Considering all the rules players must follow in sports, it seems fairly ridiculous that there are unwritten ones, as well. While cheating is obviously the most serious infraction, it’s the unwritten rules that tend to invoke the biggest reactions from players. Simply put, when you break an unwritten rule, you better be ready to fight.
Don’t intentionally throw at the opponent
This one seems fairly simple, but it’s not. Intention is key here. It really comes down to the type of pitch thrown. If a batter is plunked by a changeup, it’s difficult for a team to argue he was beamed intentionally. A 99-MPH fastball to the ribs is another story. When this happens, you can be sure that there is going to be payback — usually to the opposing team’s best player.
Don’t talk to the pitcher about his no-hitter when he’s throwing one
When a pitcher is throwing a no-hitter or perfect game, his teammates and coaches are expected to leave him alone. The thinking is that if you bring up the magnitude of the moment, you could throw him off. The superstition isn’t even exclusive to the team, though. Fans have been known to get mad when someone else in the stands brings up the no-hitter, too. You can’t speak it into existence.
Don’t steal signs
Sign-stealing has been going in for as long as baseball teams have been using signs, but teams still get peeved when their opponents do it. Recently, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts accused a Padres runner of stealing signs and nearly got into a brawl with San Diego manager Andy Green over it.
Don’t shoot when time is expiring
This one is not too difficult to grasp. Taking a meaningless shot at the end of the game may seem harmless, but the stat-padder and his coach are likely to hear about it from their opponents. These shots have also been known to cost bettors hundreds of thousands of dollars when they go in. Just dribble out the clock and hit the locker room.
Don’t bunt to break up a no-hitter or perfect game
While bunting is fair game in every other situation, it’s treated like a crime when a pitcher is throwing a no-hitter or perfect game. If a player even tries to lay down a bunt when an opposing pitcher is deep into a no-hitter, he can expect at least a word or two from his opponent.
Kick the ball out of bounds when an opponent is injured
Good sportsmanship is all that’s separating these games from becoming deadly brawls. When an opponent is legitimately injured but no whistle goes off, everyone knows it’s just not right to try to take advantage. Players are expected to kick the ball out of bounds until the injured player gets medical attention. The team that kicks it out is rewarded the ball when play resumes, too.
Don’t walk — across the green or mound
Walking across an opponent’s putting line or pitching mound is considered bad sportsmanship. Even if it means taking a longer route to your destination, you have to do it. If you don’t, as Alex Rodriguez learned in 2010 when he crossed over Dallas Braden’s mound, you’re going to hear about it.
Don’t touch the Stanley Cup, unless you’ve won the right to do so
Winning a Stanley Cup is a big deal. Those who have won it gain membership to join a select group of NHL players — along with the right to put their fingerprints on the trophy. You simply don’t touch the hardware until you’ve won the right to do so.
Don’t admire your home run
It’s natural to stop and stare at a home run. Issues arise, however, when players admire their long shots for a few too many seconds. No one likes to be shown up. Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig has heard his fair share of complaints about the way he stares at his homers, as well as how long it takes him to round the bases after hitting them (another unwritten no-no).
Take a knee when you’re up late with the ball
This is another unwritten rule involving sportsmanship. When you have the game in hand, there’s absolutely no reason to show up your opponent and try to pad your stats. If you do, you risk injury via an angry defender and risk the possibility of coughing up the ball and losing the game.
Which of these unwritten rules do you believe is the most egregious to break? Did we miss any that you think top the rules on this list?