HOME  |  WHAT'S NEW  |  FIND:

Never steal a base when leading by a bunch of runs. - Baseball

Theory

 

“I think it’s a respect thing. The problem in college baseball is you have a chance to end the game by getting a lead of eight runs after seven or 10 after 5 and sometimes that opens up the door,” said Temple coach Craig McMurtry said.

“You can think, ‘our bullpen is hurting right now’ and you try to swipe a bag to get a runner in scoring position and try to win the game early and save the bullpen.

“In pro ball you don’t have that rule and once you get to a certain point in the 7th inning and you have a 6- to 8-run lead you don’t steal, and if it’s a big lead even earlier in the game like 10-12 in the 4th you don’t do it because they think you are trying to show them up by scoring a lot of runs. It’s a respect thing.” -- Patti Arnold

Historical Offenders: Rickey, Lou Brock

Rickey Henderson was the all-time offender, once taking second base with the Brewers' defense playing back and his team leading 12-5 in the seventh inning. "There are certain things you don't do," Milwaukee manager Davey Lopes said. "You don't stop competing; what you stop doing is manufacturing runs." -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer
 

But while the Code is rigidly adhered to, it does have some maverick opponents who feel that following its rules means that you're not playing to win. Base-stealing champ Lou Brock made it clear throughout his career that he would steal bases no matter how big his team's lead was. As Brock's Hall of Fame teammate and admirer Bob Gibson tells it, "He'd say, 'F - - - you. I'm gonna do it.' His attitude was to beat the other team as badly as possibly, and that was my kind of baseball." -- Larry Getlen

 

Roger Cedeno, 1996

The "cessation of aggressive tactics during a blowout" are a major part of the Code.

 

In 1996, when then-Dodger rookie Roger Cedeno stole second base with the first baseman playing deep and his team ahead 11-2, he was verbally abused by Giant players. But it was one of his own teammates who then approached the Giants bench to alert them that Cedeno had run "without a shred of institutional authority," and that "justice" would be meted out internally. (While it's not reported what form that justice took, Cedeno was later seen crying in the clubhouse.)  -- Larry Getlen

 

B.J. Upton, 2009

Many of these rules are broken all the time, and they can begin to get confusing, as when Tampa Bay’s B.J. Upton stole second and third base with his team down nine runs against the Indians earlier this season. Cleveland’s Victor Martinez and Kerry Wood took exception, even though the Rays ended up scoring seven runs before finally losing, 11-7.

 

“If you’re going to get respect, show respect,” Martinez told reporters after the game. Like the Mafia, it seems, baseball is all about respect and not writing things down.

 

Later in the series, Wood was brought in to face Upton and threw a pitch behind him (which is often the way these unwritten rules are enforced) before tempers flared and the benches cleared. When Rays Manager Joe Maddon was asked about the book of unwritten rules after the game, he responded: “There’s a lot of pages out of the book that need to be burned.”  -- Fred Bierman

 

Oakland, Aug 7 2010

 
The A's even pulled a double steal with a four-run lead in the eighth inning during Saturday's 6-2 win over the Rangers. Geren said the unwritten rules of baseball have changed over the years, as such actions used to be deemed unethical.
 
"[The unwritten rule] definitely exists, it's just that line has gone a little further," Geren said. "Since my 30-plus years in the game, there's a lot more bigger, stronger guys who can hit homers and teams score runs in bunches quickly a lot more than they used to 20, 30 years ago."  -- MLB.com