Un-Written Rulebook vs. Evan Longoria

All Rise!  The questionably honorable, Morgan “This is getting really old and so is your act” Ensberg is presiding.

Attendees in the courtroom: F-You Ensberg!

Morgan: Order!  Order in this court!  Any more outbursts like that and I’ll hold you in contempt of court!

Attendees in the courtroom: I’ve got something you can hold!

Morgan: Who said that?

Attendees: Nobody.  This is all in your head.  You’re typing this down pretending like this is real.

Morgan: Good point.  Well let’s get to it.  It says here in my imaginary docket that we need to go over another un-written rule in baseball.  Is that right?

Attendees: Fo’ Sho’, Fo’ Sho’!

Morgan: Cool.  Will someone please read the un-written rule that is in question?

Bailiff: We, the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect Union….

Morgan: Wait a minute!  You are reading the Preamble to the Constitution.  Please read the case pertaining to the un-written rules of baseball.

Bailiff: Certainly.  Got carried away there….flashed backed to 5th grade.  Oh….here it is.  We the fans of baseball question Evan Longoria with breaking the un-written rule that you are not allowed to break up a no-hitter with a bunt.  The play in question was during the Mother’s Day game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland Athletics on May 9, 2010.

Morgan: Thank you Bailiff.  Mr. Longoria how do you plea?

Longoria: This is bush!  This isn’t even a real court!  Who are you?

Morgan: You shut your mouth when I’m talking to you Fake Longoria!

Longoria: What does that even mean?

Morgan: I don’t really know.  I heard Robert De Nero say it in A Bronx Tale.  How do you plead?

Longoria: Who even said that it was an un-written rule?

Morgan: It was this dude, Kevin Kaduk over at Yahoo Sports who alluded to a possible violation.

Longoria: Why isn’t Kaduk on trial here?

Morgan: Because your fake attendance to this fake trial will get more readers to my blog.

Longoria: Dude this is stupid.

Morgan: Please just plead guilty or not guilty.

Longoria: What are you going to do?  Send me to imaginary jail?  Who is in there?  The Joker?  How about those 3 guys from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland? You know, the guys trying to get the keys to the jail from that dog?   What…you going to put me in Monstro’s belly with Pinocchio and Geppetto?  Can I make a phone call to Matlock?

Morgan: Arghhh.  Just plead for cryin’ out loud!

Longoria: Not guilty.

Morgan: Thank you.  Now Mr. Longoria, what was the situation that caused you to bunt?

Longoria: 5th inning.  I was leading off.  We were down by 4.   The A’s third baseman, Kevin Kouzmanoff was back.  So I tried to bunt.

Morgan: Mr. Longoria, you bat 4th for the Rays and you are also on the cover of MLB’s 2K10 video game. Did you know that guys who are on the cover of sports games are supposed to be big run producers, not bunters?

Longoria: I was trying to get on base.  It was the 5th and they were giving it to me.  Besides I tried…it went foul….so I tried to hit and ended up striking out.  No big deal.

Morgan: Ok.  I will adjourn to my chambers and come back with a verdict.  Forget that.  I already know the answer.  Mr. Longoria, please rise.

Longoria: I don’t feel like it.  Just read the decision.

Morgan: In the case of the Un-Written Rulebook vs. Evan Longoria, I find you not guilty of breaking any un-written rule.

The key element is that you were leading off the 5th inning with plenty of game left.  Being down 4 runs still allows your team to tie that game with one hit if the bases become loaded.  Kouzmanoff was giving you the bunt.  There was no reason for you to think that your team, the Rays, could not win at this point.

Mr. Longoria I actually think that this decision took some baseball savvy.  You are showing your commitment to win a game and that is all a team can ask of their leader.  Of course nobody needs to tell you that every single game counts when you play in the American League East.  I wish you good luck the rest of the season.

Longoria: This is easily the stupidest thing that the fake me has ever been a part of.  I’m going to take a fake vacation to fake Tahiti.

Morgan: This court is adjourned!

74 Comments on “Un-Written Rulebook vs. Evan Longoria”

  1. Jason Ballew says:

    Made me laugh. A lot of these ‘unwritten rules’ are fine when you’re in school, but let’s be honest. They’re trying to earn a living in a COMPETITIVE sport (as you were). When you compete, you do your best to win within the rules and spirit of the game.

    Running up the lead on a rookie pitcher is one thing. Trying to get a hit to spark SOMETHING is entirely different.

  2. Mat A says:

    I can’t believe this is even slightly being considered an issue. He was only perfect through 4, that means nothing… if it’s the 7th, 8th or 9th inning it may be a little different

  3. Drew says:

    Am I correct in that if it was the 7th inning or later you would have found him guilty?

    I think the unwritten no bunt rule is garbage. You’re trying to win games and who wants to have a perfect game or no-no thrown against ya.

    • Drew I like how you are thinking, but it isn’t a particular inning that the rule all of a sudden change. It has to do with the “feel” of the game. But the 7th is a good time to take the “temperature” of the game so to speak.


  4. casey says:

    Fake court to the rescue!

  5. Dave says:

    this fake court gives you more experience than the new Supreme Court nominee

  6. Kelsey says:

    I’m hoping these fake kangaroo courts become a regular installment. Fake verdicts are real awesome.
    Question from Fake Cheap Seats, if the score held at 4-0, at what point in the game does Longoria bunt become Bush? The 9th? The last out? Finding the breaking point of an unwritten rule is always interesting.

    • Kelsey I have to make a distinction. This is not Kangaroo court. Kangaroo court is held by players in the clubhouse….but I do understand what you are getting at.

      It is tough to give a definitive answer here because it has to do with “feel.”


      • Kelsey says:

        Thanks Morgan– Can you do a Kangaroo court write-up sometime? Would love to hear some of the good crimes/punishments that were dealt with? Is it just an “urban legend” or do Kangaroo courts really exist in MLB clubhouses? I think I heard about the Yankees running one a few years ago with Mariano Rivera serving as the presiding judge.

  7. Lee says:

    I need to talk to my therapist now. We’ve been looking for the real me. And now the fake me has been given a real voice by the real fake Morgan Ensberg. At least, I think it has. And what do “I” mean by “‘I’ think it has?” is it the real I or is the fake I posing as the real I? And does fake I think it’s real I when it’s being fake I, or does I just think I’m I all the time? Great, now I’m getting my subjects and objects all mixed up!

    I think I need an aspirin. But I’m not sure I really think that. Perhaps fake I is trying to trick the real me in some bizarre plan to thin out my blood as “my” doctor suggests “I” should do. Wait…unless the DOCTOR IS ACTUALLY THE FAKE ME. OR THE REAL ME.

    • Lee I have never read a clearer description of reality in my life. The problem is that I am unable to talk to the fake me because I am me. You will have to talk to the fake me for that.


  8. goldstarcouriers says:

    Love it and I agree with the fake verdict.

  9. Carey says:

    “Ice Cube! Take the mother-f’n stand!”

    Sorry. Fake court gave me an NWA flashback.

    As for the “unwritten rules”. . . F the unwriten rules. I’m pissed that the Rays allowed a tomato can like Street get a freakin’ perfect game. I say bunt, slap and do whatever you can to break that up. Crowd the plate. Bunt up the 1B line with 2 outs in the ninth, crowd the line and force he perfect throw. And, if the 1B gets in the way, blast his ass.

    18 people in the history of the game have pitched perfect games. If you want to be 19, you’d better f-ing earn it.

    And we f-ing GAVE it to him. Piss poor all the way around.

    **** I edited some of the curse words….I have to keep it real for the kids. Morgan*****

    And Ty Cobb weaps at what the game has come to!

  10. Carey says:

    My bad. Braden not Street. Still doesn’t change my mind. Not worthy. Granny should have been celebrating a nice shutout not a perfecto.

  11. Nick says:

    Hey Morgan –

    Absolutely Love the blog, and agree with the verdict.

    One piece of feedback: I was really appreciating your clear, concise “Whats my point, why does it matter” format. There’s so many complex nuance for us regular fans to learn about, and that structure really helped.

    I’m glad your finding ways to stretch out and experiment, but I hope you’re not planning on ditching your original format entirely. Thanks for writing and keep it up!

    • Nick I will be back to that. These fake court posts are always done at night when I read a story that want to bang something out. Don’t worry….my format will continue with point and reason. It is cool that you like that by the way.


  12. Mike@AJM says:

    I real-agree with the fake-verdict.

    No-hitter discussion shouldn’t begin until the last out of the 7th is recorded and even then if it’s a 4 run (or less) game he’s within his rights to try to get on by any means necessary. Talking about a no-hitter in the 5th inning is ridiculous.

  13. teamlittleguy says:

    Think of how big a story this would have been had EL gotten the bunt down and was the only Ray to reach base successfully!

    (I know I know – “if a froggie had wings …”)

  14. Dan Watson says:

    As you are the fake official Supreme Court of baseball’s official Unwritten Rulebook, maybe you can direct a citizen to his local representative’s office? Maybe I’ll just run for that office…

    I’d like to submit the following amendment to this unwritten rule:

    No player shall be allowed to bunt in attempt to break up a no hitter or perfect game if the following conditions are true:

    1. 21 or more outs have been recorded against your team.
    2. Your team trails by five or more runs.

    Appropriate punishment shall be decided by the opposing team, but should include drilling the offending batter in the next at-bat that meets the previously ruled appropriate circumstances.

    If those conditions are not true, bunt. Bunt like crazy. It’s a lost art. A lot of hitters could raise their average another 10-20 points by mixing in a bunt once in a while. Look how deep and off the line Pujols plays first!! Why is bunting so out of style?

  15. John says:

    Remember about a decade ago when Curt Schilling had a perfect game broken up in the 8th inning when the Padres’ backup catcher Ben Davis dropped down a bunt? The guy got on base, which brought the tying run to the plate. People tried to blast Davis for trying to put his team in better position win a game! That was so good, and a perfect example of why Longoria doing it in the 5th is perfectly acceptable. No-hitters (and especially perfect games) are special and great, but they have to be earned. If you knew that the opposing team was just rolling over and not trying to win a game, then how much merit could these achievements really hold?

  16. Dustin says:

    Could not agree more, Mo!

    So here’s an imaginary unimaginary imaginary (uh-oh ADD has kicked in) question. Since we are allegedly imagining this in the context of a perfect game (as opposed to a no-hitter) is it ok for the batter to attempt to draw a walk in the 8th or 9th by going to the plate and intentionally not swing the bat? (allegedly imagining, of course)

    This must be in the imaginary rules somewhere!

    • jklender says:

      I can’t even imagine a situation where that would be the fault of the batter. (Imaginarily speaking, of course.)

      If the pitcher can’t throw three out of six pitches over the plate, that’s his problem and he’s lost the perfect game himself, hasn’t he?

      Now if the batter makes a show of it, then that’s different, right?

    • I don’t really know how to draw a walk Dustin. You could try, but there is no way for you to control where the ball is going to go.


  17. Harry says:

    This “rule” implies that it’s easier to get a hit via bunt than by a regular swing. The data doesn’t back that up: bunting for a hit is hard. If it were easier to get a hit bunting, guys would bunt a lot more than they do. Even when the infield is playing back a bit, most hitters don’t bunt that often.

  18. lisa gray says:

    i guess i’m surprised that a writer is grousing about a hitter trying to bunt for a hit in the 5th inning – not sure why you call it a “no-hitter” in only the 5th inning.

    we’ve all seen a whole lot of games where there were no hits/walks through 5 innings. well, at least i have, being an astros fan. yess, there WAS some bitterness in that remark.

    i don’t see anything whatsoever wrong with bunting for a hit. but i guess these days, it is seen as a not ok thing to do in the AL. or something. or not ok in the NL unless you are the pitcher or the leadoff or #2 guy, or are the only guy on your team hitting over .240 and for some reason, the manager decides to throw away an out even though you almost never EVER hit into a DP.

    yes, i AM an astros fan. how EVAH did you guess???

    anyhow, this is really silly to complain about longoria trying to bunt his way on. sometimes, all you need to do is to get the pitcher to have to pitch from the stretch to break up his rhythm and there you go.

    and it is whining to complain that the pitcher threw 80 MPH slop. like, so what??? if you are the best team in the AL, you SHOULD be hitting any kind of pitch, slop included…

  19. Randall says:

    Funny stuff Morgan! This was a perfect illustration of how ludicrous it is for the opposing team to be trying to help preserve a perfect game.

    On the court note, if you feel like it. Can you write about kangaroo court sometime? I’ve heard announcers talk about it, and think I get the jest of it. However, it would be fun to hear some stories.

  20. Drew says:

    Nobody has a problem when Ichiro bunts to lead off a game, even though thats still a perfect game with no outs yet. If the Rays were having a perfect game thrown at them in September and they were either eliminated or in the playoffs already, then I would say thats bad. Bunting against a perfect game in May when your team is struggling to get anything going and every game still counts, with the hot hitting Yankees right on your tail in 2nd place, anything goes. If the score was 14-0 and he bunted in the 8th, then I’d say thats different. 5th inning down by 4 its ok, but more importantly its ok since its just May and they need every win they can get to stay ahead in the AL East.

  21. Mike says:

    I suppose if Braden didn’t have a problem with it, nobody should. He knows even the double-secret unwritten rules.

    I wonder how he would have reacted had the bunt been successful, and had been the Rays only hit.

    I would pay big money to see his reaction to that outcome.

  22. Drew says:

    If its September, both teams are eliminated from contention, the score is 20-0 and the pitcher has a perfect game going into the 9th inning and you try to lead off the 9th with a bunt I would say that is a bad thing to do, but beyond that situation bunting for a base hit is always a legitimate strategy.

  23. Ashitaka says:

    I can’t say that I wouldn’t bunt to break one up in the ninth while down by ten runs. I guess this is probably silly coming from someone who’s never played before, but I sure would be motivated not to be “that loser striking out to secure the no-hitter” for the next fifty years in highlight reels.

  24. Andy R. says:

    I didn’t realize Braden was such an expert on the unwritten rules of baseball. Maybe he’s got a book I can find at Borders on the subject…

    You know how many no-hitters/perfect games have reached the 5th inning this year? I’m sure it happens more regularly than one would think. I went to a local A ball game the other afternoon, the River Bandits vs the Lumberkings, and both teams had no hitters into the 5th. Braden is just making mountains out of molehills.

  25. Mark Mitchener says:

    I’m loving these “unwritten rules of baseball” – and I’ve noticed some unwritten rules which seem to have crept into soccer in the UK.

    Now, soccer games last for 90 minutes (two halves of 45 minutes each). The referee is the sole timekeeper and is entitled to add on time at the end of a half for stoppages – mainly injuries, but also for the issuing of yellow and red cards, substitutions, blatant time-wasting, and other hold-ups such as lengthy goal celebrations.

    Until 10-15 years ago, no-one (except the referee) ever knew how much “added time” would be added. So a law was brought in whereby on the dot of 45 or 90 minutes, the fourth official on the touchline holds up an electronic board to display how many “added” minutes are to be played in that half (having been told how many minutes to add by the referee).

    (This is the board which also displays the shirt numbers of substitutes and the players they are brought on to replace).

    It was also revealed a few years ago that guidelines given to referees suggest they add 30 seconds for every yellow or red card, and 30 seconds for every substitution.

    Also, the number of added minutes displayed on the board is a MINIMUM number of minutes – and can be extended if there is a further stoppage within that “added time”. So, for instance, if the board shows 2 extra minutes are to be played, and during those two minutes there is a 3-minute stoppage to treat a head injury, you can generally expect 5 extra minutes to be played.

    But here are the Unwritten Rules:

    UNWRITTEN RULE #1 – After 45 minutes of a game which has had no apparent stoppages, no goals, no yellow or red cards and no substitutions, and when neither team’s physio has had to come on, the board will be held up showing 1 extra minute. A token minute, if you like.

    UNWRITTEN RULE #2 – No referee will ever blow the whistle to end a half while a team has possession within 25 yards of their opponent’s goal-line. Most refs will wait a few extra seconds until the ball is within 15 yards of the half-way line before blowing – or preferably, wait for a goal-kick to be taken and then blow the whistle while the ball is in the air almost exactly over the half-way line.

    I probably go to 25-30 English professional league games a season, and UNWRITTEN RULE #2 is enacted in 95% of these. Watch out for it next time you see an English game on TV!

    • I love it Mark! It is my understanding from soccer that a player can be fouled, but if the ball gives the fouled player’s team an advantage the ref can signal “advantage” so to speak. Is that true? And if it is, is it a written or unwritten rule?

      By the way, I read this last night and thought it was awesome! What do you think Mark? http://bit.ly/alvIPy


      • Mark Mitchener says:

        Hi Morgan, yes, “advantage” is very much a written rule in soccer.

        So if Player A fouls Player B, but the ball rebounds kindly for Player B’s team in an attacking position, the referee can signal “advantage”, usually by waving both his arms like a mascot trying to wow a crowd into life, indicating to the players that they should carry on.

        Often, a referee may allow play to continue for a few seconds after the foul to see if Player B’s team have an advantage. If they don’t, he will halt play and award them a free kick where the foul took place.

        Whether or not the referee plays the advantage (and even if Player B’s team go on to score), he is still perfectly entitled – the next time the ball goes out of play – to caution or send off Player A for the initial foul.

        Needless to say, there are still times when referees don’t play advantage when they should do (Player B’s team burst forward, only for the ref to give them a free kick much further back), or vice versa.

        But the UNWRITTEN rule – which is drummed into kids learning the game – is “play to the whistle”. In other words, even if you think a foul’s been committed, wait for the referee’s whistle as you may not be aware an advantage is being played.

        As for that link with South Africa insisting they won’t run out of beer at the World Cup… well, I was in Cape Town over New Year to watch England play SA at cricket. Our hotel, which had many England fans staying, ran out of Castle Lager (one of SA’s biggest brands) two nights running. So I hope they’re well prepared!

      • Razzlegator says:

        Okay, now I understand why soccer fans riot.

  26. Couch Tater says:

    Another case on the docket, Judge.

    The People v. Philadelphia Bullpen Binoculars.

    Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca noticed the binoculars in the first inning while Colorado was pitching. A player at that point asked the FSN camera crew to zoom in on the Phillies’ bullpen in center field, and the shot confirmed the binoculars. – Troy Renck, Denver Post


    • jklender says:

      As a fan I tend to agree with Charlie Manuel’s quote at the bottom. It’s the highest level of competition, you’re doing everything you can to win. Anything goes, just be up front about it. That said, obviously I don’t think Manuel was being up front about the coach only watching Ruiz. Come on now.

      To me, the only thing the leagues should be bothered with in cases like this is the interest of fairness and making sure all teams have the opportunity to exploit the weaknesses of their opponents.

    • Love this idea Couch! And yes…I love cheesesteaks!


  27. jklender says:

    So are we now ‘in the club’ if we can read some of these unwritten rules?

  28. goldstarcouriers says:

    Mark, you lost me at the word “soccer”.

  29. David Newhan says:

    I love the site. Can hear you saying what you are writing. Ha. Remember that time Ben Davis broke up Schillings no-hitter with 1 out in the eighth inning by throwing down a drag bunt? WOW. Swing the stick my man. I was so, so devastated to see Schill lose his no-hit bid. Thanks for the props on the 40″ vert!
    David Newhan

    • jklender says:

      Hey David,
      As a Tiger fan, I appreciate your recently posted comments on the passing of Ernie Harwell. I’ve been enjoying reading through the rest of your site since Morgan posted the link, keep up the good work. You guys have different styles, but both are very entertaining and well-written. The perspective is priceless.

  30. David Newhan says:

    One more thing. Is it an unwritten rule that you shouldn’t fall asleep in the clubhouse if you might have to pinch hit later in that game?

  31. Tony says:

    Aren’t you breaking the unwritten rules by writing them, thus rendering them written? Oh wait, if you do that, you’re not breaking any unwritten rules.

    Now my head hurts.

    Thanks, Judge Morgan!

  32. Scott says:

    Morgan, you are hilarious! That’s all I have to say. Keep on doing what you do!

  33. Jay says:

    Hi Morgan,

    Big fan of the blog! I realize you’ve been writing about unwritten rules, and there is a written rule to cover this, by why aren’t players expressing any attitude toward colleagues who use PEDs? I mean, A-Rod slaps the ball, yells “Ha!”, and runs across the mound, and other players are outraged. But he admits using steroids during a year he hit 57 home runs and his fellow players don’t seem to care. Why aren’t those 57 pitchers (or however many) knocking him down next time they face him for cheating them, costing them runs and games?

    Thanks for your thoughts! Jay

    • Jay you won’t believe me, but we didn’t realize that so many guys were cheating. I know, it sounds ignorant, but how would we know what a guy is taking?


  34. Jay says:

    I understand you guys didn’t necessarily know at the time, but last season, after A-Rod confessed, he must’ve faced a pitcher who gave up one of those 57 tainted home runs. Why not send a message? Or when Manny came back after his suspension last year. It just seems like players gave each other a pass, which leads me to believe that even though it’s against the written MLB rules to use PEDs, it’s not against “The Rules.” Or am I misreading this somehow?

  35. Trevor Choate says:

    Very entertaining. I just discovered and bookmarked your blog. I may have to throw my #14 Astros jersey in the wash and wear it to my next game at Minute Maid.

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