Don't Cross the Pitcher's Mound

The Crazy Week that Was, Thanks to A-Rod and Braden

It’s been a few days now, and it’s clear that the A-Rod/Braden incident has brought baseball’s unwritten rules more prominently into the spotlight than at any point in recent memory. It was a perfect storm: a superstar who’s already recognized for his willingness to disrespect opponents; an outspoken pitcher who’s able (and, more importantly, willing) to string together verbal zinger after verbal zinger in response; and an obscure piece of code, which, while a clear part of the unwritten rulebook, has fallen into sufficient disuse for many people within the game to have never heard of it.

Just in case you’re not certain just how much attention the incident garnered, a partial list of coverage can be found here.

Similarly, The Baseball Codes received considerable mention. A number of people took yours truly to task for my opinion that A-Rod was absolutely in the wrong—virtually all of them New Yorkers. (A sampling from the comments for the Q&A I did for the New York Times: “Jason Turbow is a Non-Entity who is trying to make a name for himself by hanging on the coat-tails of Alex albeit in a parasitic way. . . Jason Turbow is a guys with handful of nothings. The guy is a born Loser”; “How the heck is Jason Turbow and who made him gatekeeper of what is legit baseball activity?”; and “This guy’s clear contempt for A-Rod erases any kind of credibility he may have had.”

Oddly, the location-neutral references to myself and The Baseball Codes on USA Today’s Daily Pitch blog and the Huffington Post drew nearly unanimous sentiment against A-Rod.  (The Charlotte Observer hadn’t garnered any response, pro or con, when this posted.)

I’ve been doing a steady stream of radio interviews with stations across the country to discuss the subject (which is nice for both myself and the book), but even more important is the attention being paid to the Code itself. A week ago, only a small percentage of major leaguers even knew the rule barring non-pitchers from crossing the mound; today, each of them have likely discussed that and many others, both with teammates and those outside the clubhouse.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer came up with a list of unwritten rules, for baseball and several other sports. Sports Illustrated’s Joe Posnanski wrote his own list, amid a longer post on his personal blog during the course of which he admitted to having never heard the rule barring players from crossing the mound.

He has now. And so has everybody else.

– Jason

5 thoughts on “The Crazy Week that Was, Thanks to A-Rod and Braden

  1. Love the site! Read your articles everytime you post a new one. One of the comments on the NY Times article said that they highly doubt the “Don’t cross the pitchers mound” rule is in your book. This article states that it is if I’ve read it correctly. Glad to see it!
    Can’t wait to read the book!

    1. The rule about crossing the mound was researched for the book — it was part of the master list we used to interview players and ex-players — but ultimately got cut before the final edit. (The book is currently at about 250,000 words; there are at least another 250,000 written that didn’t make it, plus a ton of research that never got written up because it was clear from the outset that we simply wouldn’t have space.) Look for this rule in Volume II, when and if it happens.

      – Jason

  2. Well I hope there is a second volume. 🙂 Keep it up. I love learning more and more. My boyfriend is a ball player and I’ve been trying for years to learn what I can about baseball. I love the sport. So I’ve really enjoyed learning the unwritten stuff too! There should definitely be a second book!

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