Since its baseball’s inception, there have been “unwritten rules” — different things players do that are often frowned upon by umpires, fans and opposing players, but not strictly forbidden.
The most prominent of issues is pimping a home run, when a player celebrates a homer he has hit.
Bat flipping is the most common way to celebrate the success, but pimping could be as simple as a player taking a five-second stare at the ball as it’s launched over the wall before running around the bases.
Earlier this month, Derek Dietrich of the Cincinnati Reds hit a two-run home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He stood and watched the ball fly, admiring how it landed in the Allegheny River.
The next time Dietrich came up to bat at the top of the 4th inning, Pittsburgh starter Chris Archer threw a fastball that went behind Dietrich but was suspected to be aimed at him.
This is yet another “unwritten rule” in baseball — retaliation in order to avenge the celebrations of the batter.
When the home plate umpire issued a warning to both teams after Archer’s pitch behind Dietrich, the manager of the Reds, David Bell, rushed out of the dugout to defend his player.
This sparked other players from both teams to come out of the dugouts and bullpens to argue their side of the story. The park flooded with a red and yellow mishmash of both teams yelling and pushing at each other.
Soon, the small dispute settled down, and everyone started to go back to their own dugouts to continue the game. But the Reds’ right fielder, Yasiel Puig, was not done yet.
Puig, who was restrained by his teammate, Joey Votto, broke free and aimed his anger at the Pirates’ catcher, Francisco Cervelli, who was talking smack..
Although this moment created great internet memes and was even designed into a t-shirt, five ejections and two suspensions were still issued for the behavior.
And this is not the only time that dugout clearings and baseball brawls have happened this season.
The Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox had a similar scuffle at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on April 17 — exactly 10 days after the Reds/Pirates skirmish happened.
The excitement of a hit dinger from Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson sparked Royals’ pitcher Brad Keller to hit Anderson in the buttocks in his next at-bat in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Once again, dugouts cleared and once again, players, managers, and coaches faced ejections and suspensions.
With these two dugout clearing brawls ten days apart from each other, it has raised the heated debate about the unwritten rules of baseball.
As Reds pitcher Amir Garrett said in a tweet after the Royals/White Sox brawl, “My take. He batflips cool. You take it to the chin and wear it. But next time you face him. Strike him out, and do whatever you gotta do. Fist pump, moonwalk, cartwheel. Do whatever. I’m all for it. Both ways.”
Baseball had its official start in 1869.
Maybe, in 2019, society has changed its views on the game.
Some fans want to stay true to the original way baseball is played — a non-contact and altogether a more respectful sport compared to hard-nosed games like football or hockey.
But other fans are past that.
They prefer the excitement and drama of celebrations and retaliations. Either way, I feel like the celebration of a self accomplishment does not automatically call for a physical blow that could result in an injured player.
There are other logical options that a pitcher could turn to for retaliation.
I also believe a pitcher shouldn’t be so sensitive to the batter’s celebrations. The pitcher is allowed to dance on the mound after a strikeout so a batter should be allowed to flip his bat or admire the ball after a homer.
There is no need to intentionally hit and injure another player. This player could be traded in the future and become a new teammate.
The best way to get back at him is to strike him out or accept the dinger and move on.
Here’s my take on it: No one should get butthurt over the celebration of a personal success, and it most definitely shouldn’t be the cause of a fight. Sometimes it’s best to just go with the flow.