If you’re against unwritten rules, be against all unwritten rules

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Jon Morosi writes today that the calls for baseball to legalize pine tar or some other substance for pitchers in cold weather in the wake of the Michael Pineda incident are dumb:

So, because Pineda foolishly and brazenly flaunted baseball’s cold-weather code, Major League Baseball is supposed to tear up its rule book? . . . The Yankees have lost Pineda for 10 games, because they did a poor job of communicating baseball’s unwritten rules: You can’t use pine tar . . . but you actually can . . . everybody does it . . . you just need to be careful . . . it’s probably a good idea to rub it on your glove or belt loop so that the umpire and TV cameras can’t see.

Repeating myself from yesterday, I’m not sure how people are supposed to accept the directly conflicting ideas that (a) “there is absolutely nothing wrong with using pine tar and everyone else does it”; with (b) “by God, don’t let anyone see you doing it, you idiot!” It’s either wrong or it’s right, cheating or not, isn’t it? We can talk about how severe a case of cheating it is and whether it warrants big discipline or little discipline, but things are either allowed or they are not. If they are not, criticizing people for not being sneaky enough in doing it seems like a really dumb message.

And, in this case, a bit of an inconsistent one from Morosi, who has quite admirably advocated for doing way with baseball’s silly and antiquated “unwritten rules.” Indeed, just four days ago he quite wisely said that baseball needs to get over itself with the unwritten rules and dumb codes of respect some people have read into the game regarding bat-tossing, admiring home runs and on-field exuberance. Now he’s all for the same sort of silly code about how one does or does not properly break rules.

Of course, given the guy’s track record on consistency, perhaps I shouldn’t be all that surprised here.

Rafael Devers won’t visit White House with Red Sox

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The World Series champion Red Sox are scheduled to visit President Trump in the White House on February 15. Some have speculated that manager Álex Cora, who is from Puerto Rico and has been critical of Trump and has been a big factor in Hurricane Maria relief efforts, might not go as a form of protest. Thus far, nothing concrete has been reported on that front.

However, third baseman Rafael Devers says he isn’t going to join the Red Sox on their visit to the White House, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports. Devers would prefer to focus on baseball, as the Red Sox open spring training on February 13 and position players have to report on February 17. Per Chris Mason, Devers also said via a translator, “The opportunity was presented and I just wasn’t compelled to go.”

Devers hails from the Dominican Republic and he, like many of Major League Baseball’s foreign-born player base, might not be happy about Trump’s immigration policies. Understandably, he is being tight-lipped about his motivation, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Devers is making a silent protest by choosing not to attend. He is thus far the only member of the team to bow out.

Devers, 22, hit .240/.298/.433 with 21 home runs, 66 RBI, and 59 runs scored in 490 plate appearances last season.

Last year, when the Astros visited Trump at the White House, they did so without Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltrán. Both are from Puerto Rico. It is certainly not unprecedented for individual players to opt out of the White House visit.

No word yet on what food will be served during Boston’s trip to the nation’s capital, but the smart money is on hamberders.