The (Unwritten) Rules of Baseball

I don’t think it was our plan to do so, but perhaps our theme for this off-day is books on baseball. While reading this post over at Babes Love Baseball today, I was reminded of a book I learned about from another blog several weeks ago that intrigued me.

It seems like I’m constantly trying to catch up with all the Twins and general baseball blogs I enjoy reading (if it weren’t for Google Reader I’d never even know where I left off, so thank goodness for RSS). A while back I read a post at Over the Baggy that mentioned a New York Post article about a new book, The Baseball Codes by Jason Turbow. Parker pulled out one Twins-related story from the article, but I was curious enough about the topic that I read the entire article, which I found fascinating.

Probably part of the reason I found this fascinating is just that my knowledge of baseball history is pretty lacking. I want to improve that, and I do pick up a little here and there, but there’s only so much time in the day, you know? I’ve picked up a handful of books over the past few years, but finding time to read them is an entirely different issue.

But a larger part of the reason for my fascination is that I just don’t know very much about the rules behind the rules of baseball, the ethical code the players follow that doesn’t really have anything to do with MLB’s rules (as far as I can tell, anyway). I played some community rec center softball when I was in elementary school, but none of this really came up at that age. Certainly most, if not all, subcultures have these types of customs that I have no reason to know about as an outsider, but I didn’t realize how much baseball’s affect actual game play. So, I have decided I need to learn more.

When I looked for the book mentioned above at, a couple of other books published within the past couple of years or so popped up in my search as well. So, dear readers, I’m asking you to help me decide which one I should purchase. I might have a slight preference for the first two in the poll just because they both have Kindle editions available and I really don’t have much room for books in my new home, but I’ll go with the consensus. If there is one. The full titles and links to follow.

The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America’s Pastime by Jason Turbow (published March 2010)

The Unwritten Rules of Baseball: The Etiquette, Conventional Wisdom, and Axiomatic Codes of Our National Pastime by Paul Dickson (published March 2009)

The Code: Baseball’s Unwritten Rules and Its Ignore-at-Your-Own-Risk Code of Conduct by Ross Bernstein (published March 2008)

(I sense a theme with those publication dates.) (I really hope the poll works, as I had a tough time getting this to save and publish.)

4 Replies to “The (Unwritten) Rules of Baseball”

  1. maybe I should get off my ass and read a new baseball book to review – I did just suggest that my roommate read Throwing Bullets. Is there anyone that reads this blog that hasn’t read that though?

  2. Well, I haven’t read it…that whole “so much time in the day” thing. I’m sure I meant to, though, so I probably will eventually.

    And apparently the poll thing isn’t working. I tried redoing it, but it still didn’t show up in the preview, so I don’t know what the deal is, and at the moment I’m too tired to do anything else.

    So…vote here in the comments, folks, okay?

  3. Pick one, any one… and when you’re finished, we should see how many “unwritten rules” we can come up with here. I wonder how long it would take before we got to “don’t run across the mound” like ARoid did in Oakland this weekend.