It's past time to stop debating and just scrap baseball's unwritten rules – The Athletic

It’s past time to stop debating and just scrap baseball’s unwritten rules – The Athletic

The baseball person defended his team’s tactics, saying, “We’re not emotional about it,” and, “It’s not to be disrespectful in any way.” In another setting, these might have been the words of a club executive talking about his team’s bloodless approach to beating a player in salary arbitration. But no, this was a manager, the Giants’ Gabe Kapler, talking about his team’s decision to keep pressing an opponent with a nine-run lead.

Kapler’s blanket repudiation of baseball’s unwritten rules Tuesday night was a logical extension of how modern front offices think, sometimes discounting emotion as they seek every possible advantage. Kapler is playing in a different arena, competing in actual games rather than spreadsheet exercises. The risk of retaliation from opponents is real. But as the game evolves, the Giants are ahead of the curve.

The unwritten rules are the vestige of an antiquated system that disproportionately subjects non-white players to criticism. The line between competitive zest and poor sportsmanship is in the eye of the beholder. Did Fernando Tatis Jr. cross the line in August 2020 when he hit a 3-0 pitch for a grand slam in the eighth inning of a game the Padres led by seven runs? Did the Giants cross it against the Padres Tuesday night when Steven Duggar stole a base with a 10-run lead in the second inning and Mauricio Dubón executed a bunt single with a nine-run lead in the sixth? The Padres took greater offense to the latter.

Last Friday, the

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