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Rangers “unwritten rules” controversy stirs up memories from 2007 historic game

Photo: Alex Plinck/Dallas Sports Fanatic

Rangers “unwritten rules” controversy stirs up memories from 2007 historic game

It’s been one of the most talked about games of the 2020 season, and with the way this year has gone, it is fitting. I am talking, of course, about the San Diego Padres 14-4 win over the Texas Rangers on Monday that involved a little bit of controversy. The controversy involved one of the many “unwritten rules”of baseball. That rule? You don’t swing at a pitch on a 3-0 count while up big in the late innings of a game.

San Diego was winning 10-3 when Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a grand slam on a 3-0 pitch. He had apparently missed the sign telling him to take the next pitch.

Now we all know what happened afterwards which was covered greatly by our own Alex Plinck.

On Tuesday a lot of major leaguers came to Tatis’ defense. They believed that he had every right to swing at the pitch. Those included were current players like Trevor Bauer, Eduardo Rodriguez and Hall-Of-Fame players Johnny Bench and Reggie Jackson. So does baseball need to erase that unwritten rule? If so, they should get rid of the “rule” that says you shouldn’t try for a bunt hit late in the game when losing in a no-hitter. After all. the game is all about offense and winning, right?

That brings me to the game that was brought up a lot on Tuesday when fans and media believed that the Rangers were acting poorly in their reaction. I am speaking of the 2007 Texas 30, Baltimore 3 shellacking. Yes, it was a MLB record 27 run differential win. A huge blowout. It’s like seeing an NFL team win by 10 touchdowns. But does that game compare to Monday night’s?

Not at all.

No “unwritten” rules were broken. In fact there was only one 3-0 count in that game. It happened in the top of the ninth with Texas up 24-3. Ian Kinsler took the next two pitches and walked.

But what about other three ball counts in the game? Kinsler did single on a 3-2 count in the sixth which expanded the lead to 14-3. But it was still the sixth and Baltimore had four more half-innings remaining.

After that? The top of the 8th saw Jarrod Saltalamacchia walk on a 3-1 count, Marlon Byrd walk on a 3-2 count and Jason Botts strikeout with a full count. The ninth saw aforementioned Kinsler walk, a 3-2 Travis Metcalf walk and a Frank Catalanotto walk with the count 3-1.

So much for that argument coming into play.

Your opinion can swing either way. I am a lover of baseball and its history so I will side with Texas as far as the unwritten rules. But you cannot bring up the 2007 game as part of your reasoning against it.

With that said I leave you with this little gem from former Oakland A’s pitcher Dallas Braden. This was from the year that he got into the argument with Alex Rodriguez because A-Rod ran over the pitcher’s mound after an inning ending double play. That is a no-no and also an unwritten rule. Not too much later Braden tossed the 19th perfect game in MLB history and appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman from Globe Life Park, then Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Until next time, I’ll see you in the cheap seats!…socially distancing six feet away.

James Holland is a credentialed staff writer for Dallas Sports Fanatic. He's a lifelong fan of baseball and his hometown Texas Rangers. He's a member of SABR and Fangraphs because he craves ALL the data. He's also a karaoke addict who hosts shows at his favorite bar in Arlington.

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