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Ozzie Guillen dives into another unwritten rules controversy

Big League Stew

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This seems to be the year of the unwritten rule, so I guess it was only a matter of time before Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen got all worked up over one.

And by "worked up," I mean "throwing at a Florida Marlins hitter" in retaliation for stealing bases while holding a huge lead.

Brett Carroll(notes) was nailed by Chicago reliever Randy Williams(notes) in the fifth as payback for Carroll stealing second base and teammate Gaby Sanchez(notes) stealing third an inning earlier while Florida held a 7-0 lead. (The Marlins would end up winning 13-0.)

As our friend Jason Turbow writes, stealing bases while leading by a large margin is considered a well-known no-no, though everyone's definition of a wide margin differs.

Judging from the pegging of Carroll, Guillen's definition is apparently around seven runs.

And here's what he said when asked if he took offense to Florida's running (via ESPN Chicago):

"I don't know what happened there, but this is baseball. You have to respect [the other team]. I was up eight [runs] a couple of days ago. That's the way we learn to play the game. We had to do something about it, and we did. We had to tell the guys not to play like that."

White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko(notes) disagreed with his manager, pointing out that he was holding Carroll to the base and that he thought a team had to be leading by double digits for the ban to take effect. Also, for whatever it's worth, Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said that Carroll missed a sign and was running on his own.

Like many of you probably are, I'm not a huge fan of the unwritten rules that are based on a lead, mostly because none of them are ever totally safe. Atlanta just came back from an early eight-run deficit against Cincinnati last week and Sunday's perceived slight came in the fourth inning. Considering that it was a hot day at the bandbox known as U.S. Cellular Field, there's no reason that Florida should have eased up on the pedal. Guillen may not have much faith in his lineup these days, but that doesn't mean an opponent can't do everything in its power to ensure a win.

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