Players and fans alike love to police baseball’s unwritten rules. Don’t stare too long, don’t run too slow, don’t show too much emotion, don’t showboat, don’t show up your opponent, don’t bat flip, the list goes on. That’s just a short list, because there are a lot of old fashioned unwritten rules and they can be hard to keep track of.
But what if a player decided to break a bunch of baseball’s unwritten rules with one swing of the bat? It would look something like this.
This is the controversial 2-run homer from Starlin Rodriguez in the 7th that broke a 3-3 tie, gave @IBLBaycats the lead for good in their series clinching game, and drew the ire of the Panthers. #IBLFinals #IBL100 #batflip pic.twitter.com/kWxuxO6Z7U
— Ken Hashizume (@khash27) September 10, 2018
That’s a player named Starlin Rodriguez, and he’s on the Barrie Baycats, a team in Canada’s semi-pro Intercounty Baseball League. That home run broke the tie between the Baycats and the Kitchener Panthers in the IBL Finals, which led to a Game 6 win for the now-champion Baycats. That home run also broke so many of baseball’s unwritten rules. Let’s go through everything he did.
After he hit the home run, he just stood at the plate, staring at it as it went over the fence
He executed an unbelievable bat flip, tossing it far up into the air and behind his shoulder
He then ran around the bases at the pace of a 100-year-old Galápagos tortoise
Three separate things (six if you count every individual base he very slowly stepped on), but how many rules did he break? He stared at his home run, he showed up the pitcher, he showed too much emotion with his bat flip, he showboated by running slowly, he broke a smorgasbord of baseball’s stodgy, outdated unwritten rules.
There are some actual reasons behind some of what Rodriguez did. According to Ryan Eakin, who wrote the game story for the Baycats website, Rodriguez injured his groin while catching a sixth inning pop-up. He injured it even more when he swung the bat, which is why he ran the bases so slowly and gingerly — he was in pain. The groin injury could also be why he stood at the plate for so long. If the ball he hit was going to be caught, why run and be in pain?
But in baseball, rules are rules, even if they’re outdated and unwritten. Several Panthers players took offense to what Rodriguez did, and there was shoving and ejections once the benches cleared. And of course, players threw baseballs at each other.
Tempers flared after Starlin Rodriguez hit a two-run shot for @IBLBaycats, flips bat, shoves catcher Mike Gornder and gets tossed. Mike Schnurr throws behind next batter and gets ejected.
— Greg Mercer (@MercerRecord) September 7, 2018
Since there are so many unwritten rules and so many ways to break them, it’s time to come up with a way for players to “punish” each other that doesn’t involve throwing screaming projectiles at one another. Why not a postgame dunk tank? That would treat the breaking of baseball’s unwritten rules with the seriousness it deserves.
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