|Wednesday, May 30
Updated: June 5, 9:57 AM ET
Spelling out the unwritten rules
By Jim Caple
Arizona manager Bob Brenly criticized San Diego's Ben Davis over the weekend for bunting for a base hit when Curt Schilling had a perfect game going in the eighth inning of a 2-0 game. Florida pitcher Brad Penny, meanwhile, threw at Tsuyoshi Shinjo after the New York outfielder had the audacity to swing at a 3-0 pitch when the Mets held a big lead.
Both Davis and Shinjo supposedly broke baseball's unwritten rules of etiquette, a collection of long-standing statutes as involved, confused and open to interpretation as the U.S. tax code or Ralph Kiner's play-by-play.
Of course, the underlying problem with unwritten rules is they're not written down. You want someone to obey a rule, you post it on the clubhouse wall next to the one warning players not to gamble on baseball. You stick with an unwritten code and you're asking for it to be violated as easily as Chinese airspace.
At least, those rules used to be unwritten. But while reading the galleys to "Tuesday's With Maury Wills," I came across a copy of Major League Baseball's Official Unwritten Rule Book. Its publication, however, remains uncertain due to a lawsuit from the Margaret Mitchell estate.
Fortunately, I have obtained expressed, unwritten permission from the commissioner's office to write down for the first time a few of baseball's unwritten rules ...
1.20: What goes on in the clubhouse, what is said in the clubhouse and what is seen in the clubhouse, stays in the clubhouse. This means you do not go on a radio show and criticize a teammate for nursing an injury.
1.20 (b): Or at the very least, wait until after the MRI results come back.
2.16: Some batters must never flip their bats when they hit a home run nor take leisurely trots around the basepath. This is considered showing up a pitcher and is very bad form. Some batters, however, may flip their bats when they hit a home run and circle the bases so slowly that Miss Jane Pittman would lap them. This is considered "style" and is quite acceptable.
2.17: If a player doesn't know which group he belongs in, the opposing pitcher will let him know.
2.68: Do not date the editor of "Out" magazine.
2.68 (b): In a profession where you wear a tight uniform, regularly shower with 24 other men and slap teammates on the butt several times a day, it is verboten to suggest that anyone in the "clubhouse" might be gay.
3.5: If an opponent hits a home run, you are obliged to hit another batter with a pitch, though you must not throw this pitch in the vicinity of the head. After the game, you must maintain to reporters that you were simply trying to establish the inside part of the plate.
3.51: The reporters must quote you as if it's really true.
3.51 (b): When an opponent hits a teammate with a pitch, you are obliged to retaliate by hitting an opponent with a pitch. After the game, you must maintain to reporters that your opponent was throwing at your team but that you were simply trying to establish the inside part of the plate.
3.51 (c): The reporters must quote you as if it's really true.
4.1: You may steal a base at any time unless your team leads by six or more runs with two or fewer innings remaining, your team leads by eight runs with three innings remaining or your team's lead at any point equals the circumference of Richard Garces.
4.33: You may bunt at any time unless you are being no-hit and you are behind by more than five runs and there are fewer than three innings to play or the combined outs remaining and runs behind equals the square root of the relative humidity.
5.53: When a pitcher has a no-hitter going, you must avoid the words "no-hitter" as scrupulously as a sportswriter would say, "Let me get the check." Between innings you also are to leave the pitcher sitting by himself as if he were carrying the Ebola virus.
5.72 (d): Don't play cards in the clubhouse during the game unless nobody can see you.
6.9: Coaches sit in the front of the plane. Players sit in the back. Flight attendants sit on the Tigers' laps.
7.14: Do not sign autographs before batting practice.
7.14 (b): Do not sign autographs during batting practice.
7.14 (c): Do not sign autographs after batting practice.
7.14 (d): Unless she has other assets.
7.8: When leaving a first-place team to sign a $252 million contract with a last-place team, you must say, "It isn't about the money."
7.81: Try to say it with a straight face.
Box score line of the week
Deserving performances all, but Los Angeles rookie Paul LoDuca takes this week's award when he went 6-for-6 Memorial Day, tying a National League record, in the Dodgers' 11-10 extra-inning victory over Colorado. The performance lifted his batting average from .365 to .420. His line:
6 AB, 3 R, 6 H, 4 RBI
"I never thought I'd say this," Todd Helton said, "but Paul LoDuca beat us today."
Lies, damn lies and statistics
From left field
And so, eight years after leaving Cuba, Oropesa pitched 1.2 innings last Friday to earn his first major-league victory. "It's unbelievable," he said.
Oropesa is the fourth former Saint to reach the majors this season, bringing the St. Paul team's total to a dozen and the Northern League total to 22. Not bad for a league that was referred to by major-league execs as "Mike Veeck's beer league" when it started in 1993.
The dozen Saints to go from St. Paul to the majors:
Win Blake Stein's money
Q: Which team won its league or division by the most games?
A. The 1995 Cleveland Indians, who won the AL Central by 30 games.
Voice of summer
-- Roy Smith after walking into the Cleveland clubhouse for the first time following his callup to the majors.
Jim Caple is a Senior Writer for ESPN.com.