Another MLB season, another team getting offended because the other team did not adhere to MLB's "unwritten rule." The San Francisco Giants were waxing the Padres. They were up by nine runs. Then this happened.
Unwritten Rules Are Stupid
I'm just going to say it. The unwritten rules are stupid and they need to be put out to pasture like Old Yeller. The unwritten rule that was so indignantly violated was the one where you're not supposed to bunt for a hit during a blowout. Don't ask anyone logical questions, though. Logical questions such as: what is the appropriate lead where players should not bunt? When should they not swing at 3-0 pitches? When are they allowed to bat flip? Not a single person in favor of the unwritten rules will have real answers other than conjecture and platitudes.
Is the team that is clutching their ringless pearls the same team that had their player swing 3-0 with the bases loaded in a blowout game?
First of all—Tatis was right to swing and hit a grand slam. Anything can happen in an MLB game. What if the Padres bullpen gave up 7 runs? How much would have Tatis regretted it? We'll never know. As a friend said, "the unwritten rules of baseball are in place to protect the egos of millionaires. A bunt single doesn’t change the path of this game, but it does give this guy a chance to showcase." What if that bunt single helps his statistics enough at the end of the year to help him in arbitration, to make a few more dollars? That matters.
If the Padres did not like him laying down a bunt—they should have fielded the ball faster and thrown him out. If they can't hit home runs when they're up by a lot, they also can't bunt? Are they expected to just stand there and take strikes right down the middle? Any way you break down this logic you wind up in the same place: these rules are stupid.
Most Valid Point
Lost in the mess of the MLB lockout, a new rule was instituted in this collective bargaining agreement. In the event of a tie for the division, there is no longer a game 163 for a tie-breaker. The division winner will now be decided by whichever team has the best run differential. This now gives even more incentive for every team to run up the score no matter how inconsequential the game feels. If poking holes in the lack of logic to keep the unwritten rules is not enough, surely the fact that it will be detrimental to the team for us to keep trying to enforce them is.
Transcend The Game
Nobody wants to turn on the TV (or pay for tickets and go see) a game where a player is robbed of another opportunity to get a hit just to placate some old-school feelings. It's just preposterous in every way. Swing at every 3-0 pitch you like. Bunt at any point in the game. I'll say it again because it's worth repeating a few times. The unwritten rules are stupid and need to die.