MLB logo

  Baseball has been played and passed down through many different generations and cultures. It is also not only known as “America’s Pastime” in the United States, but it is also played internationally throughout many different countries. Most of the international players try and come to the United States in hopes of playing professional baseball, fulfilling their dreams, and getting paid. They also bring their own style of how they play, with emotion, enjoyment, and passion by doing things that older generations that played baseball would define as showing off, immature, and arrogant. It’s not only international players, but even players from the United States are showing more emotion when they play by celebrating when they score, flipping the baseball bat after a home run, and celebrating when a pitcher strikes out a batter. These are some examples that older generation players would consider arrogant and immature which younger generations would argue that it shows they’re passion and love for baseball. These are considered unwritten rules because older generation baseball players have never done this and frown upon these actions when younger players do it. Major League Baseball recently created a commercial that promotes the actions of these young players and criticizes the unwritten rules. These unwritten rules need to be silenced for the better of the game and to promote younger generations to play with  more emotion.

  On October 2, 2018, Major League Baseball released a commercial for advertisement to watch postseason baseball during October. The commercial shows plays during the regular season of teams that are currently playing in October, these plays are of players celebrating when they score, making gestures of showing off, and cheering when the opposing team doesn’t score. It also shows the players smiling and having fun while playing the game that is considered their job, it is narrated by Ken Griffey Jr. who is in the hall of fame for baseball and known for going against the unwritten rules of baseball. He recites some of the terms that older generation players say like “don’t stop and stare”, “don’t flip your bat”, “respect the jersey”, etc., while showing current players doing these types of things while fans cheer. The video cuts to Ken Griffey Jr. wearing his hat Ken Griffey baseball adbackwards which many criticized during his time of play, he finishes by saying “no more talk, let the kids play” and ends with a few more highlights of playoff teams. This video proves that Major League Baseball itself is attacking the unwritten rules in the hopes of encouraging more youth to play baseball and encourage people to watch it. It also is trying to show people that baseball is exciting and players are making it more fun by adding their own styles to the way they play, ignoring the unwritten rules. 

  This is not the first time the unwritten rules have been questioned and there are many more rules that older generations still promote which sometimes carry into today’s games. A recognized baseball player in today’s game, Bryce Harper, was once a victim of the unwritten rules as a popular rookie. According to the article “Unwritten rules reign”, it states that Harper was a victim of the unwritten rules when he was hit by a baseball thrown by the opposing pitcher, Cole Hamels. Hamels stated “I was trying to hit him” (White, Paul), he also stated “It’s something that I grew up watching” (White,Paul), this is a strong example that the unwritten rules of hitting a rookie has been passed on to this generation of baseball players. The article makes its own assumption that this particular play is an unwritten rule stating “Welcome to the big leagues, rookie. And by the way, we think you’re a little too big for your britches.” (White, Paul), this means that the popular rookie needed to be hit because it’s a tradition and he needs to be humbled. The article then describes that Harper walked to first base after he got hit and didn’t do anything to the pitcher which should be considered a sign of respect to the unwritten rule.  This example clearly shows just one of the many other rules that are not written in baseball that needs to be silenced because of the safety of players and that being good at the game should not be punished.

  A different example of where the unwritten rules have been broken was more recently displayed this season of baseball. A game where one team, the Minnesota Twins, was beating the Baltimore Orioles badly and there seemed to be no competition, when an Orioles player bunted late in the game for a hit which was not popular with the opposing team. According to an article by the New York Times titled “Baseball’s Unwritten Rules”, it focuses on this game and explains that the Twins saw that play as an insult to them. The article also explains that if the game was closer then things might have been different and understandable for the Twins, however, it is considered showing them up and the Orioles player not taking them seriously. This is a good example of another unwritten rule because it doesn’t display proper sportsmanship to the team that is winning, however, there is no punishment because the Orioles player never broke an official rule. The article gives a good comparison to what the unwritten rules of baseball are like by comparing it to children at a dinner table and not doing what they’re supposed too. Children may get out of their seats during dinner or make a mess, however, they are not breaking any written laws that say don’t do that, it is simply an unwritten rule of the house for parents. Having this unwritten rule in baseball gives respect to the team that is winning by a large amount and the game is almost over because it encourages more competition from the other team.

  There is no doubt that today’s generation of baseball players all bring their own sense of passion and flare for the dramatic when the games have more pressure on them, it influences other young players to do the same and in some ways, brings out the passion in fans. Major League Baseball is feeding off of this energy and attacking the unwritten rules by promoting their advertisement for the playoffs in the attempts of drawing more interests from fans. According to an article by the Washington Post titled “MLB blasts the unwritten rules of its own sport in new ad”, they state “It’s clear that, as the spotlight shines its brightest on baseball, Major League Baseball is on the side of those players, and all the “kids” who want to bring more playfulness to the diamond” (Bieler, Des). This shows that Major League Baseball is reaching out to a younger audience and making the game look more fun when a player shows more emotion when they play, which also encourages more people to watch it, in turn bigger revenue for the sport which is one of the main reasons why they are promoting to the younger generation. The advertisement clearly supports the younger generation of players as well, which while many recognize the unwritten rules and some respect them, there are many that want to have fun with the game they play and raise the energy of the crowd that watches.

  The advertisement that Major League Baseball put out strikes emotion in the heart of the audience by showing them how baseball can be fun and to ignore the unwritten rules from past generations. It is supposed to encourage younger players to not be afraid of showing emotion when they play because the fans love it and to silence the old generation due to the lack of understanding of what these younger players bring to the game. The research that has been done proves that most of the unwritten rules have hurt the game and doesn’t allow players to express themselves when they do something good for their team. Being a huge fan of this sport and watching many baseball games, I can understand where Major League Baseball is coming from and trying to connect with the younger generation to make it more exciting. The unwritten rules are hurting today’s games in baseball, and Major League Baseball understands this by creating this commercial, hopefully this advertisement helps silence the older generations and lets the younger generations have fun while still working hard.

Works Cited

Bieler, Des. “MLB blasts the unwritten rules of its own sport in new ad.” Washington Post, 3 Oct. 2018. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A556722554/OVIC?u=ranc95197&sid=OVIC&xid=15bc54e4. Accessed 11 Oct. 2018.

Glanville, Doug. “Baseball’s Unwritten Rules.” New York Times, 7 Apr. 2018, p. NA(L). Opposing Viewpoints in Context, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A533670708/OVIC?u=ranc95197&sid=OVIC&xid=82d64e0e. Accessed 11 Oct. 2018.

MLB, director. MLB Postseason: Rewrite the Rules. YouTube, YouTube, 2 Oct. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZfEv4JqxHQ.

Paul White, and USA TODAY. “Unwritten Rules Reign.” USA Today. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=J0E328668105112&site=ehost-live. Accessed 11 Oct. 2018.

Photography

Block, Alex Ben. “Major League Baseball’s $12.4 Billion Bonanza Is Official.” The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Oct. 2012, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/mlb-fox-turner-deal-375739.

Oz, Mike. “MLB’s Postseason Ad with Ken Griffey Jr. Is a Scorching Indictment of the Unwritten Rules.” Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo!, 2 Oct. 2018, sports.yahoo.com/mlbs-postseason-ad-ken-griffey-jr-scorching-indictment-unwritten-rules-191918956.html.