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The Unwritten Rules

In many fields there are unwritten rules—expectations of how we are supposed to act, and what we should do, and not do in certain situations. In baseball there is a set of things that are done or not done by players and coaches simply because it would be poor form. These traditions are passed on from the veteran players to the younger ones. Many involve good sportsmanship, others are about tradition, and still more keep the game unique and special.

As a baseball coach, one of the unwritten rules I teach the kids is when we are winning big (which unfortunately doesn’t happen often enough) we stop stealing bases, we swing away so we don’t walk, and we celebrate our success modestly—all to show respect for our opponent and not show them up. Win with humility, and lose with dignity.

One of my favorite unwritten rules of baseball is you never talk to a pitcher about his no-hitter when he has one going—it’s bad luck. Another is, don’t play catch on the infield dirt before a game. (As a groundskeeper, I can’t stress this one enough.) Lastly, as a player, don’t argue with the umpire . . . let your manager do it.

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