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Friday, August 30, 2019

Why MLB’s ‘courtesy trots’ matter

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Six-thousand-and-some home runs will be hit this season at about 400 feet apiece, which is about 455 miles of home runs, which sounds like a lot and is a fine story about where a game turned gluttonous finds itself.

Some will benefit. Many will not. Pitchers, for one, will not. This isn’t really about any of that.

What no one ever talks about — part unwritten rule, part brotherly gesture — is the empty miles logged by outfielders on courtesy trots.

More baseballs clear more fences by a greater margin than ever before, meaning more no-doubters than ever before and, league wide, outfielders will make their half-hearted, half-earnest jogs to the place at the fence the ball will be last seen, because a long time ago they were told it was the polite thing to do.

Ever get the feeling that most of the unwritten rules exist more as an excuse to punish those who violate them than for any legitimate purpose?

 

QLE Posted: August 30, 2019 at 04:56 AM | 53 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: courtesy trots, outfield, unwritten rules

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   1. catomi01 Posted: August 30, 2019 at 10:56 AM (#5875564)
Ever get the feeling that most of the unwritten rules exist more as an excuse to punish those who violate them than for any legitimate purpose?


Unwritten rules exist because every team ever has had a Madison Bumgarner or Brian McCann who have decided to be the fun police.
   2. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: August 30, 2019 at 11:18 AM (#5875577)
IIRC, Barry Bonds and Danny Darwin got into it once because Bonds didn't move on a long fly hit in his direction - but the ball came up short of a HR and hit the wall. Darwin didn't like that.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 30, 2019 at 11:21 AM (#5875579)
IIRC, Barry Bonds and Danny Darwin got into it once because Bonds didn't move on a long fly hit in his direction - but the ball came up short of a HR and hit the wall. Darwin didn't like that.

And that's why OF do it. It's close enough to zero extra effort, that you do it because the 1 in 100 times you're wrong is going to be really freaking embarrassing, as well as hurting your team.

It's the exact inverse of the Acuna conversation we had a week ago. Staring at a HR ball rather than trotting exposes you in the same way.

   4. Brian Posted: August 30, 2019 at 11:50 AM (#5875598)
I'm ok if the OF doesn't move an inch, doesn't even turn to watch it, on a no-doubt blast. Pitchers don't like it, they prefer the "Courtesy trot" thing but #### them. If they don't like it then don't give up bombs.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 30, 2019 at 11:52 AM (#5875599)
I'm ok if the OF doesn't move an inch, doesn't even turn to watch it, on a no-doubt blast. Pitchers don't like it, they prefer the "Courtesy trot" thing but #### them. If they don't like it then don't give up bombs.

But why antagonize your teammates for no apparent reason? A half-assed trot of 20-30 feet takes no effort.
   6. Itchy Row Posted: August 30, 2019 at 11:52 AM (#5875600)
I didn't know it was a courtesy thing. Infielders and outfielders do the same thing on foul popups that go out of play.
   7. jmurph Posted: August 30, 2019 at 11:55 AM (#5875601)
I didn't know it was a courtesy thing. Infielders and outfielders do the same thing on foul popups that go out of play.

Presumably because it's not, really, and this is just a totally made up thing.
   8. Brian Posted: August 30, 2019 at 12:02 PM (#5875606)
Infielders and outfielders do the same thing on foul popups that go out of play


They do it on balls they originally think they have a shot at catching. They don't jog over on clearly foul balls. I just don't see why my jogging to the 370 foot marker on the fence makes a pitcher less upset about yielding a 480 foot HR. Who am I kidding? The ball is 100+ feet over the wall.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: August 30, 2019 at 12:03 PM (#5875607)
Presumably because it's not, really, and this is just a totally made up thing.


That's my feeling. I think guys go after pop-ups and long fly balls quite naturally, and just continue on (or stop) as suits them, and no one really cares one way or another. And the guys who scale the fence on long bombs are likely just amusing themselves.

Obviously, in a situation like the Bonds-Darwin play, of course the pitcher (and everyone else) is going to be pissed. But I can't imagine there's really any kind of thought on a no-doubter, unless the fielder does something specifically to call attention to the pitcher's mistake.

Oh, and unwritten rules exist all over the place. They're often useful, at least when widely understood. Baseball's problem is a) they're not always widely understood, and b) people take steps to enforce them beyond what is reasonable.
   10. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: August 30, 2019 at 12:07 PM (#5875612)
In the Bonds case, did he get charged with an error?
   11. flournoy Posted: August 30, 2019 at 12:23 PM (#5875618)
In the Bonds case, did he get charged with an error?


No, but it seems the play wasn't quite as described above.

Bonds charged the ball, but it kicked off his glove on one hop. Bonds made no effort to retrieve the ball, although he didn't have to because it was deflected toward center fielder Alex Diaz. There was no error on the play, but Bonds' inability to stop the hard shot enabled Jason Kendall to take third. Kendall then scored a fourth run charged to Darwin on Jermaine Allensworth's single off Julian Tavarez.
   12. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: August 30, 2019 at 12:32 PM (#5875625)
Unwritten rules exist for bullies to justify their sh!tty behaviour. (It's your own fault that you're a kind, logical human and not one of the friggin' psychopaths who actually run the world.)
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 30, 2019 at 12:57 PM (#5875633)
Unwritten rules exist for bullies to justify their sh!tty behaviour. (It's your own fault that you're a kind, logical human and not one of the friggin' psychopaths who actually run the world.)

The fact that bullies use them has nothing to do with their reason for existence. Unwritten rules, also known as social norms, exist to help people interact smoothly and avoid conflict. Normally they are very useful and successful.
   14. PreservedFish Posted: August 30, 2019 at 01:11 PM (#5875639)
Yeah, most unwritten rules are things like "don't spit near someone's feet."
   15. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 30, 2019 at 01:24 PM (#5875644)
I'm ok if the OF doesn't move an inch, doesn't even turn to watch it, on a no-doubt blast.

Guys who don't move an inch are terrible fielders. Even when the ball is destroyed coming off the bat, your instinct is to move in the direction of the ball. You can't know right away that it is gone.
   16. JL72 Posted: August 30, 2019 at 01:35 PM (#5875649)
They do it on balls they originally think they have a shot at catching.


I tend to think that many do it automatically, then slow to a trot once they realize they can't get to it. The initial jump is their instincts kicking in.
   17. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: August 30, 2019 at 01:44 PM (#5875654)
No, but it seems the play wasn't quite as described above.

Conflation of two different plays. In '95, Bonds did watch a Kelly Stinnett liner off the wall, and the play ended with him throwing out David Segui at third.
   18. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: August 30, 2019 at 03:51 PM (#5875713)
Unwritten rules, also known as social norms, exist to help people interact smoothly and avoid conflict. Normally they are very useful and successful.

We're not talking about "social norms" here, we're talking about BS rules that those in power put in place to rule over the rest of us. They know they can't actually codify this crap, so they invent a bunch of "unwritten rules" that they proceed to nail people for, just because they can. "Hey, we don't like you! You just broke a bunch of unwritten rules, plebe!"
   19. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: August 30, 2019 at 04:02 PM (#5875716)
For me the issue is that a player’s first move should be to pursue the ball. It’s like running out of the box. There is nothing to be gained from standing at home plate before you run. Your reaction should be to move, even if after one or two steps you say “oh #### it” that’s fine. Xander Bogaerts is my favorite player on the Sox but he drives me nuts looking for the baseball before he runs. I don’t think a Major League outfielder is going to be worn out trotting 20 feet once or twice a game unnecessarily.
   20. PreservedFish Posted: August 30, 2019 at 04:28 PM (#5875724)
We're not talking about "social norms" here, we're talking about BS rules that those in power put in place to rule over the rest of us. They know they can't actually codify this crap, so they invent a bunch of "unwritten rules" that they proceed to nail people for, just because they can. "Hey, we don't like you! You just broke a bunch of unwritten rules, plebe!"

Bad day?
   21. Nasty Nate Posted: August 30, 2019 at 04:30 PM (#5875725)
Bad day?
He got busted spitting near somebody's feet.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 30, 2019 at 04:44 PM (#5875732)
We're not talking about "social norms" here, we're talking about BS rules that those in power put in place to rule over the rest of us. They know they can't actually codify this crap, so they invent a bunch of "unwritten rules" that they proceed to nail people for, just because they can. "Hey, we don't like you! You just broke a bunch of unwritten rules, plebe!"

This has literally never happened to me in my adult life, so I don't know what you're talking about.

Bad day?

Seems so.
   23. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 30, 2019 at 04:56 PM (#5875741)
I'm ok if the OF doesn't move an inch, doesn't even turn to watch it, on a no-doubt blast.
Yes, but should they go get it out of the ocean?
   24. Dog on the sidewalk has an ugly bracelet Posted: August 30, 2019 at 05:06 PM (#5875747)
Conflation of two different plays. In '95, Bonds did watch a Kelly Stinnett liner off the wall, and the play ended with him throwing out David Segui at third.

I was at that game! I was never going to able to remember the date or the Mets players involved, so thank you.
   25. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: August 30, 2019 at 05:42 PM (#5875763)
You can't know right away that it is gone.

Yes you can.
   26. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: August 30, 2019 at 08:39 PM (#5875788)
Yuli Gurriel just reached on an error. He hit a little liner toward Guerrero and while he wasn’t flying out of the box he jogged down the line so Vlad dropped it he was able to cruise into first. Had he just stood and watched annoyed with himself he would have still been out.
   27. cardsfanboy Posted: August 30, 2019 at 08:59 PM (#5875791)
We're not talking about "social norms" here, we're talking about BS rules that those in power put in place to rule over the rest of us. They know they can't actually codify this crap, so they invent a bunch of "unwritten rules" that they proceed to nail people for, just because they can. "Hey, we don't like you! You just broke a bunch of unwritten rules, plebe!"


The people in power don't create unwritten rules in the baseball universe, it's the people on the same level that create and expect the rules to be followed..any time you hear about someone getting upset about an unwritten rule not being followed, it's very rarely if ever the GM of the other team, it's the manager or more likely the opposing player...


and yes unwritten rules do have a place... it's weird to think that someone who has actually lived a life dealing with real people in the world thinks that isn't a thing.... whether or not specific unwritten rules have a place is a different argument.
   28. The Honorable Ardo Posted: August 30, 2019 at 09:22 PM (#5875799)
This reminds me of a 1906 incident (uncovered by David Vincent) between Red Sox outfielders Hobe Ferris and Jack Hayden. With no one on base, New York's Frank LaPorte hit a long clout that - in the spacious ballparks of those days - would've been at least a triple.

Ferris, in right field, didn't run after the ball as it sailed well over his head. For his part, center fielder Hayden leisurely jogged towards the ball as the batter circled the bases.

I'll let Vincent tell the rest: "After the inning, Hayden said something to Ferris, who replied and then punched Hayden a few times on the head. They were separated by teammates and police. Hayden was pushed down on the bench and Ferris kicked Hayden in the mouth. The police filed a charge of disorderly conduct which was later dismissed."
   29. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: August 30, 2019 at 09:27 PM (#5875803)
Is there a bigger unwritten rule in modern society than “business casual?” I’ve worked at a variety of companies that had “business casual” dress codes . Some of them you could show up in a t-shirt and jeans, others it was basically dress shirt and pants. Nothing was ever really said but it was clear from the company culture what was OK and what wasn’t.

It’s always driven me nuts. I’m a guy who prefers clarity. If I need to wear a suit that’s fine but just tell me what is and is not OK.
   30. Zach Posted: August 30, 2019 at 11:22 PM (#5875835)
But why antagonize your teammates for no apparent reason? A half-assed trot of 20-30 feet takes no effort.

As with so many Bonds being a jerk stories, I suspect it was to prove that he could.
   31. Brian Posted: September 02, 2019 at 11:10 AM (#5876268)
You can't know right away that it is gone.

Oh, yes you can ...
   32. Howie Menckel Posted: September 02, 2019 at 11:18 AM (#5876270)
Mets P Steven Matz reached first on an error in his last start because he hustled out of the box on a grounder, just in case.

Just-reactivated OF Brandon Nimmo sprinted to first base on a walk last night because - well, he's from Wyoming and his high school didn't even have a baseball team and, well, it's a great life. MLB's happiest/goofiest player, and it's good to have him back.
   33. manchestermets Posted: September 02, 2019 at 05:53 PM (#5876306)
This has literally never happened to me in my adult life, so I don't know what you're talking about.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but you aren't a major league baseball player are you? This is the context of unwritten rules in this discussion (making #12 entirely correct). We aren't talking about not cutting in line in front of an 80-year-old woman in the grocery store.
   34. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 02, 2019 at 07:32 PM (#5876315)
We aren't talking about not cutting in line in front of an 80-year-old woman in the grocery store.


Well you shouldn't cut in front of anyone in any line, anywhere really. That's just courteous.

I just assumed, as mentioned above, most players just naturally take a quick step or 3 towards the ball right off the bat, but once they know it's gone then slow down with another few steps.

Is it really a thing if they don't make an effort to advance towards the ball? There are times when the ball is hit right over the fielder and they just doesn't need to move, he knows that sucker is going about 100 feet behind him.
   35. Adam Starblind Posted: September 02, 2019 at 08:21 PM (#5876321)

and yes unwritten rules do have a place... it's weird to think that someone who has actually lived a life dealing with real people in the world thinks that isn't a thing.... whether or not specific unwritten rules have a place is a different argument.


And yet I guarantee you the same people complaining are the ones who think you need to ask before reclining your seat on an airplane.
   36. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 02, 2019 at 10:18 PM (#5876354)
Is it really a thing if they don't make an effort to advance towards the ball? There are times when the ball is hit right over the fielder and they just doesn't need to move, he knows that sucker is going about 100 feet behind him.


This is what I was getting at in post #19. I just think that a player should be reacting in such a way that they take at least a step or two.
   37. Brian Posted: September 03, 2019 at 08:59 PM (#5876583)
Sano just crushed a bomb to center field at Fenway, 452 feet. Just a blast. JBJ turned and took a step walking, more like he shuffled his feet to get a better look at the majesty of this thing.
   38. A triple short of the cycle Posted: September 03, 2019 at 09:17 PM (#5876590)
I concur with Snapper in post #3.

I played co-ed softball in San Francisco for many years. One of the things I loved about it was that a lot of people weren't very good, and you would be frequently rewarded for hustling on the basepaths.
   39. cardsfanboy Posted: September 03, 2019 at 09:22 PM (#5876591)
wrong thread
   40. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 03, 2019 at 10:02 PM (#5876604)
37 at least he moved though. JBJ gets great jumps and I think that’s an example, he just automatically starts moving on contact.

And are we mentioning Paul DeJong’s hit?
   41. Brian Posted: September 04, 2019 at 02:16 PM (#5876763)
Did you see it? He didn't get a great jump. As I said he took a walking step while turning around to get a good view of a pretty impressive HR. No cat-like pouncing immediately, more like a guy turning to check out a pretty girl going by.
   42. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 04, 2019 at 02:58 PM (#5876770)
I did,I was there. My point is just the fact that he's immediately making a move is a sign of a guy who is going to get a good jump. His first reaction is to turn and pursue the ball even though he knew it was going to land on Landsdowne Street.
   43. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 04, 2019 at 03:24 PM (#5876782)
I played co-ed softball in San Francisco for many years. One of the things I loved about it was that a lot of people weren't very good, and you would be frequently rewarded for hustling on the basepaths.
Yeah, running maniacally on the basepaths to exploit the weaknesses of unskilled players (often women?) is totally fulfilling the spirit of recreational co-ed softball. Attaboy!
   44. bobm Posted: September 04, 2019 at 09:11 PM (#5876858)
outfielders on courtesy trots


I know the fans are friendly, but enough about MLB's Mexico Series...

J/k

   45. Howie Menckel Posted: September 04, 2019 at 11:08 PM (#5876889)
I played co-ed softball in San Francisco for many years. One of the things I loved about it was that a lot of people weren't very good, and you would be frequently rewarded for hustling on the basepaths.

I take this as parody in the "A Modest Proposal" vein.
   46. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: September 05, 2019 at 10:29 AM (#5876919)
If they don't like it then don't give up bombs.


The ball is juiced this year.

they invent a bunch of "unwritten rules" that they proceed to nail people for, just because they can.


Unionize. That #### doesn't fly in a union shop.

I’m a guy who prefers clarity. If I need to wear a suit that’s fine but just tell me what is and is not OK.


You're a smart guy, you will figure it out on the first casual day of your employment.
   47. TJ Posted: September 05, 2019 at 11:17 AM (#5876930)
I actually had a coach address this in the spring with me and my teammates once. His quote was, "If you want to watch a ball go over the fence because you think it's gone, then OK. But you had better be right or you will regret it during our next practice...".
   48. Brian Posted: September 05, 2019 at 11:19 AM (#5876932)
Jose, you were there? Well done. It looked like a great night to be at the game; nice weather, close game ... good for you.
   49. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 05, 2019 at 12:22 PM (#5876943)

It’s always driven me nuts. I’m a guy who prefers clarity. If I need to wear a suit that’s fine but just tell me what is and is not OK.

It's pretty easy to look around you and figure out what's acceptable and what's not (at least for guys -- for women it can be a bit more complicated). Or if you're confused, just ask people. Maybe you'll be overdressed on the first day or so, but so what?

My only frustration was during my first office job, a summer internship when I was in college. I was working for an IT consulting firm, on-site at a bank's office, and we had to adhere to the dress code of the bank, which was business formal. I bought a couple of suits to last me through the summer and then a few days into my internship the bank sent around a memo that they were shifting to business casual. I mean, it was great not to have to ride the subway in a suit during the NYC summer, but they couldn't have made that decision a week earlier?
   50. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 05, 2019 at 03:02 PM (#5876986)
Jose, you were there? Well done. It looked like a great night to be at the game; nice weather, close game ... good for you.


Yeah other than the score it was fantastic (and I haven't seen many Red Sox wins this year). The Sano home run was cool to see though because in all my years going to Fenway I've never seen a ball land where that one did. that thing was demolished. I think they said it was 452 feet, that feels light to me.
   51. Brian Posted: September 05, 2019 at 03:32 PM (#5876992)
Yeah, they called it 452 feet. That ball was in the air for awhile. Red Sox broadcasters couldn't remember when they last saw one that far.
   52. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 05, 2019 at 03:44 PM (#5876994)
that thing was demolished
When was it ever molished in the first place?
   53. Brian Posted: September 06, 2019 at 07:22 AM (#5877065)
Yes, they molished it with that special mud they use.

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