Alex Rodriguez Runs Afoul of Baseball's Unwritten Rules

Crossing the pitchers mound apparently crosses a line

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    At some point, baseball might want to think about writing down all of their unwritten rules and posting them in the clubhouse so that they actually become rules.

    Until that happens, we're just going to keep seeing more scenes like the one after the sixth inning in Oakland yesterday.

    After Robinson Cano hit into a double play, A's pitcher Dallas Braden stormed off the field in a temper tantrum fueled by Alex Rodriguez. Following a Cano foul ball earlier in the at-bat, it seems that A-Rod crossed back to first base via the pitcher's mound. The route infuriated Braden and he decided to let A-Rod know it on the field and after the game.

    "He should probably take a note from his captain over there and realize you don't cross the pitcher's mound in between an inning or during the game. I was just dumbfounded that he would let that slip his mind -- being someone of such status. ... The guy was tasting himself too long to apologize," Braden quipped. "It's a shame. I have a lot of respect for the guy and everything he's done for the game. I admire the kind of talent like that -- it's just disappointing when you see the other side of things."

    Based on the reaction of Rodriguez, the game's announcers and just about everyone else in the world, Braden is in the minority when it comes to familiarity with that particular rule. That's not surprising, as he's also in the minority when it come to familiarity with the phrase "tasting himself."

    That's not a knock, mind you. It's a nifty use of language, especially when used in relation to a man who is rumored to have a painting of himself as a centaur decorating his bedroom wall.

    Should A-Rod have taken a different path back to the base? Almost certainly since every other time the opportunity arises players are able to avoid the mound. That said, it's hardly the great scandal and affront to the game that Braden decided that it was. This, like every one of baseball's unwritten rules, exists only to give players or managers something to be upset about without thinking they're coming off like an uptight prig.

    At any rate, it would have to be A-Rod who gets caught up in a situation like this, wouldn't it? On the big board it falls somewhere behind yelling at a Blue Jays infielder while a pop-up was on its way down and slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's hand in the 2004 ALCS, but it's pretty clear that he's a magnet for these little situations. Anything to take the attention away from the end of the Yankees winning streak.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.