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SPORTSDAY Writing of unwritten rules


SPORTSDAY  Writing of unwritten rules
Paul Dickson's new book, "The Unwritten Rules of Baseball," takes up the issue of a team with a big lead late in a game bunting or stealing a base.

The unwritten rule is: "Do not steal or bunt when your team has a big lead late in a game."

Dickson cites a case Milwaukee Brewers fans remember from the 2001 season when Davey Lopes was the manager.

The San Diego Padres led the Brewers , 12-5, in the seventh inning when Ricky Henderson of the Padres stole second base.

Lopes was so incensed that he called time, walked to the second base area and yelled at Henderson for stealing, telling him he would order a pitcher to drill him.

Henderson was removed from the game, so he was not plunked. But Lopes remained angry about the incident and said after the game: "There are unwritten rules in Baseball. They were there before I was born, there while I am here and they'll be there after I'm long gone. That's not going to change."

Lopes was suspended by Baseball for two games and had to pay a fine.

Lopes was criticized by some and defended by others, including Mike Hargrove, then manager of the Baltimore Orioles.

"I think it's a shame that there are some teams that will not shut down with a five-run lead in a late inning," Hargrove said.

Charlie Manuel, then managing the Cleveland Indians, was one who believed in playing hard all the time.

"If I can beat you 20-0, I'm going to beat you 20-0," Manuel said.

The late Syd Thrift, who was vice president of Baseball operations for the Baltimore Orioles and worked for the New York Yankees before that, cited the example of the great Casey Stengel, who would steal with a lead of nine or 10 runs and was criticized for it.

Said Stengel: "If you can guarantee me that you won't score more runs than this, I'll stop running."

Another unwritten rule of Baseball Dickson writes about with a Brewers connection is the one that says: "In a blowout game, never swing as hard as you can at a 3-0 pitch."

He cites the case of Brewers rookie B.J. Surhoff, who swung hard at a 3-0 pitch from Nolan Ryan.

"Everybody on the bench said, 'Watch this next pitch,' " Jim Gantner said. "Nolan gave him that high, inside heat. B.J. went flying back. Everybody in the dugout was laughing."

Playing through

Among 11 cable networks that carry sports programming, the Golf Channel showed the biggest percentage increase in the number of TV households it reached in 2008, compared to the previous year.

According to Nielsen Media Research, the Golf Channel reaches about 80.8 million households, an increase of 9.2% over 2007.

Nielsen reported that 10 of the 11 sports networks increased the number of households reached for 2008. The NFL Network was on in 41.7 million TV households in the U.S., 2.6% fewer than 2007.

Of the channels that carry sports programming, TBS is in the most households, more than 99.3 million. There are more than 114.4 million TV households.

One and done

The 1990 draft class of the Green Bay Packers, judged by ESPN Insider to be the best Packers class since 1967, lost in the first round of its elimination tournament to determine the best draft class in the modern era.

Fans determine the winner by voting in the 32-team tournament bracket field.

Fans voted the 1981 Giants draft over the '90 Packers draft. Linebacker Lawrence Taylor and offensive lineman Billy Ard were part of the '81 Giants class. They beat out a Packers class that included safety LeRoy Butler, tight end Jackie Harris and linebacker Bryce Paup.

The '81 Giants, in turn, were beaten in voting by the '83 Broncos, a class that included linebacker Karl Mecklenburg, offensive lineman Chris Hinton and quarterback Gary Kubiak.

The 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers are seeded No. 1 in the tournament, just ahead of the 1975 Dallas Cowboys.

The Steelers' had four Hall-of-Fame players in that class: wide receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, linebacker Jack Lambert and center Mike Webster of the University of Wisconsin.

The Cowboys' best class included defensive tackle Randy White and linebackers Bob Breunig and Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson.

Call SportsDay at (414) 223-5531 or send e-mail to bwolfley@journalsentinel.com

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 12, 2009

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