WHY NOT PUT BASEBALL’S “UNWRITTEN RULES” INTO WRITING? There are baseball players who celebrate the tough old days and the traditions which are represented by the “unwritten rules”. The problem with “unwritten rules” is that there is no way of knowing exactly what the rules are. For example, it is alleged that there are “unwritten rules” which apply to beanballs and retaliation. However, depending on the situation, different teams will have different ideas about when retaliation is called for and how much retaliation is appropriate.
Here is a first draft describing one unwritten rule which comes up often.
1. A pitcher has a right to drill a batter whenever, in his discretion, he feels like it.
For example, the batter may have been too pleased with a home run or have hit a home run at an important time. This drilling may be months after the provoking incident. It is this right that the unwritten rules are designed to protect.
2. The pitcher for the team whose batter has been drilled can and should retaliate in an “appropriate” way, choosing the batter to hit and where to hit him.
If this is excessive, the first team can retaliate for the retaliation.
You can see how there is the possibility of repeated retaliations because there is no written body of governing law.
An example of unwritten rules of retaliation is the Hatfield-McCoy feud.