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MLB may get rid of the “no-fraternization” rule

Nov 4, 2013, 4:48 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays Getty Images

There is a rule on the books — Rule 3.09 — which prevents players from talking to each other and being friendly while in uniform. It’s a widely-ignored rule that, for reasons which are known only to Joe Torre, the league asked teams to start paying more attention to back in 2011.  They didn’t of course because the rule is dumb.

Buster Olney mentioned in his column today that the rule may be axed for that very reason. Just taken off the books.

Which: good. There is nothing wrong with showing fans that it’s OK to like and respect their competitors. That the game is the game and that, when it is over or in a lull, it does not have to extend into some intense personal rivalry as well. That these are human beings, not gladiators, and they can and should be allowed to express friendly feelings toward one another because, in reality, most of them are friendly with one another.

Seeing two guys chatting at first base or talking to each other as one team comes out for batting practice as the other leaves always makes me feel better about baseball. I’m glad that baseball doesn’t enforce its rule against that and I’ll be happy if they remove the rule altogether.

  1. tfbuckfutter - Nov 4, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    The WWF had this same rule back in the 80s. Couldn’t have fans seeing good guys and bad guys having dinner together.

    By the same token, stupid people will have their minds blown if they find out Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra can share a laugh.

    Or that a Dodgers player and a Giants player enjoy sharing sushi place recommendations (I don’t have any player examples because I don’t follow minor league baseball).

    • Anoesis - Nov 4, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      Unlike MLB the WWF is an entirely contrived stage show, so that rule makes sense for them.

      Giants won WS a year ago, Dodgers went to NLCS this year. Hardly minor league, either of them. Oh, and sushi sucks.

      • tfbuckfutter - Nov 4, 2013 at 5:23 PM

        WWF is as much a real sport as the NL is real baseball.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 4, 2013 at 9:07 PM

        Ano, you had me up until “sushi sucks”.

  2. dondada10 - Nov 4, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    I remember when I was a kid there was a year Larry Walker was hitting over .400 at around the All-Star Game. The Rockies were playing the Cubs and Walker was getting a start at first (which makes me wanna say it was 1997; thanks b-ref).

    When the top of the first ended, Mark Grace wrote in the dirt around the bag “You can’t hit .400.”

    When the bottom of the first ended, Larry Walker wrote in the dirt around the bag “You can’t hit .300.”

    I’m already starting to miss baseball.

    • NatsLady - Nov 4, 2013 at 5:38 PM

      What took you so long?

    • tuloisgod - Nov 4, 2013 at 6:56 PM

      I think it was Grace, but my recollection was he was communicating with Todd Helton. (I could be wrong.) As I recall, Helton (or whoever it was) wrote in the dirt: “I know.” I thought there also was a game of tic-tac-toe going on that game, too.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 4, 2013 at 7:26 PM

        <3 google

        Grace/Walker, game in CO

  3. pinkfloydprism - Nov 4, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    Next up: Post season awards to be replaced by participation ribbons.

  4. skerney - Nov 4, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    Halladays Bicepts head just exploded.

  5. uuddlrlrbastart - Nov 4, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    Isn’t the point of the fraternization rule less about gladiatorial rivalries and more about avoiding any possible notion that the games aren’t on the level? This certainly isn’t the issue it was 100 years ago, but it’s not like gambling disappeared from baseball after 1919.

  6. thomas844 - Nov 4, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    One of my favorite things about watching a UFC fight is watching the two competitors hug it out after beating the crap out of each other.

    Just like mixed martial arts, baseball is a game that, even though it is a business, should be meant for fun and entertainment. Red Sox and Yankees players who chat with each other shouldn’t be considered “traitors” like they are at war or something. It’s just a bunch of guys getting together to play a game they all love.

    • tfbuckfutter - Nov 4, 2013 at 6:40 PM

      Your favorite part of a sport is two sweaty guys hugging?

      • thomas844 - Nov 4, 2013 at 9:00 PM

        Don’t forget bloody

  7. rcali - Nov 4, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    Maybe before the game both teams can get together, hold hands, and sing kumbaya.

  8. zinger99 - Nov 4, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    Oh yes,isn’t it wonderful when everybody gets along! Makes me sick! You ought to try hating your opponent! You might like it! I dare anyone to disagree the best games are when two teams do not like each other!

  9. NYTolstoy - Nov 5, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    everytime I saw opposing players chatting up on first or second or when they would come up to bat I always thought about that stupid rule. Glad its going.

  10. NYTolstoy - Nov 5, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    they wouldn’t talk at third because a rod was there and nobody liked a rod. truth

  11. chumthumper - Nov 5, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    I’m guessing Darin Erstad thought that was a pretty good rule. Doubt he talked to anybody when he was on base.

  12. cackalackyank - Nov 5, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Being nervous about fraternization being linked to gambling is one thing, but imagine the idea of competitors respecting, and being civilized towards each other. The next thing you know our elected officials might see this and realize that positive, respectful dialogue is a good thing. Nah. Never happen.

  13. psunick - Nov 5, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    I wish they’d add the hockey handshake after the World Series, too. That would be cool!

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