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Front Page: "Unwritten Rule" Gets Max Kepler Hit By A Pitch

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 12:41 PM

If you didn’t stay up last night to watch the ninth inning of the Twins blowout 13-6 win over the Texas Rangers (hey, we’re not judging), you missed a little in-game drama. Jake Cave hit a 3-0 pitch for a single, violating an unwritten rule in a blowout win, and teammate Max Kepler paid the price. Tom Froemming documented the video and radio calls of the play for us on Twitter:

It’s an interesting sequence. As color commentator Roy Smalley noted, there is no way Twins manager Rocco Baldelli gave Cave the green light on that pitch. It looks like first base coach Tommy Watkins said something to Cave when he reached first base, and Cave immediately seems to gesture towards the pitcher that he is sorry, and made a mistake.

The Rangers pitcher (to his credit, I suppose?) threw the pitch at rib level at Kepler, but it was a 93 mph fastball. Hopefully this act of vengeance puts an end to any ill-will regarding Cave’s brain cramp. (And I hope Cave bought Kepler a big steak, possibly to soak on top of the bruise.)

I’d sure love to hear what everyone thinks of the unwritten rule, and the apparent retaliation. Would your opinion be any different if a Twins pitcher was the retaliating pitcher?

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#2 SQUIRREL

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 12:49 PM

I'm sorry, but that should have ended with Cave's acknowledgement of what he did when he reached first base, and what looked like his apology to the pitcher. The issue should have been done with at that point and no way the pitcher should have retaliated as he did, because Cave basically admitted right then and there he was wrong. Unwritten rule or not, as soon as Cave acknowledged it, it was done. Thankfully the pitch was controlled enough to not hit Kepler in the wrist or the head.

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#3 by jiminy

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 12:54 PM

The pitcher should have been ejected. You can't just assault somebody because they hurt your pride. Grow up.

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#4 twinbythebay

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 12:56 PM

Why should this be considered a "brain cramp" by Cave? Should guys be expected to stand up there in a blowout and just leave the bat on their shoulder?

 

Especially for a guy like Cave, who's a young player fighting for more playing time, these guys should be up there battling in every at-bat. It's ridiculous that he feels the need to apologize, and it's even more ridiculous that the pitcher still felt the need to drill Kepler. I also hope the Twins don't let this stupid crap escalate any further; make them pay on the scoreboard. Intentional beanballs are for childish losers.

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#5 Vanimal46

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 12:57 PM

You should never be sorry to make contact with the ball during a game.
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#6 Don Walcott

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 12:59 PM

I don't even understand this unwritten rule. Isn't Cave entitled to try for a hit? Should we treat the opposition as anything less than professionals, being paid to do their jobs? So Cave is expected to let a pitcher groove a fastball down the middle? Where does the unwritten rule end? How many runs do you have to be behind at what point in the game? Are we entitled to retaliate now? Do we throw at one of the Rangers' best hitters for no reason?

 

If only we had Mollie or Dozier to educate our young players . . . .

 

IMO, it's not okay to throw at anyone there, especially someone who has nothing to do with breaking unwritten rules. But I don't even think it would have been okay to throw at Cave, had he scorched that ball foul on 3-0. Be a professional, and go out and beat the other team with your ability. The best revenge is a life lived well, or something like that . . . .

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#7 Andrew Thares

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 12:59 PM

I have no issue with what Cave did. The balance of the game might not be at stake, but the balance of Jake Cave's career is very much at stake in every plate appearance. Last time I checked, pitchers don't just start lobbing the ball over the plate when the game is out of hand, so why should we expect hitters to take the at-bat off?

 

The only person at fault here is the Rangers pitcher, if he was indeed intentionally throwing at Kepler.

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#8 Comrade Bork

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 12:59 PM

Cave shouldn't even feel bad. These grown athletes act like school kids. You play to win the game.

Cave is a fringe player and needs all the stat boosts he can get in order to secure a larger pay day. Cave is just practicing capitalism.
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#9 Comrade Bork

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 12:59 PM

Now you've got two guys on base in what is already a blow out. That pitcher sure showed us.

Kep is a boss.
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#10 Steve Lein

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 01:00 PM

I honestly have never heard of this "unwritten rule," therefore, I dont actually think it is one, which makes this even weirder.

Why would I let a grooved pitch go in this situation? A walk does nothing at that point. If you dont want me to swing, then purposefully walk me.
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Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 45, Speed: 45. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but will sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#11 AceWrigley

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 01:01 PM

Gee Mr. Pitcher, I'm sorry. I got so excited to actually see a strike I swung and got a base hit off of you. So, at how many runs up does this "rule" kick in? You're supposed to try to win but not by too much, is that it? So the payback for this infraction is you get to drill the next batter. Really? Great, lets risk an injury because someone's pride gets hurt? I think its BS.

Edited by AceWrigley, 16 August 2019 - 01:01 PM.

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#12 woolywoolhouse

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 01:09 PM

The reason this is an unwritten rule is because if you wrote it down, the majority of people would read it and proclaim it a stupid rule. Don't want to give up a hit? Don't throw a hittable pitch. 

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#13 Thebigalguy

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 01:11 PM

I love MLB, but not the pea brains that some big leaguers bring to the game. The pitcher should be thankful Cave swung; it could just as easily have been an out. Interesting he didn’t hit the K-Man until it was 3-0, unless that too was intentional. Too many athletes are too seldom disciplined for their immaturity and ethical failures.
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#14 twinsfanstreif

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 01:14 PM

I'm not an expert on unwritten rules as I only played one season of little league but that has to be among the stupidest of them all. A batter's job is to hit the ball and a pitcher is supposed to get them out. The Rangers should be fined for that BS
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#15 adorduan

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 01:16 PM

unwritten rules are stupid, period...

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#16 cmoss84

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 01:20 PM

Whether you agree with certain unwritten rules or not, and whether those rules are followed "correctly" during certain circumstances, a pitcher should always be fined for throwing at a hitter on purpose. 

 

If the pitcher does not agree with the fine, then they should have an opportunity to appeal it. However, most of these situations are pretty obvious. 

 

*If a player is plunked with off-speed stuff, they were not hit on purpose!*

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#17 JLease

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 01:27 PM

As noted in the game thread, this unwritten rule is derived from a bunch of highly competitive professionals who do this over the course of six month and in many cases have to play each other again the next day/week/month. It's a little professional courtesy of "don't pile on when the game is out of reach" combined with "let's all get through this one without anyone getting hurt". And in baseball (as with many sports), the players/managers have assumed the duty of enforcing these unwritten rules on the field (and one of the reasons for that was so that things stayed on the field).

 

If you think this is all stupid, you are entitled to your opinion. As with all unwritten rules, they do tend to evolve and change over the years (and new ones will be created) as player's attitudes about the game change. For example, players fraternizing with each other from different teams used to be a non-starter (and at one point crossed from unwritten rule to written rule) and it's completely gone away.

 

Attitudes towards sportsmanship in this country are changing and evolving and that impacts how people perceive this. there are people who think the concept of sportsmanship is entirely outdated as it applies to professional athletics, because of the professional nature of the game. YMMV on whether that's true or not, or good or not.

 

There are others who look at baseball's traditions as a way to preserve a cherished view of the past, where the things they liked about baseball's "glory years" are celebrated, including things like unwritten rules, while other aspects are ignored or discarded (racism, drug use, etc.).

 

I will say some of the comps people have been providing from other sports are a little silly: being up by 8 in the 9th is NOT the equivalent to being up by 10 with 2 minutes left in a basketball game...even in today's homer-happy era.

 

Part of me likes baseball's unwritten rules because they are often a little dumb. Keeping the sport a little weirder, a little goofy and so on isn't always a bad thing.

 

 

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#18 Drew

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 01:37 PM

As much as I love baseball is equal to the amount I hate baseballs unwritten rules. I disagree entirely with the notion that Jake Cave owes anyone anything. He is a hitter and he got a hit, if you don't like throw better pitches.

 

I don't believe in throwing at players in any circumstance, it's dangerous and childish. That said I hope the Twins throw inside a lot more than necessary tonight and then throw down a bunt single followed by a steal when they're up by 10.

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#19 SQUIRREL

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 01:38 PM

 

As noted in the game thread, this unwritten rule is derived from a bunch of highly competitive professionals who do this over the course of six month and in many cases have to play each other again the next day/week/month. It's a little professional courtesy of "don't pile on when the game is out of reach" combined with "let's all get through this one without anyone getting hurt". And in baseball (as with many sports), the players/managers have assumed the duty of enforcing these unwritten rules on the field (and one of the reasons for that was so that things stayed on the field).

 

If you think this is all stupid, you are entitled to your opinion. As with all unwritten rules, they do tend to evolve and change over the years (and new ones will be created) as player's attitudes about the game change. For example, players fraternizing with each other from different teams used to be a non-starter (and at one point crossed from unwritten rule to written rule) and it's completely gone away.

 

Attitudes towards sportsmanship in this country are changing and evolving and that impacts how people perceive this. there are people who think the concept of sportsmanship is entirely outdated as it applies to professional athletics, because of the professional nature of the game. YMMV on whether that's true or not, or good or not.

 

There are others who look at baseball's traditions as a way to preserve a cherished view of the past, where the things they liked about baseball's "glory years" are celebrated, including things like unwritten rules, while other aspects are ignored or discarded (racism, drug use, etc.).

 

I will say some of the comps people have been providing from other sports are a little silly: being up by 8 in the 9th is NOT the equivalent to being up by 10 with 2 minutes left in a basketball game...even in today's homer-happy era.

 

Part of me likes baseball's unwritten rules because they are often a little dumb. Keeping the sport a little weirder, a little goofy and so on isn't always a bad thing.

I don't disagree with much of this, in theory. However, unwritten rule or not, Cave acknowledged it and apologized BEFORE Kepler even came to bat. So, if it were an unwritten rule, and it seemed it was, as Watkins seemed to be telling Cave that, and Cave had already taken responsibility for his 'grievous' behavior, that should have been the end of it. To then throw at the next batter after Cave already tipped his hat in compliance with said unwritten rule, was uncalled for. There was no reason, imo, to retaliate. Honestly, I don't like to see anyone being thrown at because a bad throw can truly injure a player, however, in this case, there seemed to be no reason for it even if you put stock in the unwritten rules. 

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#20 Mike Sixel

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 01:40 PM

The pitcher should be fined and suspended. What an immature person. Until the game is over, it isn't over.
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