Here's why it's so difficult to follow all these unwritten rules: they're not written down. If somebody compiled them all and made a list which was ratified by a 2/3 majority of persons on a blue-ribbon panel, then there'd be less discussion.
Instead, here's another story about the unwritten rules, this time involving the act of bunting during a perfect game. Again, this involves Dallas Braden.
This past week Braden was vocal about Alex Rodriguez slicing through the pitcher's mound and stomping on the rubber (his rubber!) while returning to home plate after a foul ball. But on Sunday, Braden went from "some complaining pitcher" to "some pitcher who threw a perfect game and complained about something last week but I forget what." In all fairness, he hasn't spoken out regarding Tampa Bay's bunt attempt in the fifth inning by cleanup hitter Evan Longoria, but the attempted bunter did defend his bad self by pointing out that not even Braden seemed all that worked up about it.
Longoria's bunt was almost perfect. He'd have beat it out for sure, but it rolled foul. It's all moot — he eventually struck out — but the A's crowd vocally objected to the Rays' third baseman after his little scheme of sabotage.
Um … why?
First of all, it wasn't that late in the game. There were zero outs in the fifth inning. They were only down four. That's not insurmountable; in fact, hours earlier, their Bay Area neighbors lost a 4-0 lead after five innings. Kevin Kaduk of Yahoo! Sports alleges that, hey, Longoria's their home-run hitter, so what the heck's he doing trying to bingle his way to first?
Well, he's done it once before with success. He's no Ichiro when it comes to infield hits, but he seems to have just as good a chance at fooling adequate third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff than he does at knocking one out of the park in the agoraphobic Oakland Coliseum. A total of 15 runs were scored in the three-game series, and neither team hit a homer.
And, in fact … doesn't this unwritten rule violate another unwritten rule, which is not to acknowledge no-hitters until after five innings are completed? Re-examine that many of the A's fans were booing. Was there something they've noticed about the ebb and flow of Rays at bats that they'd like to share with the rest of the class?
Seriously. Someone write all these unwritten rules down. This is dizzying.