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Is This Baseball Or T-ball?

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Giants manager Gabe Kapler chats with assistant coach Alyssa Nakken during the game against the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park on Tuesday. Kapler and the Giants are re-writing some of baseball’s unwritten rules to win games. (Christopher Victorio/Special to The Examiner)

By Linda Kay Hardie |

I’ve been an active fan of the San Francisco Giants since 2013, and a passive fan (following, but not watching games) for about 30 years more than that.

Lately there’s been talk of “the unwritten rules.” As a fan, I’m tired of it. I came here to watch a good game of baseball. At what point do these rules kick in? When the Giants get seven runs in the second, as they did recently with the Nats? Are they then required, by these “unwritten rules” to play half-assed? For how long? One inning? Two? When were the Nats supposed to have had their chance to catch up? But the G-men were ahead, 7-1. Do they throw the game and let the Nats catch up and surpass them, for an unwritten rule?

Or does it kick in when the Giant are 13 runs ahead, as earlier with the Padres? Since it’s unwritten, who decides when it’s “not fair” for the Giants to keep playing their best? And what about the players who are there with the threat of being sent down? Are they supposed to not steal a base, not catch a fly ball, because it might embarrass some other player who thinks he’s better? “Oh, excuse me, but my stats don’t matter compared to your tender feelings”?

As a long-time Giants fan, I don’t remember teams backing off and letting the Giants get runs when they were behind. I don’t remember the Dodgers or Padres or anyone  playing a half-assed game so that the Giants’ “widdle feewings” wouldn’t be hurt.

The game decides who’s best, not some list of best players or set of stats. You’re only as good as your last hit or run or catch.

I thought this was professional baseball, not T-ball, where uneven abilities can occur in young, inexperienced players. There’s a “mercy rule” in T-ball that calls a game when one team gets 15 runs ahead. The Giants were recently criticized for continuing to play hard when they were six runs ahead (of the Nats) and 11 runs ahead (of the Padres). If you want it, write it down so the losing team can “throw in the towel” as they can do in boxing Does an MLB team want to just do it? Admit defeat?

Look at the T-ball rule. It’s 15 runs before a game is halted and called. Yet the Nats whined at the Giants for being six runs ahead. The Padres got upset when the Giants were 11 ahead. If you manage to fill the bases, one good swing of the bat can be responsible for four runs. The Nats could have caught up with the Giants, because they’ve got the players to do just that. Instead, some of the seasoned players got upset at young players who were trying to solidify their spots on a major league roster by playing well.

What are we playing? Major League Baseball? Or T-ball? I’m here to watch baseball.

Linda Kay Hardie is a college instructor and writer and a former a newspaper reporter in Fresno, working for a weekly portion of the Fresno Bee. She wrote approximately 2,500 articles in the three years with the Bee.

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