Baseball’s unwritten rules have a pervasive role in the fabric of the sport, helping to maintain a degree of respect and decorum. That part is good. But sometimes they’re just stupid.
Take yesterday. In the sixth inning of the Nationals-Marlins game, with Washington’s Gio Gonzalez throwing a no-hitter, Florida’s Dee Gordon thought about trying to bunt for a hit.
Typically, this is a no-no. We’ve already looked back this season at the infamous Ben Davis bunt that broke up Curt Schilling’s perfect game in 2001.
Except that Davis was a slow-footed catcher who had never bunted for a hit in his life. Gordon is second in the National League with 38 steals, a player for whom bunting is an essential tool. Also, it was a 1-0 game and Gordon represented the tying run.
“My game is to bunt,” Gordon said in a Miami Herald report, discussing his consternation over the unwritten rules. “I didn’t know if I could bunt or not. I was kind of in a weird situation for myself.”
Gordon didn’t bunt. Instead, he struck out. When he came up again in the ninth, Gonzalez’s no-hitter was still intact. Gordon didn’t even consider bunting.
Instead, he slashed a single to left field, Code be damned.