interviews.

        If I were the Manager there is no way in hell you could make me give an in-game interview. Fine me or don’t fine me…my bench coach would give the interview every time.
        I realize that might be a contradiction…but I don’t give a damn.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:48 AM

      I would say that he sold his soul to the devil, but we all know he never had one to begin with. I think he’s secretly a dark agent silently recruiting for the pending ‘pocalypse.

    • stex52 - Oct 17, 2013 at 11:13 AM

      I listened to it last night. It was really lame. Two problems:

      Like we said above. The rules are written.

      Second problem. IT WASN’T FUNNY.

      Hey Tim. Don’t go away mad. Just go away.

    • kander013 - Oct 17, 2013 at 1:26 PM

      • cur68 - Oct 17, 2013 at 2:01 PM

        That the most spot on imitation of McCarver I’ve ever seen. Only thing wrong with it is The Buck isn’t grinning like a hyena. Other than that, its perfect.

    • racksie - Oct 17, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      My favorite from McCarver last night night was “he took that one off the front of his shoe. That’s where the toes are”…..For people who have been putting their shoes on backwards I assume?

  2. 4d3fect - Oct 17, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    “Tim McCarver tries to have fun; fails”


  3. spudchukar - Oct 17, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    Most of us know the antics Puig exudes is harmless. And while some of his exuberance is tough to figure out, it doesn’t deserve the scorn much of the media attention lends it. That said, his play at times is suspect. He selfishly hoisted an unnecessary and wildly unsuccessful throw home in the ninth inning that could well have cost the Dodgers the lead in an elimination game.

    It is a fine line he is treading, and while he certainly can excite the crowd, and his talent is immense, he also deserves an earful from management and fellow players for bone headed plays, like the one he exhibited yesterday.

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:02 AM

      I think the key point is we should let management and fellow players handle it. Not the media.

      • blacksables - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:06 AM

        There is nothing wrong with celebrating and having a good time. I think Lastings Milledge got a raw deal, and did nothing wrong.

        But there is a time and place for it.

        When live play has stopped and you’ve done something significant. Embarrassing yourself does not trump something significant.

      • spudchukar - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:09 AM

        Good Luck with that. The media has the right to say whatever. It is our job to find their errors, expose them, and hopefully influence their ignorance. Just like people should do with Puig.

  4. chadjones27 - Oct 17, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    Ha ha, non-funny people trying to be funny. That’s funny.

  5. DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 17, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    “The second, and much bigger, problem with this: looking at golf as any sort of model of behavior and decorum for baseball in the first place.”

    Craig – you are missing McCarvers point with a vengence. He is not holding Golf up as a model, he is noting the hypocrisy.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:09 AM

      Except it’s not hypocrisy. The things he claims are “unwritten rules” in golf are actual rules.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:32 AM

        We’re talking McCarver here – you really think he researched the technical accuracy of his examples? He may not have picked good rules, but I don’t see he is making any point beyond “Shut up Hunter, you guys have more unwritten rules then we do”

        And BTW, don’t know what your golf chops are, but there are unwritten rules about talking while another is hitting that go way beyond what is in the rule book. Ditto driving when a group is front of you, and respecting the putting line

  6. heyblueyoustink - Oct 17, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    Unwritten rules…. don’t leave dirty socks on the steps….no utensils left in the sink…..replace the toilet paper if you use the last sheets… wire hangers…NO WIRE HANGERS!

    • Old Gator - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:00 AM

      In a sluggish economy, never ever fuck with another man’s livelihood.

      • yahmule - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:42 AM

        Tell the police.

  7. Old Gator - Oct 17, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    Cut McCarver some slack. He’s been wounded in battle in the Civil War so many times that he doesn’t think clearly: Manassas. Antietam. Bull Run. The Crater. Gettysburg. Mansfield. Glorieta Pass. Fort Sumter (fighting alongside Abner Doubleday). Kernstown. And he’s probably going to be wounded again, so it will only get worse.

  8. blacksables - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    So written rules, no matter how stupid and useless or obscure, are fine, but unwritten rules that many people actually pay attention to and try to follow are forbidden?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:10 AM

      Well, they’re better. At least one can model one’s behavior after written rules rather than be told, after the fact, that you violated one. At least you can change or repeal written rules. The problem with the unwritten rules is that they are an ever-changing set of things that are subjectively applied by jerks.

      • blacksables - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:58 AM

        I can see your point, but I think you are condemning the many for the actions of a few. Anyone who willingly follows an unwritten rule is also applying it. Try working in the government or military, where the unwritten rules far outweigh anything in writing. And often make more sense.

      • jc4455 - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:16 AM

        @blacksables Normative systems are vastly superior to legalistic ones. Now obviously the really important stuff should be written down, but “how to appropriately behave in a baseball game after hitting a home run” is perfect for an unwritten rule. The insanely detailed rulebook of golf is a classic example of legalism run amok.

      • okwhitefalcon - Oct 17, 2013 at 1:52 PM

        “Applied by jerks?”

        Please elaborate Craig, go ahead and include the oh so predictable McCann/LaRussa/Carpenter angle (not narrative) – we know it’s coming anyway..

      • bh192012 - Oct 17, 2013 at 3:05 PM

        Craig, I’m pretty sure you’ve got it backwards, unwritten rules, otherwise known as courtesy, are usually applied to jerks.

  9. koufaxmitzvah - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    Is there a rule about carrying a cake with 70 lit candles in a cardboard box? That seemed sort of… extreme.

    • cur68 - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      Do you know, that was the most interesting, witty, and germane thing McCarver said last evening? Precisely WHY was a cake with a veritable forrest fire on it in a cardboard box? Pity Buck let him down there by not recognizing and supporting McCarver’s wit.

      Ah McBuck, you do suck….

  10. jacobk621 - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    McCarver is way past his bed time ,, he was non- existent in the booth yesterday , there were long stretches when buck was the only one talking , at one point I thought he was by himself in the booth

    • yankeefanincolo - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      Now I know why I was enjoying the game so much, McCarver wasn’t talking as much! I wish he would do that more often, maybe take a nap from the 5th through the 8th innings.

  11. thebadguyswon - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    Golf is a joke. Complete waste of time and money.

  12. gmagic9044 - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    Yasiel Puig = Happy Gilmore

  13. yahmule - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    Roto leaguers, who would you rather draft next year, Yasiel Puig or Bryce Harper?

  14. jmar93 - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    At least he’s no Bob Costas.

  15. lightcleric - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    He’s on the right track with the “drive into every foursome in front of you” thing, though. Take it literally with golf carts and bam you have the Madden ’92 ambulance. I’d totally watch golf then.

  16. jarathen - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    And then Tim Hudson goes on Twitter and says that everyone who isn’t a MAJOR LEAGUE baseball player has an invalid/unwanted opinion about unwritten rules.

    Yeah, guy, I buy the tickets/merch/subs that keep MLB flush with cash, which means I am a customer, and I do have an opinion, and other fans have opinions, too.

    And we’re all sick of the posturing.

    • jarathen - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      Excuse me, MARK MULDER, not Tim Hudson.

      • Uncle Charlie - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:10 PM

        Who’s Mark Mulder?

      • jarathen - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:28 PM

        He was one of the aces of the “Moneyball” Oakland Athletics?

  17. mell2117 - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Celebrating a RBI double or an RBI triple in a tied or 1 run playoff game has now become wrong or someone’s belief in breaking an unwritten rule. The truth is pumping your fist or looking to the crowd with excitement in game 55 of the season is fine in my play book. Everyone is too sensitive or two worried about showing up the other team, maybe it’s the player just realizing he came through in that moment and did something good for his team.

    In golf if someone gets a hole in one or holes out from somewhere else on the course for birdie or better and there is a celebration of at least a fist pump and the crowd loves it. No unwritten rule about celebrating something you just did is even talked about. There are people (competitors) that are in that group that often times will clap, high five the golfer or heaven forbid celebrate with the player.

    Baseball players should be allowed to get into the game and interact with their teammates and the crowd with something good happens. It seems to be okay in any walk off celebration, but during the course of the game “don’t even try it”, it makes no sense.

    • jarathen - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:39 AM

      I wish all people everywhere stopped feeling good about doing well at anything. That’s the Brian McCann Way.

  18. km9000 - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    Having a better game than your opponent shouldn’t give you license to celebrate with excessive exuberance or attitude. If I hit a big putt, am I entitled to dance and gyrate because Mahan failed to build enough of a lead to keep me out of the running?

    It all boils down to people’s inability to agree on what’s excessive, and what’s bad sportsmanship, and what isn’t.

  19. beachnbaseball - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Tim McCarver = Ass Hat

    He’s way past his Prime Time.

    And teamed up with Buck, it’s worse than nails on a chalkboard.

  20. lawson1974 - Oct 17, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Fail? I think McCarver wins.

    The fact that golfs are actually written tells me that MLB should just write theirs into the rules.

  21. nothanksimdriving123 - Oct 17, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    First, baseball’s unwritten rules change, slowly but inevitably. Watch video of MLB celebrations from the early TV days and they will seem much more sedate than nowadays. No jumping up and down in a circle at home plate in a walk-off, etc.
    Second, golf’s rules are funny/silly. The silence rule is based on what people are accustomed to. An MLB pitcher facing bases loaded, none out, bottom of the 9th, tie game, you’d think might need to concentrate, but there is no silence rule. He’s expected to be able to focus because he’s a pro and has been doing it for many years. A golfer should also be able to focus with a crowd cheering, but needs silence because that’s what s/he’s used to. As Craig said, the shorts rule is just golf being its stuffed-shirt self. Similarly inane is pro golfers being expected to keep score for themselves, but if they err, it’s not just corrected, they are punished.

  22. pipkin42 - Oct 17, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    Dear Rich, Aging, White Men,

    We’re glad you like golf. Many of us don’t. We tuned in to watch baseball (or football – basketball announcers seem less plagued by this nonsense). Stop talking about golf.



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