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  • Winterstein Blowfish
    (CHRONICLE PHOTO | THOMAS GRANT JR.) The Lexington County Blowfish's Nicky Winterstein drew a walk against the Bomb Island Bombers.

SPORTS GROUCH - The stupid, unwritten rules

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 Half the summer is over and I’ll bet you have been suffering SWD just like me.
If you came in late, SWD (Sports Withdrawal Disorder) is a common disease stalking the land. 
It is common but rarely understood as psychiatrists and psychologists are busy with other crazy people such as sociopaths, child abusers and wife beaters.
The only ones who suffer from SWD are the fans themselves. I’ll admit some may get moody, surly or cantankerous. But they are otherwise harmless.
Pain relief
The good news is that you SWD sufferers can get some relief several nights a week at the Lexington County Ball Park. There the Blowfish baseball team is trying to snap a losing record against the Macon Bacon and the Savannah Bananas. 
Otherwise the boys are doing well against the Bomb Island Bombers and Lake Murray Purple Martins. 
Just the other night, the Lexington County Blowfish’s Nicky Winterstein hit a walkoff 3-run homer against the Bomb Island Bombers on a 3-0 pitch. That’s a no-no in baseball’s many silly unwritten rules.  
Way to go, Nicky.
Later, Nicky had another shot on a 3-0 pitch with 2 base runners. This time, he took the pitch for a strike. He ended up walking and scored on a 3-run double.
And then there’s Major League Baseball now appearing in your living room or wherever you watch TV.
The high school and college footballers are practicing plays as well as mask management and social distancing. Have you figured out how to block and tackle and keep your distance? 
Me neither.
Unwritten rules
The official Major League Baseball rule book trudges wearily on for 173 pages plus a 12-page foreword and table of contents. 
If you suffer not only from SWD but insomnia, too, you can download it from the league’s official website. 
Next week we’ll talk about MLB rule changes for this year’s shortened season.
Despite those 173 pages of rules, many more unwritten rules affect how the game is played. Unwritten rules tend to fall into 3 categories: superstitious, strategic and disrespectful.
Superstitious rules exist because players are inherently worried about luck – both good and bad. 
Do something to upset the natural flow of a game and you risk the baseball gods showing their wrath. 
These are highly-paid athletes, some college graduates, but more superstitious than the ancient Greeks fearing their wrathful gods on Mount Olympus.
Swinging on a ball when the pitcher is down 3 balls to zero strikes is considered disrespectful – and stupid.
Take a chance he will walk you and put another runner on base.
This is another reason baseball coaches and managers get gray.
What’s your opinion of this and other unwritten rules?
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