If You Don’t Understand the Game, Don’t Write About It
So the Kansas City Royals are vigilantes according to FOX Sports’ Dieter Kurtenbach.
Look, I loved Jose Bautista’s bat flip that tossed a shovel-full of dirt over the Texas Rangers last October, but many old schoolers who are fond of baseball’s unwritten rules frowned upon such action.
Hell, the last interview I conducted was with Pat Hentgen, a Blue Jay through and through, and he wasn’t fond of Joey Bats’ demonstration.
That’s not the point, however.
Ultimately, Kurtenbach is targeting baseball for its nonsense, which is the epitome of calling the kettle black when you consider Vontaze Burfict tried to decapitate Antonio Brown a few months ago in the NFL playoffs and Blake Griffin missed oodles of games and is currently on suspension for breaking his hand on a Clippers employee who was half his size.
Don’t come at me about the Royals needing to puff out their collective chest or that they feel that’s why they won as opposed to their considerable skills afield.
This is about protecting teammates, and by criticizing Kansas City for not taking action during last fall’s World Series, Kurtenbach only demonstrates his lack of understanding of the game.
A team is not going to retaliate in that situation for fear of umpire retribution — losing a key pitcher or player early in an October match-up is just plain stupid. No ifs, and or buts about it.
So you wait to offer a reminder that your starting shortstop is not someone teams can utilize for target practice.
If that’s old school and unappealing to the masses, so be it.
Protecting teammates will always be a part of the game. I recall Terry Pendleton once walking off the field in Cincinnati after Braves hurler Marvin Freeman failed to retaliate for a teammate getting drilled the half-inning before.
Lest we forget that was how baseball policed itself once upon a time, but now umpires are so vehemently pressured by Major League Baseball to offer warnings and quick ejections to curtail such behavior that it’s been reduced to a war of words with players relegated to discussing or complaining about it rather than two quick moments and it’s over.
It used to be simple: You got one of ours, we get one of yours and the game moved forward.
That is no longer the case.
And not for nothin’, but fans get excited when teams are chippy with one another. When there is jawing back and forth, tension on the field and benches clear.
That emotions run high over unwritten rules or otherwise are not why the popularity of baseball is fading or why millennials would sooner tune in to UFC for a fight.
In baseball, as in all sports, attempts at intimidation require responses. Plain and simple. True, the Royals were involved in quite a few fracases last season and 2016 may be no different, but to suggest that when Kansas City takes the field against the Mets to open the season
Maybe people want to watch entertaining baseball. For that, they should be tuning in to watch the Royals.
But that’s not what we’ll get Sunday — instead, we’ll see the coronation of a vengeful ruler whose first act in charge is placing a hit on his perceived enemy.
Many of baseball’s unwritten rules take away from the fun of the game, but that mentality may change over time. Protecting teammates, however, is not going away. Ever.
And those who can’t grasp that concept shouldn’t be writing about it.
The next thing you’re going to tell me is that Ken Griffey, Jr. isn’t a first ballot Hall of Famer.