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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The unwritten rules of using a position player to pitch ... when you’re winning big

The last time a position player entered as a reliever when his team was well ahead — at least, as far as I can tell, no refunds — was October 3, 1920. With the St. Louis Browns leading the Chicago White Sox, 16-7, the Browns sent George Sisler in to pitch. The Hall of Famer, who hit .340 for his career, was apparently keen on giving the crowd at Sportsman’s Park a laugh on the last day of the season, and I would guess the White Sox were fine with it. Sisler had just set the all-time record for hits in a season (257), which would stand for another 84 years, and he was one of the biggest stars in the game.

Bored Posted: April 24, 2018 at 03:36 PM | 85 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: george sisler, unwritten rules

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   1. Traderdave Posted: April 25, 2018 at 09:15 AM (#5659744)
Sisler came up as a pitcher.
   2. SoSH U at work Posted: April 25, 2018 at 10:10 AM (#5659784)
While there may be something to this (not wanting to show the opposition up), I suspect it's also because teams fear that a soon-to-be-blowout win could become an unblowout lead if you throw a non-pitcher into the game. Teams tend to be overly risk-averse when it comes to protecting leads, as we see in many other situations.

Hell, Bob Brenly let Randy Johnson pitch three innings with a 15-run lead, even though he was willing to throw the Big Unit again the following night.


   3. PreservedFish Posted: April 25, 2018 at 10:16 AM (#5659790)
I think it would be seen as a tremendous insult, really.
   4. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 25, 2018 at 10:45 AM (#5659818)
Sisler came up as a pitcher.


Sisler had been the starting pitcher for the Browns in a game just two years earlier. And it wasn't a last game of the season, "let's have some fun" scenario; it was the second game of a doubleheader on August 27th, and Sisler went seven innings.

Sisler was a good pitcher even at the major league level. He finished his career with a 126 ERA+ in 111 innings. So yeah, this was not quite like bringing in Jose Canseco.
   5. weiss-man Posted: April 25, 2018 at 10:51 AM (#5659822)
Sisler gave up no home runs in those 111 innings
   6. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: April 25, 2018 at 10:54 AM (#5659825)
I think it would be seen as a tremendous insult, really.


Then beat the tar out of the nonpitcher and make them regret insulting you, instead of crying about Unwritten Rules after falling behind by ten runs. This is professional baseball, not Little League.
   7. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 25, 2018 at 10:59 AM (#5659831)
Then beat the tar out of the nonpitcher and make them regret insulting you, instead of crying about Unwritten Rules after falling behind by ten runs. This is professional baseball, not Little League.


I think the more likely response is that someone is going to get plunked. Let's say the Yankees are winning 17-1 and bring in Brett Gardner to pitch the top of the 9th. The chances that the next night that Aaron Judge gets hit intentionally (and potentially injured) is going to skyrocket. You can argue that's unacceptable (and I won't argue) but I would bet it's a virtual certainty.
   8. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5659835)
I'll add this. The idea that "it's professional baseball, not Little League" is one I can't get behind. It is entirely possible to conduct yourself with some class in all situations. Obviously there are grey areas and we can disagree on those, fair enough. But if you bring in a position player* to pitch in such a situation don't go all "I'm shocked to find gambling in this establishment" when you get called out. It's always amazing to me how so many people that feel that anything should be allowed in any situation suddenly become so sensitive when they are the ones being criticized. If you are going to strut and preen and say that your opponent should shut the hell up, please have the decency to shut up when you get called on your strutting.

* - The Sisler situation is not the same, as noted by others he was fairly legitimate as a pitcher.
   9. McCoy Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:09 AM (#5659837)
Hell, Bob Brenly let Randy Johnson pitch three innings with a 15-run lead, even though he was willing to throw the Big Unit again the following night.

Paging Dusty Baker, paging Dusty Baker you're needed at the Prior courtesy phone.
   10. PreservedFish Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:10 AM (#5659838)
Then beat the tar out of the nonpitcher and make them regret insulting you, instead of crying about Unwritten Rules after falling behind by ten runs. This is professional baseball, not Little League.


Societies are allowed to have rules of politeness and decorum.
   11. McCoy Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:10 AM (#5659839)

I think the more likely response is that someone is going to get plunked. Let's say the Yankees are winning 17-1 and bring in Brett Gardner to pitch the top of the 9th. The chances that the next night that Aaron Judge gets hit intentionally (and potentially injured) is going to skyrocket. You can argue that's unacceptable (and I won't argue) but I would bet it's a virtual certainty.


I seriously doubt a team would plunk an opposing team's best player because a positional player came in during a blowout. We're not all Donald Trumps here.
   12. Nasty Nate Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:11 AM (#5659840)
But if you bring in a position player* to pitch in such a situation don't go all "I'm shocked to find gambling in this establishment" when you get called out.
Should teams expect to be "called out" for pulling star players out of the game with a big lead?
   13. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:12 AM (#5659841)
Given some of the things people get plunked for I'd bet good money that someone would get plunked.
   14. BDC Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:12 AM (#5659842)
I think SoSH captures the thinking.

If you're way behind, you have nothing to lose by getting a little further behind. Send out your backup catcher to throw a little BP, tell him to get the ball over the plate and let the outfielders catch the results. If you're down by ten and after the inning you're down by eleven, SFW.

If you're way ahead … well, if a ten-run lead becomes a six-run lead, you don't want to use a non-pitcher in a six-run game, lest it suddenly become a two-run game.

TFA says that you can always bring in a real reliever if that happens, but why not bring one in anyway and reduce the probability?

So there may be some macho code involved, but I think there's some actual tactics, too.
   15. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:13 AM (#5659843)
Should teams expect to be "called out" for pulling star players out of the game with a big lead?


I don't think so. If someone disagrees with me that's fine but I wouldn't be bothered by it. It's happened for 150 years though so it's not like it's some new thing that people would be doing.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:14 AM (#5659844)
Societies are allowed to have rules of politeness and decorum.

Agreed. I really hate when people dismiss the idea of good sportsmanship.
   17. McCoy Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:16 AM (#5659846)

* - The Sisler situation is not the same, as noted by others he was fairly legitimate as a pitcher.


If you're going to bring in a positional player in a blowout in which you have a lead you should be bringing in a positional player that is at least somewhat respectable on the mound for an athlete otherwise it is pointless to do it. The amount of players nowadays that qualify for that and a manager would be willing to get injured has got to be small. I mean it is possible that Willson Contreras could limit the damage to 5 or 6 runs or even less but you don't want one of the best catchers in the game throwing as hard as he can for 30 to 40 pitches. Sure you might risk a Ronny Cedeno type, a guy sitting on the bench that is getting less 100 PA in the season but they also then need to have a good arm for a fielder and find the strikezone.
   18. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:17 AM (#5659847)
So it's against the unwritten rules to keep trying to score more runs when you're up big, thus "running up the score" and giving the other team even less of a chance to win, and it's also against the unwritten rules to give the other team more of a chance to win by pitching a position player. Got it.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:21 AM (#5659850)
So it's against the unwritten rules to keep trying to score more runs when you're up big,

No it's not. It's against the unwritten rules to play "small-ball", stealing, buntin, etc. It's perfectly OK to swing away and try and tack on.
   20. PreservedFish Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:22 AM (#5659852)
So it's against the unwritten rules to keep trying to score more runs when you're up big, thus "running up the score" and giving the other team even less of a chance to win, and it's also against the unwritten rules to give the other team more of a chance to win by pitching a position player. Got it.

That's not quite right. It's against the unwritten rules to bunt for a hit or steal bases when you're up big - you're not supposed to try so hard to eke out extra runs - but you're still allowed to swing the bat hard and expand your lead.

I don't think there's any contradiction here. If you're up big, you're expected to continue to play honest baseball, but don't make a show of it. Trying too hard or too little is seen as unseemly.

edit > snapper beat me to it
   21. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:23 AM (#5659853)
You're right. I should have said it's against the unwritten rules to appear to "go out of your way" (however misguided those small ball strategeries might be) to try to score more runs when you're up big. I think the principle still applies though.
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:25 AM (#5659855)
So it's against the unwritten rules to keep trying to score more runs when you're up big, thus "running up the score" and giving the other team even less of a chance to win, and it's also against the unwritten rules to give the other team more of a chance to win by pitching a position player. Got it.


The thinking in both cases is really to get the ####### game over with, and don't take specific actions to prolong it.

The rules really have some logic behind it. Teams don't like stolen bases or bunts when you're up big, because those are conscious, strategic decisions. They don't take offense* at homers or singles, because that's just the byproduct of playing.

* Well, most. You can never underestimate a ballplayer's capacity for umbrage-taking.


Edit: I see this has been covered.
   23. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:27 AM (#5659856)
The thinking in both cases is really to get the ####### game over with, and don't take specific actions to prolong it.
You mean like making a pitching change when you're up 9-2 with two outs in the 8th inning and the bases empty?
   24. PreservedFish Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:27 AM (#5659857)
I think the "don't try too hard with a big lead" rule is a bit silly. I understand it, but I usually think that the complainers sound like butthurt babies. So I'm not usually on the side of the "unwritten rules!" people whenever one of those tiny controversies comes up.

But I think putting a position player in to protect a large lead is on a different level of rudeness.
   25. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:28 AM (#5659858)
You mean like making a pitching change when you're up 9-2 with two outs in the 8th inning and the bases empty?


I'd be in favor of executing managers who do this.
   26. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:30 AM (#5659859)
Not on topic, but I'm working from home today and I have MLB Network on in the background. On MLB Central, they're asking some guy in a huge cowboy hat about the NFL Draft. Are you f***ing kidding me?
   27. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5659865)
That sounds like Tracy Ringolsby, who is probably the world's biggest U. of Wyoming fan, and Wyoming QB Josh Allen is expected to be one of the top picks in the NFL draft, possibly No. 1 overall.

Not that there's ever any good reason for MLB Network to be talking about the NFL draft, but that's probably the reasoning.
   28. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5659867)
Perhaps I’m just an #######, but at the highest level of pro sports I think it is appropriate to be far more concerned with winning than with being polite. At that level, if I believe it’s the best for my team’s long term prospects of winning games to have my fifth outfielder pitch an inning of a 12-3 game and rest my bullpen, I would not hesitate to do so and would not care if it hurts the feelings of the opponent my team trounced today. (And would do the same if it was *my* team that got trounced and I deemed resting the bullpen more beneficial in the medium-long term than chasing a 1% chance of coming back to win this game.)

All things equal, I wholeheartedly believe in sportsmanship and decorum. All things are not equal at the MLB level, however, where one or two outs can make millions of dollars’ worth of difference.

(e: These are merely my own personal feelings, and this perhaps is one of the many reasons I am not a professional manager. In reality, any novice manager would sign his own death warrant by doing anything his own players would perceive as Not Respecting The Game.)
   29. DavidFoss Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:39 AM (#5659868)
But I think putting a position player in to protect a large lead is on a different level of rudeness.

Count me as one of the people who don't see the big deal. A decade or two (or three) ago, the starter would stay in and 'coast' or they'd throw out a 'mop-up' long reliever. These days, the starter doesn't want to get hurt and the bullpen doesn't have extra arms and desperately needs rest for tomorrow. So, the trailing team should just take the nice opportunity to pad their stats and who knows they might just hit their way back into the game.
   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:41 AM (#5659870)
All things are not equal at the MLB level, however, where one or two outs can make millions of dollars’ worth of difference.

Not really though. You can always put your 8th RP in and tell him to coast. The odds of him getting seriously hurt are very, very low.

And, even if he does, he's not worth millions of dollars anyway.
   31. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:43 AM (#5659871)
That sounds like Tracy Ringolsby, who is probably the world's biggest U. of Wyoming fan, and Wyoming QB Josh Allen is expected to be one of the top picks in the NFL draft, possibly No. 1 overall.
Yeah, it was about Josh Allen. Still unacceptable.
   32. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:44 AM (#5659872)
These days, the starter doesn't want to get hurt and the bullpen doesn't have extra arms and desperately needs rest for tomorrow.
Are you seriously saying that today's bullpens don't have extra arms?
   33. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:47 AM (#5659874)
I suspect it's less about not wanting to show up your opponent and more about what BDC says: If your backup SS gives up three or four runs when you're behind by ten runs, it's no big deal. If your backup SS gives up three or four runs when you're ahead by ten runs, now you've got to get a real reliever up anyway. There's just not much of an upside to it.
   34. SoSH U at work Posted: April 25, 2018 at 11:51 AM (#5659881)
If somebody does try it with a really big lead, say after a couple of extra inning games that tax the pen to give the manager some cover, it could very well open the door to other teams doing it.

Teams don't do it in part because teams don't ever do it.
   35. BDC Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:06 PM (#5659899)
Now thinking about this: in a DH game, let's say your second catcher comes in to pitch. Your starting catcher gets hurt (probably trying to snag one of those aimless pitches), but that's OK, his backup is already in the game. The pitcher goes behind the plate and somebody else comes in to pitch.

You lose the DH, and the pitcher who moved to catcher bats where the DH did, right? And the relief pitcher bats where the original catcher did – a kind of double switch. Do I have that correct? Or reversed? I don't guess it's ever happened.
   36. Howie Menckel Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:08 PM (#5659900)
On MLB Central, they're asking some guy in a huge cowboy hat about the NFL Draft. Are you f***ing kidding me?

it was Ringolsby. the last question for him was about Allen, and he did ramble longer than needed. but I didn't see it as a big deal. the draft does begin tomorrow, and it's possible he is the first pick, and Ringolsby is from Wyoming.
   37. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:15 PM (#5659907)
it was Ringolsby. the last question for him was about Allen, and he did ramble longer than needed. but I didn't see it as a big deal. the draft does begin tomorrow, and it's possible he is the first pick, and Ringolsby is from Wyoming.
That's fine for Sportscenter. But I doubt they ask anyone about the MLB draft on the NFL Network.
   38. Hank G. Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:16 PM (#5659909)
Then beat the tar out of the nonpitcher and make them regret insulting you, instead of crying about Unwritten Rules after falling behind by ten runs. This is professional baseball, not Little League.


Societies are allowed to have rules of politeness and decorum.


If you want to have rules of politeness and decorum, then they should be written down. Don’t rely on “unwritten rules”, which are not really rules, but whatever somebody feels offended by. That goal of a major league team is to maximize chances for a championship. They shouldn’t be constrained in that goal by the opposition’s opinion of what is polite and decorous, as long as they are not breaking the written rules of baseball.
   39. bunyon Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:18 PM (#5659911)
We're days away from the suggestion of a run-rule.

So, I'll throw one out:

If a team is ahead by 5 runs after three hours, the game is over.
If a team is ahead by 8 runs after two hours, the game is over.

Somebody call Mannfred and let's just cut to the (stupid) end.
   40. DavidFoss Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:19 PM (#5659914)
Are you seriously saying that today's bullpens don't have extra arms?

Plenty of arms, but they're all used so much that they're still 'short'.

I thought this was the trend in the past few years. Keep the reliever outings super short so that they throw harder. Works great in the playoffs with all the travel days but I don't know how they make it through the regular season. I don't like it either.
   41. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:20 PM (#5659917)
If a team is ahead by 5 runs after three hours, the game is over.
Heh. Team scores 5 in the top of the first, followed by a leadoff intentional walk and 2 hours, 40 minutes of pickoff throws.
   42. SoSH U at work Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:21 PM (#5659922)
If you want to have rules of politeness and decorum, then they should be written down. Don’t rely on “unwritten rules”, which are not really rules, but whatever somebody feels offended by.


There are unwritten rules in all facets of life. Baseball is no different. It's only different in that baseball's are talked about and sometimes "enforced."
   43. dlf Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:24 PM (#5659929)
Regarding the Ringolsby discussion -- are there any top draft picks who are legit baseball prospects, albeit at a lower level than their football expectations? Like folks from John Elway to Deion Sanders to Russell Wilson or going the other direction, Brian Jordan or Jeff Smadjzwqytzglkvx.
   44. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:24 PM (#5659930)
That goal of a major league team is to maximize chances for a championship. They shouldn’t be constrained in that goal by the opposition’s opinion of what is polite and decorous, as long as they are not breaking the written rules of baseball.

I disagree. The guys with the sharp pencils, who push everything to the legal limit ruin most human endeavors.

A sense of ethics, decency, and fair play should overwhelm the desire to gain small temporary advantage by lawyering the rules.
   45. PreservedFish Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:27 PM (#5659934)
If you want to have rules of politeness and decorum, then they should be written down. Don’t rely on “unwritten rules”, which are not really rules, but whatever somebody feels offended by.

Then could you kindly refer me to the written rules for how I should behave on the morning bus?
   46. SoSH U at work Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:33 PM (#5659944)
Then could you kindly refer me to the written rules for how I should behave on the morning bus?


If you don't believe unwritten rules exist, you must never have pissed in a public men's room.
   47. Hank G. Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:34 PM (#5659946)
There are unwritten rules in all facets of life. Baseball is no different. It's only different in that baseball's are talked about and sometimes "enforced."


But there are etiquette books that codify the “unwritten rules” for most situations, making them in fact, written rules.

There are probably unwritten rules among drug dealers that are enforced more than “sometimes”. Those are irrelevant to most of us.

   48. Hank G. Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:37 PM (#5659951)
Then could you kindly refer me to the written rules for how I should behave on the morning bus?


Some of them are written down in the penal code.

I’ve seen others written in the bus.

“Do not talk to the driver while the bus is moving.”
“Stay behind the yellow line.”
“Exit from the rear of the bus.”
   49. PreservedFish Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:39 PM (#5659955)
But there are etiquette books that codify the “unwritten rules” for most situations, making them in fact, written rules.


This is nonsense, etiquette books are not written by regulating authorities. But if you think this is a good argument, here's a book on baseball's unwritten rules, so I guess your objection is now invalid.
   50. PreservedFish Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:41 PM (#5659962)
Some of them are written down in the penal code.

I’ve seen others written in the bus.

“Do not talk to the driver while the bus is moving.”
“Stay behind the yellow line.”
“Exit from the rear of the bus.”


Yes, those are all written rules. The unwritten rules are things like "don't have bad breath," "don't be too loud," "don't keep your backpack on a seat that someone needs," "don't stare at boobs," etc.
   51. bunyon Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:43 PM (#5659968)
"don't stare at boobs,"

Wait, what?
   52. Hank G. Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:51 PM (#5659983)
I disagree. The guys with the sharp pencils, who push everything to the legal limit ruin most human endeavors.

A sense of ethics, decency, and fair play should overwhelm the desire to gain small temporary advantage by lawyering the rules.


That seems to be a failure of the people who write the legal rules. I despise billionaires who get away with not paying taxes, but as Judge Learned Hand said in a court decision:

Any one may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.


One of the unwritten rules seems to be that it’s okay to buy your congressional representative, as long as you do it in a way that it is not legally a bribe. And, Congress being what it is, members will ensure that there are ways to do that.

Despite all that, I don’t see how a manager’s decision to best manage the use of his bullpen qualifies. It is nowhere near the legal limit, and should be of concern to no one except the manager and his superiors.
   53. Hank G. Posted: April 25, 2018 at 12:53 PM (#5659988)
Yes, those are all written rules. The unwritten rules are things like "don't have bad breath," "don't be too loud," "don't keep your backpack on a seat that someone needs," "don't stare at boobs," etc.


Those are not specific to the bus, and can be found in any etiquette book. Well, maybe not the one about the boobs.
   54. PreservedFish Posted: April 25, 2018 at 01:07 PM (#5659995)
I'm stunned that you think the etiquette book thing is a good argument here.
   55. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 25, 2018 at 01:10 PM (#5659999)
That seems to be a failure of the people who write the legal rules.

Legal rules can not cover any and every eventuality. If they try, they become suffocating.

Employer treatment of employees is a great example. The decline of the unwritten rules of decency have made things much worse, both for employees and corporations, but there is no obvious legislative fix that wouldn't stifle economic activity. "Treat your employees fairly and decently" and "work hard and be loyal to your employer" are very hard to reduce to specific laws.

   56. Hank G. Posted: April 25, 2018 at 01:21 PM (#5660013)
This is nonsense, etiquette books are not written by regulating authorities. But if you think this is a good argument, here's a book on baseball's unwritten rules, so I guess your objection is now invalid.


No, they are not written by regulating authorities, but they are a written guide to how to get along in polite society, and there is wide agreement (at least among the people who write such books) about the proper rules of decorum. How is that nonsense? My point is that there are places where you can read and learn what is considered courteous behavior.

There is also the Golden Rule, which is written in a book that a substantial portion of the country considers to have a higher authority than any written law.

Is there wide agreement that the rules written in this book are, in fact, the unwritten rules? If they are, then they are no longer unwritten, and I retract my objection.

A lot of what gets described as an unwritten rule in baseball seems to be whatever offends certain people, often, but not always, older white players who are described by reporters as “gritty”:


Don’t stare at your long home run.
Don’t flip your bat, unless you are Mickey Mantle and just struck out.
Don’t try to break up a no-hitter by bunting, unless you are tied or behind by two runs or fewer.
If you have a big lead, don’t play too hard, but don’t embarrass us by making it obvious that you are not playing too hard.
Don’t look at the opposing players after hitting a home run, especially the pitcher.
Don’t smile or celebrate after hitting a home run. This rule is apparently relaxed if it is a walkoff home run.
It’s okay to have your pitcher throw at opposing batters, if in your opinion, someone on the other team hurt your feelings.


Screw them.
   57. Omineca Greg Posted: April 25, 2018 at 01:24 PM (#5660015)
Miss Manners always has awesome advice...

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have two issues -- my man friend staring at other women, when with me, and should he walk up stairs behind me? If so, is he checking out the rear? Help.

GENTLE READER: Help with what? Deflecting the gentleman's interest? Madam, please!

A gentleman should indeed, go up the stairs after you, and down stairs in front of you. The purpose is to give you something comfy to fall on, should you mis-step. And you surely will if you keep trying to check the height of his gaze.

However, when your friend is staring at other ladies, Miss Manners suggests a barrage of questions, none of which is "What are you staring at?" Or "Why are you checking out other women?"

Rather, these should be "Who's that? Do you know her? You must. No, wait a minute, do I know her? Help me -- have we met her?" With any day dreams thus blasted out of his head, he will come to consider that his habit is more trouble than it is worth.
   58. Cris E Posted: April 25, 2018 at 01:27 PM (#5660022)
Never sit right next to another person if an open seat is available.
Don't take up the handicapped seats.
Remove your crap from the seat next to you if people are standing.
Offer your seat to elders, handicapped, people on crutches, mothers with infants, etc.

   59. SandyRiver Posted: April 25, 2018 at 01:54 PM (#5660051)
Rocky Colavito, a cannon-armed (if not always accurate) outfielder pitched twice in MLB, but neither time in blowouts. With the Indians in 1958 he was called in from RF to relieve Hoyt Wilhelm with runners on 2nd/3rd and nobody out, top of 7th with score 2-1 DET. First batter hits a fly that scores the eventual winning run, and though Colavito walks 3, nobody else scores. He tripled in a run in the bottom of that inning, also had been part of a 9-3 DP, and struck out to end the game. An eventful day. Ten years later with NYY in his final, and not-so-good year, he came from the bullpen in the top of the 4th, runners on 1st/2nd with 1 out and DET (again) leading 5-0. Rocky allowed no one to score in his 2.2 IP though he walked 2 more and allowed the only hit of his MLB pitching "career." The Yanks hit 3 hr in the 6th, followed by Colavito walking and scoring the go-ahead run, and getting the win, 6-5. His FB didn't miss all that many bats (2K in 5.2 IP) but induced a lot of popups.
   60. Hank G. Posted: April 25, 2018 at 01:55 PM (#5660056)
Employer treatment of employees is a great example. The decline of the unwritten rules of decency have made things much worse, both for employees and corporations, but there is no obvious legislative fix that wouldn't stifle economic activity.


I disagree. Corporations have never paid attention to unwritten rules of decency. They have treated employees decently only when forced to by law or economic necessity (as always, there are exceptions). The pursuit of more profit is the driving force behind most corporations.

Companies were quite happy to employ children and to force employees to work 60 hours per week until forced by labor unions and the law to change. They started offering health insurance as a benefit during World War II as an incentive to recruit employees only because the labor market was tight and wages were frozen.

The decline in the power of labor unions has been to the corporation’s benefit, since in many companies, non-union employees got the same benefits negotiated by the union. And yes, I know that powerful unions can breed corruption, because corruption follows money.

Once employees realized that companies were not very interested in their welfare, they no longer had loyalty to a company if they could do better elsewhere. Why should they?

I am not sure how this has made things worse for corporations. In general, they seem to be doing very well. They currently have a Congress and President who loves them more than they love people. Profits are up and pension obligations are down. Most have been gradually shifting more of the cost of health insurance to their employees. Try finding a company that has retained a defined pension plan with guaranteed payouts.

There is probably a long term cost to corporations from not being able to retain quality employees, but CEOs are so focused on short term profits and the company’s stock price that they don’t see it, or don’t care. Most of them know that they are not going to be around long term, so it’s not a consideration.
   61. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:05 PM (#5660071)
I disagree. Corporations have never paid attention to unwritten rules of decency. They have treated employees decently only when forced to by law or economic necessity (as always, there are exceptions). The pursuit of more profit is the driving force behind most corporations.

For much of the postwar period, corporation were content to make enough profit. They didn't really care about maximizing profit because 1) executives weren't paid based on short term profits, and 2) many companies were closely held and the owners were already filthy rich.

When CEOs were basically high salaried employees, whose pension was worth way more than their bonus, they didn't try and maximize short-term stock performance.

Basically, fragmented ownership, execs comped in equity, and a highly liquid equity market is terrible for society.
   62. Hank G. Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:07 PM (#5660074)
Never sit right next to another person if an open seat is available.


That one also seems to apply to the urinals in men’s restrooms.

Don't take up the handicapped seats.


This one is the law.


Remove your crap from the seat next to you if people are standing.
Offer your seat to elders, handicapped, people on crutches, mothers with infants, etc.


I haven’t ridden a bus in a long time, but the DC Metrorail has seats that are designated as being prioritized for handicapped and seniors. I doubt anyone would challenge someone on crutches. Mothers with infants are still dependent on the kindness of strangers, I guess.

I qualify for the senior designation, but I would still not sit in an empty seat as long as there were women standing.
   63. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:13 PM (#5660082)
I'm aping this from Dave Barry somewhat, but he's absolutely right about. Here is your bulletproof guide to urinal usage in public men's rooms.

Suppose there are five urinals in a restroom into which five men walk, one soon after another, represented as A through E:

A B C D E

When a guy walks into an empty restroom, there is about a 50/50 chance he will choose A or E. He will never choose anything else. So for the purpose of this guide, let us suppose he chose A.

Second guy walks in. 100.00% of the time, he will take urinal E.

Third guy, same thing: 100.00% of the time he will take urinal C.

When the fourth guy walks in, there is about a 30% chance he will choose B, a 30% chance he will choose D, and a 40% chance he will choose to either piss in a toilet stall or continue holding his bladder.

(The rules go out the window, of course, at bars, stadiums, and anywhere else where there are crowds and freely flowing liquor. :))
   64. Random Transaction Generator Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:17 PM (#5660089)
The unwritten rules are things like "don't have bad breath," "don't be too loud," "don't keep your backpack on a seat that someone needs," "don't stare at boobs," etc.


This one is actually a written rule on Toronto subways and buses.

Well, written in the sense that it's a pictogram showing that the practice is not allowed/frowned upon.
   65. Omineca Greg Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:18 PM (#5660092)
My son almost got into a fist fight on the bus.

He was sitting on a crowded bus when two people got on. One was a guy about his age (early 20s) and the other was an elderly dude, late 60s maybe, carrying several bags of groceries. Seeing that the older gentleman would need the seat, my son got up, but unfortunately for all, his erstwhile seat was yoinked by the quicker, younger, and dare I say, sleazier, newcomer.

"What are you doing? That seat is for HIM!", my son said, gesturing to the older man, who was moving so slowly that he was still in the stepwell of the bus.

"I don't see his name on it..."

My son snaps. He loses it. He's physically huge, but not a violent person. He gets right in the guy's face and starts dressing him down, using professional, if pointed language. His nose is only inches away form the interloper's.

"This is really none of your business." said the jerk.

My son continued to rant, further losing control of his emotions. Now he's screaming. "This is my business. This is everybody's business. If you think I'm going away, you're fooling yourself." He's now hovering over this squirrelly little dude.

The older man with the groceries is so slow, that he's only now made it the top of the stairs, and put down his groceries to show his farecard. Completely oblivious that there's a turf war going on.

"Who died and made you boss of the bus?" asked the trespasser. "If the bus driver says something, maybe, but he doesn't seem much interested in your little fit."

That's when the bus driver gets out of his seat. As he approaches the sitter, my son takes one step aside. Coincidentally, the bus driver is also huge, so now there is a combined height of 13 feet and combined weight of 600 pounds boxing this guy in.

The bus driver, in the same professional but pointed tone my son had used earlier, spat out, sotto voce, "You have five seconds to get up, or you'll be leaving the bus. Believe me, this is my business. And there's no 'maybe'..."

"OK, OK, Jesus!". The guy gets up and scuttles towards the back of the bus just in time for his vacated seat to be taken by the older man, who was still totally unaware the battle that had been fought on his behalf. He sat down, put down his groceries, and smiled broadly, relieved to be off of his feet.

The bus begins to roll down the road, but just seconds into the journey to the next stop, an older teenage girl, while looking at the seat thief, who is now standing up, looking slightly miffed, blurts out, "You're a ####### #######!". And then everybody on the bus breaks out in wild applause. Three younger teenage boys, happy to be allowed to swear with not only acceptance, but actual social embrace start repeating \"#######...#######...#######\", soccer chant style, killing themselves laughing.

The victim of all this aggression, yells up to the driver, "Driver, these passengers are harassing me."

The driver looks to the road ahead, both hands on the wheel. A sly upturn in his lips would be visible on his face, if one were looking for it."

\"#######...#######...#######\" the boys continued.

I guess it got to be too much for the guy, because at the very next stop, he exited the bus, to take his chances with a new group of people who didn't feel a moral obligation to chant of his shortcomings on a continual basis. As he stepped onto the rear steps, he pointed at my son, who was still in the throes of the adrenaline rush of coming so close to being in a physical altercation, and yelled, "You're a dead man. A dead man!", which seemed kind of a pointless and empty threat, as it was made just as his feet were touching the pavement with the doors closing on his proclamation.

As the bus pulled away, the driver started to laugh. "Never a dull moment. And you guys back there, quit with the chanting. That is so inappropriate."

Young people. They're going to save the world.
   66. Hank G. Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:20 PM (#5660100)
Basically, fragmented ownership, execs comped in equity, and a highly liquid equity market is terrible for society.


I am not sure how the highly liquid equity market is terrible for society. That has been around much longer than the explosion in executive compensation.

I think the problem is that company have started acting like there are superstar CEOs and have gone wild trying to find one. I think the facts show that superstar CEOs are as rare as superstar baseball players, and not nearly as easy to identify.

CEOs often sit on the board of directors of other companies and help raise the salaries of other CEOs so that the company can stay “competitive”. Very few CEOs actually earn their salaries. As as you pointed out, the incentives are such that they concentrate on the short term, even if if it is detrimental to the company long term. For most of them, it is a win-win situation. They can make risky moves that will pay off handsomely if they work. If they hurt the company, they get fired, but are rewarded for their incompetence by a huge severance package.
   67. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:25 PM (#5660106)
I am not sure how the highly liquid equity market is terrible for society. That has been around much longer than the explosion in executive compensation.

Not really. You used to have high commissions, and large bid ask spreads. Their was no equivalent of the hedge fund in the 1950's.

CEOs often sit on the board of directors of other companies and help raise the salaries of other CEOs so that the company can stay “competitive”. Very few CEOs actually earn their salaries. As as you pointed out, the incentives are such that they concentrate on the short term, even if if it is detrimental to the company long term. For most of them, it is a win-win situation. They can make risky moves that will pay off handsomely if they work. If they hurt the company, they get fired, but are rewarded for their incompetence by a huge severance package.

This is because of diversified, mutual fund ownership. Mutual funds don't vote their shares actively, and don't take board seats. That has allowed CEOs to "capture" most boards.

If you forced Fidelity and Vanguard to appoint directors and take a fiduciary responsibility for the companies they own, CEO comp would plummet.
   68. Hank G. Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:29 PM (#5660115)
My son almost got into a fist fight on the bus.

He was sitting on a crowded bus when two people got on. One was a guy about his age (early 20s) and the other was an elderly dude, late 60s maybe, carrying several bags of groceries. Seeing that the older gentleman would need the seat, my son got up, but unfortunately for all, his erstwhile seat was yoinked by the quicker, younger, and dare I say, sleazier, newcomer.


Good story. Your son is a good man, but I think he made a mistake in the very beginning. He should have remained in the seat until the elderly man was actually on the bus, and then offered him the seat. Perhaps he was trying to avoid embarrassing the man, but vacating the seat early did not turn out well.

The other young man was an a$$hole, for sure.
   69. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:30 PM (#5660119)
I'm aping this from Dave Barry somewhat, but he's absolutely right about. Here is your bulletproof guide to urinal usage in public men's rooms.
You'd think the rules for stall usage in the men's room would be even more obvious than for urinal usage, but...this has happened multiple times in the last month or so: I was in a stall at work, doing what one does in a stall. Of course I was occupying the one at the end of a row of 5. All the other ones were empty. And then some dude comes in and goes right into the stall next to mine. WTF?
   70. PreservedFish Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:35 PM (#5660132)
#65, thanks for the raging justice boner.
   71. Nasty Nate Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:42 PM (#5660146)
Suppose there are five urinals in a restroom into which five men walk, one soon after another, represented as A through E:

A B C D E

When a guy walks into an empty restroom, there is about a 50/50 chance he will choose A or E. He will never choose anything else.
Unless I think more than one other person will be coming into the bathroom while I'm there, I'm taking B or D.
   72. McCoy Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:43 PM (#5660149)
I was in a stall at work, doing what one does in a stall. Of course I was occupying the one at the end of a row of 5. All the other ones were empty. And then some dude comes in and goes right into the stall next to mine. WTF?


No the serious WTF are the people who decide to play a game, make a phone call, or watch a show without headphones in the stalls. What the hell, dude? But the absolute worst are the ones that decide to puke in the stall while you're going to the bathroom. You have no idea if it was just a bad night or if it was norovirus. Come on, man.
   73. McCoy Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:43 PM (#5660151)
Unless I think more than one other person will be coming into the bathroom while I'm there, I'm taking B or D.

Nazi
   74. SoSH U at work Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:49 PM (#5660159)
No the serious WTF are the people who decide to play a game, make a phone call, or watch a show without headphones in the stalls.


Talking to someone else on the phone while in the stall is the absolute worst. Since you can't see them, you initially think they're talking to you - which under no circumstances they should be doing.
   75. dlf Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:49 PM (#5660161)
I'm about 18 months into having started a company with a friend of mine. In our early planning, one of the goals was to be sufficiently successful that we could justify offices that had private crappers for the founders.
   76. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:54 PM (#5660170)
Talking to someone else on the phone while in the stall is the absolute worst.

When I hear someone doing that, I make sure to flush super frequently, so the person on the other end knows they're getting a call from the crapper.
   77. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 25, 2018 at 02:57 PM (#5660174)
When I hear someone doing that, I make sure to flush super frequently, so the person on the other end knows they're getting a call from the crapper.


Oh this a thousand times. I flush nonstop. Unless you are dialing 911 there is no call that can't wait until you are done in the restroom.
   78. Omineca Greg Posted: April 25, 2018 at 03:11 PM (#5660190)
... think he made a mistake in the very beginning. He should have remained in the seat until the elderly man was actually on the bus, and then offered him the seat

Yep.

You live you learn
You love you learn
You give up your seat on the bus for an old person too early and some ####### takes it and you almost start a riot...

YOU LEARN!
   79. Blastin Posted: April 25, 2018 at 03:39 PM (#5660242)
The unwritten rules are things like "don't have bad breath," "don't be too loud," "don't keep your backpack on a seat that someone needs," "don't stare at boobs," etc.


Oh man, in 2016 I frequently rode the bus in NYC, just for 10 minutes a day, and I would add, to "don't be too loud," DON'T READ YOUR BIBLE AT FULL VOLUME WHILE YOUR SON TRIES TO IGNORE YOU AND ALSO MAKE EVERYONE KIND OF SAD THAT YOU ARE PROBABLY ABUSING THIS CHILD YOU WON'T LET NOT LOOK AT YOU.

   80. Omineca Greg Posted: April 25, 2018 at 03:47 PM (#5660255)
When I hear someone doing that, I make sure to flush super frequently, so the person on the other end knows they're getting a call from the crapper.

That's so passive aggressive...

I LOVE IT!
   81. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 25, 2018 at 03:48 PM (#5660256)

Then could you kindly refer me to the written rules for how I should behave on the morning bus?
Don't ride the bus.
   82. manchestermets Posted: April 26, 2018 at 08:34 AM (#5660796)
Their was no equivalent of the hedge fund in the 1950's.


There were actual hedge funds. That's kind of an equivalent.
   83. manchestermets Posted: May 04, 2018 at 06:47 AM (#5666044)
The Ichiro! retirement thread contained a link to this game in which he pitched the 9th, when the Marlins were losing 6-2. A four run deficit in the 9th seems like a narrow margin on which to throw the game, doesn't it? Yes, it's unlikey to say the least that they were coming back, but it's not unheard of. Still, it being the Marlins I suppose we should be grateful that they waited until the 9th inning before giving up...
   84. SoSH U at work Posted: May 04, 2018 at 08:56 AM (#5666070)
The Ichiro! retirement thread contained a link to this game in which he pitched the 9th, when the Marlins were losing 6-2. A four run deficit in the 9th seems like a narrow margin on which to throw the game, doesn't it


It was the last game of the season between two terrible teams. I imagine it was more along the lines of letting Ichiro throw an inning rather than saving the bullpen for Spring Training.
   85. Tom T Posted: May 04, 2018 at 10:40 AM (#5666159)
I think the problem is that company have started acting like there are superstar CEOs and have gone wild trying to find one. I think the facts show that superstar CEOs are as rare as superstar baseball players, and not nearly as easy to identify.

CEOs often sit on the board of directors of other companies and help raise the salaries of other CEOs so that the company can stay “competitive”. Very few CEOs actually earn their salaries. As as you pointed out, the incentives are such that they concentrate on the short term, even if if it is detrimental to the company long term. For most of them, it is a win-win situation. They can make risky moves that will pay off handsomely if they work. If they hurt the company, they get fired, but are rewarded for their incompetence by a huge severance package.


Heh, as Universities have moved toward corporate operating models, we are seeing the same thing with regard to Presidents/Chancellors. Our trustees have clearly been stuck in a "cult of personality" mode for almost 20 years, now...hyper-focused on retention bonuses, etc., for doing superficially-positive/fundamentally-stupid things like holding tuition flat for 7 years (while cranking up enrollment without increasing resources or personnel). Of course, the most recent crush is largely brought on by our President having appointed almost the entire Board at the time he was named President...no conflict-of-interest there....



Oh...and if someone is already in A, I may opt for C, just because I'm too damn lazy to walk all they way down to the other end of the line. Maybe that makes me a Mussolini?

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