The Speaking the Unspoken Rules Debate – Ozzie is Out of Line

August 13, 2009

Read the debate intro, Sports Geek’s argument that it is okay to speak about the unspoken rules, and Bleacher Fan’s argument to keep the unspoken rules unspoken.

I guess it is time for me to speak about the unspoken rules of baseball, right?

Ozzie Guillen is a respected (in some circles) baseball man. He played from 1985-2000, and has been a manager for the White Sox since 2003. He even won a World Series as a skipper in 2005, so I guess that lends him some credibility when he speaks up. But, we cannot forget how many times he shoots his mouth off. If you have forgotten, the first person you might want to call is writer Jay Mariotti after their little run-in.

Gulllen has threatened to hit TWO batters the next time he feels one of his players is hit intentionally. There lies the body of this debate. I am just going to cut right to the chase and say that I am declaring Bleacher Fan the winner! Here’s why.

Bleacher Fan argued that Guillen often has “diarrhea of the mouth” and that these most recent statements may backfire on his team while Sports Geek argued that this is a new era in baseball and he commended Guillen for sticking up for his players and being honest.

In one sense, I commend Guillen for the same thing. In the past, he has not taken up for his players in public. This time he seems to have their backs. While his intentions may be honorable, he is doing more harm than good this time. He is indirectly putting pressure on his pitching staff, as if the staff needs more in the midst of a pennant race. In theory, if fans accept what Ozzie is saying, here is what could happen. Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander could come inside and hit White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko. If Guillen thinks it is intentional, he is going to immediately tell his pitcher Mark Buerhle, “Hey Buerhle, come inside and hit both Miggy Cabrera and Curtis Granderson in the ribs.” After that it will turn into a brawl and players from both teams get ejected and suspended. Personally, I would love to see this on Sportscenter, as I love watching baseball brawls. But, this would not be in the best interest of the team.
Without the threat from Guillen, if Verlander hits Konerko, Guillen may Buerhle to hit Cabrera. Warnings would have been issued, and then everyone would move on. That is part of the game. But, Guillen and the White Sox have already received their warning now. Major League Baseball VP of Discipline, Bob Watson, issued a warning yesterday.

I’m sure your pitching staff thanks you, Ozzie! I’m sure the Detroit Tigers thank you, Ozzie! And, Bleacher Fan thanks you, Ozzie! You would be better off just letting this play out and not airing it out in public. Be honest… behind closed doors!!!

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The Speaking the Unspoken Rules Debate – Baseball Needs More Honesty, Less Secrets

August 12, 2009

Read the debate intro and Bleacher Fan’s argument to keep the unspoken rules unspoken.

Welcome, baseball, to the Internet Age – the age of information. Every google search result turns up a “sports insider” or “team insider” result. No information is sacred or secret anymore. Information will be leaked (just ask Bud Selig’s President in charge of the Steroids List). The lesson? Baseball can avoid embarrassment by being honest.

No one in baseball is more honest than White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. That is mainly because the filter between his brain and his mouth is broken… and that is perfectly okay with me. Ozzie Guillen adds the honesty the sports landscape that fans have not seen in eons. Honesty is good, no great, for fans. I know that because anytime baseball is considering a fine for someone simply for being honest, the fan probably wins.

Guillen speaks the truth – a truth that is blasted to the world thanks to the Internet Age – and he is willing to stand up for his players, too. That is a good thing for his team, and a good thing for baseball. The fact that he is speaking an unspoken rule when defending his players just proves how ridiculous unspoken rules are.

Here is the main reason why it is perfectly okay to speak the unspoken rules of baseball – it is insulting not to. Every baseball fan in the world knows when a New York Yankee plunks a member of the Red Sox, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, or Dustin Pedroia better strap in because they are about to be hit. And now the league knows that about White Sox players, too, because Guillen said it. Good for him.

Also, baseball is not the Central Intelligence Agency, where a spook will retire then pen a book about all of the things they were unable to talk about when they were on the job. It is just baseball. No high-minded gentlemanliness is here to protect anyone. No one is doing the right thing by not blowing the whistle. If a manager wants to call out a player for intentionally throwing at one of his players, or a pitcher for having a weird smudge on their hand, they should do that. Speaking the unspoken rules of baseball enhances the fairness of the game and eliminates the secrets that keep fans frustratingly in the dark.

We need to understand, too, that not all of the unspoken rules of baseball are controversial. It is an “unspoken rule” not to out the tying run on base, or go against percentages when building the lineup or deciding a pinch hitter, or no to make the power hitter bunt, or not mention a no hitter while it is in progress. There are a bunch of these unspoken rules, and they are all good… if not a little antiquated.

All of the supposedly unspoken rules of baseball have a common link – common sense. If they are logical rules, why not talk about them? Some of them are unspoken because they are obvious. For the ones that are not obvious (but should be) I am glad baseball has people like Ozzie Guillen to shine light on issues that need to be spoken about so fans do not have to have their intelligence insulted. If baseball is implementing instant replay to keep the game more fair, why not use simple honesty to achieve the same end? Calling out a player with sandpaper in their glove, or a razor blade in their mitt (ahem, Don Sutton, ahem), the game is improved. Honesty is good for the fans, and so are honesty people like Ozzie Guillen. Baseball could use a few more like him.

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