MLB
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

MLB Is Still Too Old Fashioned

Today I read an article by CBS Sports that ranked MLB’s dumbest unwritten rules, and I thought to myself: why the hell are any of these stupid norms still in the league? And then I remembered that MLB is nearly unwatchable for some not just because of the slow pace and boring commentary, but because there is still too much ‘tradition’ in the game. The game does not fare well for younger generations, and while people may still be playing the game at a young age, I find it hard to imagine that those same kids are watching it as well. So here’s my take on a few of those asinine unwritten rules that us MLB fans still go along with today

Don’t Steal Bases With A Big Lead

To me, this unwritten rule is essentially the same thing as discouraging hitters to swing with a 3-0 count. If a big-swinger like Bryce Harper wants to swing at a 3-0 pitch and possibly give the pitcher a chance to come back, let him. If you don’t want teams stealing bases on you, try not letting them get on base! Next to basketball, baseball is one of those sports where a big lead can literally be erased in the blink of an eye, so I don’t see stealing a base with a big lead as a criminal offense.

Don’t Walk In Front Of The Catcher

Really? I mean come on what is the point of this one. This one is basically the equivalent of your grandpa telling you to take off your hat at the dinner table. It just makes no sense and there’s no good reason for it. Then when you ask “why?” you get the answer, “It’s not polite.” Then you go in circles asking why it’s not polite and just get nowhere. That’s how I see this unwritten rule. Who gives a crap whether you walk in front of the catcher when approaching your at-bat? You look like an idiot taking the longer route anyways.

Don’t Bunt During A No-Hitter/Blowout

So a pitcher is trying to get a no-hitter, and this unwritten rule is essentially asking you as a hitter to concede the at-bat and just not try to get on base? No. I don’t think so. If you’re allowed to swing out of your shoes and try and blast one over the fence (which would be a bigger slap in the face to the pitcher) then why can’t you take advantage of lazy defense? Again, none of these unwritten rules make sense but sportsmanship is such a grey area. Isn’t the point of being on offense to get on base/score runs in baseball? Then why does bunting suddenly go out the window as an option just because the defense doesn’t account for one extra scenario?

Don’t Show Up Your Opponent

Do MLB executives not realize why the NBA and NFL are so much more watchable than baseball? Everybody wants to see Cody Bellinger send one into the seats in a World Series game and flip-off every infielder that talked shit as he trots around the bases. Yet when a guy like Manny Machado does it, the baseball media absolutely buries him for it. Why do guys who play by the unwritten rules get their tires pumped so much by the media, I don’t get it. Bat flips are probably one of the main reasons why guys like Jose Bautista made MLB watchable for a few years, yet as a sophisticated society of whiny, traditional baseball fans, we frown upon the so-called ‘bragging’.

Give me a break. People hated football players like Terrell Owens and Randy Moss when they would dance on the Dallas Cowboys star at the 50-yard-line or moon the crowd after a touchdown. But guess what? They brought eyeballs to the sport and made it more captivating. Drama and controversy are what fuels sports and skyrockets ratings, not buttoned-up early 1900’s privileged bullshit.

Players that violate these unwritten rules in MLB become the victims of unnecessary criticism from the media and ‘purist’ baseball fans and for what? They’re probably the ones helping to grow the sport you care so much about, and still, you wonder why MLB is more boring than every other major sport in America. Lighten up, live a little. Those players that break the mold are the cornerstones of baseball as we know it. In the words of the most polarizing professional bowler Pete Weber,

“Love me or hate me, you watched.”

Please, MLB owners and executives, take notes. Pete Weber made bowling seem cool because he brought flare to the game, so don’t ruin the reputation of a player just because he bat-flipped your pitcher that should be in AAA.

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