Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, a perennial All-Star and Hall of Fame-caliber lightning rod, recently landed in the middle of controversy with a seemingly harmless jog across San Francisco's East Bay. When Rodriguez cut across the pitcher's mound during a game against Oakland, A's pitcher Dallas Braden took offense and ripped him for his lack of professional courtesy. The incident set off a major turf war and prompted some inflammatory back-and-forth in the papers.
Blyleven: "It doesn't make any difference to me whether I'm standing on it or not -- that's my mound and you stay off my mound. When the left fielder runs from the first base dugout to left field between innings, you never see him run across the mound. You just don't see players running across the mound.'' -- Jerry Crasnick
"No, you don't do it. It's like stealing a base when you're ahead by nine runs in the eighth inning," said Hall of Fame right-hander Don Sutton. "It's just common sense and common courtesy. If Bob Gibson or Don Drysdale had been on the mound, it would've been over in 15 seconds."
Chimed in another pitching legend, Tom Seaver: "You just don't do that. Let me ask [Rodriguez] this: 'Would you dare to do something like that on Don Drysdale, Nolan Ryan, [Bob] Gibson or me?' All of a sudden you remember protocol."
"There are a lot of current players who wouldn't know that rule," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. "I guarantee that young man [Braden] has studied baseball history." -- Tom Singer