It took four years to come up with enough unwritten rules (and examples to illustrate them) to fill a book.
Writing about The Baseball Codes, Robert Rubino of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat just wrote Vol. 2 for us before the paper went to press yesterday, with a column featuring “the top 10 unwritten rules that didn’t make it into the book.”
In inverse order, they include:
10. Spit like a man.
9. The rebellious third-base coach (who habitually and exclusively stands outside the coach’s box).
8. Arguing with umpires. Rubino only devotes a paragraph to the topic, but he’s actually on to something here. The initial draft of the book contained a section about proper methods for effectively arguing with arbiters (for example, attack the call, not the umpire), but it was cut for space considerations.
7. Closers’ fashion and histrionics. “Facial hair, earrings and necklaces are pretty much trademarks of ninth-inning relief pitchers,” he writes. Again, he’s on to something . . . sort of. The initial draft contained an entire chapter on facial hair, which may yet see the light of publication one day.
6. The etiquette of post-game interviews.
5. Outfielders should slide whenever possible while making catches, the better to make highlight reels.
4. Refrain from picking your nose. Not good on TV.
3. Bullpen residents must perfect “the look of unendurable boredom with a clearly discernible sliver of mindless mischief.” For more on this topic, see one of the books we used as a primary reference, Pen Men, by Bob Cairns. It’s an excellent read.
2. Middle infielders should always use the phantom tag.
1. Appropriate cup adjustment. “Be proud,” writes Rubino. “Be bold.”
It’s a fun list that’s obviously not meant to be taken too seriously. Rubino, however—possibly despite himself—actually scratched the surface of a few interesting topics that are legitimately Code-worthy. It just goes to illustrate that there will be a lot of blogging to do this season.